A 4-Step Guide To Filing Past Year Tax Returns

When it comes filing past year tax returns, there are several things that you need to take into your careful consideration. Though the process sounds a complicated one, it is not a big ordeal in reality. No one really likes to file tax returns, let alone for years that have passed. Still, there can be an array of situations when you may have to do it, willingly or unwillingly. Therefore, it is always wise to be aware of the steps that one needs to follow in this regard. Following is a brief rundown on how to go about it.

Obtain Appropriate Form

The process of filing past year tax returns requires you to fill out and submit specific forms. You can visit the official website of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). You can download the necessary forms free of cost from their website; look into the “IRS Resources” category and then click on “Forms and Publications”. Alternatively, you can also give them a call at 1-800-Tax-Form and request them to send the packet of the necessary forms (past year 1040 form) along with an instruction booklet.

Gather Important Documents

Once you get the forms for filing past year tax returns, the next thing you have to do is to gather important documents that are relevant to past year’s income and taxes. These documents may include, but are obviously not limited to, self-employment income records, credit and deduction records, alimony records, itemization records, all 1099 forms, W-2G (gambling winnings form), and other such things. Married couples that are filing their tax returns jointly will need documents related to information regarding both the spouses. Depending upon your specific situation, you may also need several additional forms for deductions and credits, such as Form 2241 for dependent expenses, Form 8863 for education credits, Form 8812 for additional child tax credits, and Schedule EIC.

Double Check The Information You Are Providing In The Form

While you are filing past year tax returns, you must fill out the correct information in the correct spaces. If you are not sure about what information you have to provide in a particular space, you must refer to the instruction booklet. A safe way is to fill out the form on your computer and once you complete it, just get it printed on paper. The information you are providing in the form must be accurate and complete in all respects. Though the form is very much similar to current year’s 1040 form, you must be very careful while following any additional instructions. Always remember, you have the right to reduce the amount of taxes you owe by utilizing all possible exemptions that you are entitled to. If you forget to mention a specific tax deduction and realize it only after you have already submitted the form to the IRS, there is still an option to get that deduction adjusted. But, that will obviously add to your hassles. With a little extra care, you can save yourself from unwanted hassles. Once you have provided all required information, sign it. Do not forget to mention your daytime phone number on the form.

Submit The Form

When it comes to filing past year tax returns, it is very important for you to keep in mind that not all IRS centers process past due returns. Therefore, make sure that you mail the form to the address that has been provided in the form. You can also refer to the instruction booklet for more information about it. Since you are also attaching relevant documents, you must also include a list of the documents that you have attached on a separate sheet. Put all the forms and documents in an envelope and mail it to the address provided in the form.

Overall, the process of filing past year tax returns is not a very difficult one. Still, you have to be very careful because any wrong or incomplete information on the form can make things complicated for you. If you need some assistance in filling out the forms, you can give a call to the IRS anytime at 1-800-829-1040. Besides that, if you find the process to complicated to handle on your own, you are advised to get assistance from a professional accountant, the one who has a good deal of experience in handling such things. The accuracy of the information you are providing is very important because otherwise you may be suspected for intentional tax fraud, which can push you deeper into serious legal trouble.