How to File Delinquent Tax Returns

A Guide on How to File Delinquent Tax Returns


Delinquent tax returns refer to tax filings that are overdue. When taxpayers fail to submit their returns on time, they incur penalties, with the IRS charging a monthly fee of 5% of the tax amount owed for each month the return is late or unfiled.

 Delinquent tax returns can lead to financial stress and legal problems. For example, you can lose tax refunds, wage garnishment, ineligibility of new credit, loans, and more. Additionally, suppose the IRS files a Substitute for Return (SFR) on your behalf. In that case, it won't consider any credits, deductions, or exemptions you may be eligible for, potentially increasing your tax liability. Is there any way to avoid the situation?

 You can file delinquent tax returns to effectively manage the situation and comply with the IRS. Let's explore how to file delinquent tax returns.

 How to File Delinquent Tax Returns?

 You can file delinquent tax returns for up to six years with the IRS to rectify the situation. However, if you wish to claim refunds, you can only do so for tax returns filed within the past three years. Here are the key steps to follow:

·       Identify the specific years for which you need to file tax returns.

·       Submit Form 4506-T, or request a copy of your tax return from the IRS. You can also contact your employer to send it to you.

·       Collect essential forms, including W-2s, 1099s, and the relevant tax return forms for each overdue year.

·       Fill out the delinquent tax returns accurately or seek assistance from a tax professional.

·       While electronic filing (e-filing) is an option for delinquent tax returns, it's advisable to mail the completed forms to the IRS for official processing.


How to Handle Delinquent Tax Returns?

 When addressing delinquent tax returns, you don't need to pay the full amount owed immediately. The IRS will assess your tax liability, and you can explore various options to settle it:

 ·       Establish a payment plan or pay in installments.

·       Propose a compromise, including a lump sum payment or staggered payments.

·       Request an extension to delay payment, particularly if you are experiencing financial hardship.

 You can also seek relief from penalties through penalty abatement, which comes in two forms:

 First-Time Abatement (FTA):

 You may be eligible for FTA if you have not incurred penalties in the three years preceding the unfiled tax year, have filed all required returns, and have arranged payment for your tax debt.

 Reasonable Cause

 Suppose you do not meet the FTA criteria. In that case, you can request a penalty reduction or waiver by demonstrating unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, such as a spouse's refusal to file returns and pay taxes.


 If you don't file your past due taxes, it will adversely affect your finances, living situation, and future. Managing delinquent tax returns can be challenging, but it is imperative to take action promptly and correctly. Follow these steps to file a Delinquent Tax Return. Besides, you can consider professional assistance to navigate the process effectively, mitigate financial burdens, and avoid legal repercussions.


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