You can still claim your tax refund from last year, and for any returns due less than three years ago. Once it’s been three years since the deadline to file the return (approximately April 15th), you can no longer seek a refund.
How to File a Late Return
You won’t be charged any late-filing penalties when you are owed a refund. Just file the return and await your refund check.
Use the forms for the appropriate tax year, not the current year forms. You could be due a refund if you paid estimated taxes, had taxes withheld from your paycheck, or if you qualify for a refundable tax credit.
If you have other outstanding returns, the IRS may hold your refund until you file those as well. For example, if you file a 2016 tax return to claim your refund, but you didn’t file your 2017 return, the IRS may hold your refund.
The IRS could also offset your refund if you have delinquent tax debt. In this case, the refund amount would be applied to your outstanding balance.
You may also be required to file old tax returns before you resolve your tax debt. For example, the IRS won’t consider your Offer in Compromise until you’ve filed all of your old tax returns.
Failure to File
The IRS can file a substitute for return (SFR) on behalf of any taxpayer who fails to file voluntarily. This is a return filed using whatever information the IRS has, such as the W-2 form sent to the IRS by your employer.
The SFR won’t give you all of your deductions and credits, because the IRS doesn’t have the information to do this. So it’s possible that the SFR will state that you owe the IRS money, but actually you would have received a refund if you filed your return on your own.
If you receive an SFR notice from the IRS, you should still file your return voluntarily. The IRS can seek enforced collection of any amount due on an SFR, which could involve bank account levies or wage garnishments.
File Delinquent Returns
It’s best to file your tax returns on time, but filing delinquent returns is often necessary when attempting to resolve your tax debt. Contact a tax attorney for tax resolution assistance.
Contact The Gartzman Law Firm to speak with an Atlanta tax attorney about your case. Request your consultation by calling (770) 939-7710.