How Many Returns Must I File To Be Current?

I’m Tom Strauss, creator of Prime Accounting Services and Tax Help Now. I offer tax preparation and tax resolution/representation services to individuals and small businesses.

Have you fallen behind in filing your tax returns? The thought of getting caught up can be downright frightening. Many questions can come to mind:

  • Do I have everything I need to file all those returns?
  • How much tax am I going to owe?
  • Should I even file if I can’t pay the tax?
  • Do I have to file every year I’ve missed?

I can’t answer the first two questions for you, at least not yet (I would be happy to help you figure it out!). But I can answer the other two questions right now.

How Do I Get Compliant?

You absolutely should file even though you know you can’t pay the tax you owe the IRS and state. Penalties and interest accrue until you get the balances paid, even if those amounts haven’t been determined yet. So get the returns filed so you know where you stand, and get help with them if needed. Once you know how much you owe, you can work with a professional to help arrange payments if necessary.

The various states have different rules. The IRS requires you to have the last six years’ returns filed to consider you in filing compliance. You aren’t in total compliance until you’ve filed those returns and are current on this year’s tax payments. That means you’re having sufficient taxes withheld from your paychecks or, if you’re self-employed, you’ve been making estimated tax payments.

Once you know which returns need filed, start with the oldest and work your way to the most recent. Items on a tax return can carry over to future years. Preparing them in the wrong order can create problems you may not even be aware of.

What Should I Do Now?

If you’ve filed your own tax returns in the past and are comfortable doing them, go for it! But if this is something you dread or just don’t have time for, please contact me. You don’t have to deal with the IRS alone. I’m ready to help you get into compliance. Don’t wait any longer! Those penalties and interest are piling up.

Published by Tom Strauss

Servant of Jesus Christ, husband, father, tax professional, financial blogger.

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