If you haven’t filed your taxes in a few years, you may be wondering what options you have for help filing back taxes. You may be surprised to learn that filing your tax returns can be the quickest way out of tax trouble and likewise is also in your best interest to do so.
But you need to take action to protect yourself from the IRS and to get out of your tax problems.
How To Take Control Of Your Taxes And Get Help Filing Back Taxes
Here’s how you can take back control of your taxes and get help filing back taxes:
- Gather All Your Tax Documents. When was the last year you filed? Do you have a copy of your tax return? Do you have W-2s, 1099s and other tax documents for the years you need to file?If you are missing any crucial tax documents, Tax Samaritan can obtain your wage and income transcripts from the IRS to ensure that your back taxes are filed inclusive of all income and other tax information that has been reported to the IRS.
If you have received an IRS assessment already, it can be fixed by filing a tax return. If you fail to file, the IRS may file a substitute return for you.
It’s important to note that these assessments and substitute returns are often based on the maximum liability that can be assessed derived from the limited information available to the IRS – it often does not include any deductions or credits that you are eligible to claim, such as the foreign earned income exclusion if you are an overseas taxpayer.
You can often reduce and in some cases eliminate this assessment by simply preparing and filing your back tax returns.
- Self Prepare Or Hire A Tax Professional Firm Like Tax Samaritan. If you are going to prepare your tax returns yourself, be sure to use a reliable and easy-to-use software program and that your return is fairly simple. It is very easy to overlook or not understand filing obligations and the complicated tax code outside of professional guidance even with the wonderful software options available today. Your tax return is always “your” tax return whether you self-prepare or hire a professional and since it is “your” tax return it is important that you understand and are 100% comfortable and confident with the information presented on your return. Often, only a competent professional can explain tax concepts (particularly the more complicated tax concepts) in layman terms that are understandable.You should plan on spending about 4 to 6 hours per tax return you need to file if self-preparing.
If you are an expat taxpayer (a U.S. overseas taxpayer), you should plan on spending 10 or more hours per tax return based on the exponential complexity required to prepare an expatriate tax return along with translating documents and converting foreign currencies. The time involved in self-preparation often makes the choice to seek help filing back taxes that much easier because your time is valuable, but perhaps even more important reducing your risk and exposure with the IRS by filing an accurate and complete return.
Tax Samaritan, on the other hand, can save you valuable time and free you from the frustration and confusion and help you deal with the IRS by being your advocate for help filing back taxes and to ensure that you are paying the lowest amount of tax liability legally possible.
- Prepare Your Tax Returns. You won’t know if you are getting a tax refund or owe the IRS until your returns are prepared. And perhaps equally important you won’t start to ease your sleepless nights thinking about your delinquent taxes until you have completed this key step.
- Protect Your Tax Refunds. Believe it or not, the majority of the late filers that we see either have no tax due or a refund due. This is important to know as there is a statute of limitations that applies for claiming a refund.You risk losing your refund if you don’t file your return. If you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date (generally April 15) or two years from the date the tax was actually paid.
We have seen many taxpayers make non-deductible contributions to the federal government amounting to thousands of dollars because they failed to make a claim for a refund before the statute of limitations period expired.
- Pay off Your Tax Liability. you should create a plan for how you will pay off your tax liability, if there is any. You also need to plan on how to protect yourself from an IRS investigation, assessment, levy, or lien if the tax remains unpaid.Fortunately, it is very easy to do this with the assistance of professional tax representation. But it requires patience and the advice of a competent, experienced professional that has the experience and knowledge to provide help filing back taxes for delinquent taxpayers.
For most cases, your plan of action may be as simple as setting up an installment agreement with the IRS or writing a check for the full amount. But you need to have a plan, because ignoring the IRS can get you into big trouble real fast.
The best advice for all taxpayers is to file your past due return now and pay as soon as possible to limit interest charges, late filing penalties and late payment penalties.
Help Filing Back Taxes
Tax Samaritan is focused on ensuring that accurate and complete returns are prepared for all taxpayers while paying the lowest tax liability legally possible.
If you need help filing back taxes and would like to request a free quote or discuss the preparation of your tax returns, you can request a free, no obligation quote for our services here:
Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax preparation and representation. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional. We provide help filing back taxes so that you can sleep well and have the tax burden of late tax returns lifted off your shoulders. Our articles are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid.
When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you generally want to hire an Enrolled Agent, such as Tax Samaritan or other professional licensed to practice before the IRS, such as a CPA or attorney. If you are a US taxpayer overseas, we further recommend that you seek a professional who is experienced in expat tax preparation (most tax professionals have limited to no experience with expat taxes).
Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.