The answer is no, not at all!
If you’re the average American taxpayer, statistics show that you’re likely to miss a filing deadline at some point in your life. Most likely, its due to work, vacation, or financial financial reasons. But if it happens to you, (and if it’s happened this year) the first thing you need to do is stop panicking. It’s never too late to deal with past tax returns–you just have to file it!
So what do you do when you realize you have some past tax returns?
The first thing to do is to realize what isn’t going to happen.
You’re not going to be arrested. This won’t ruin your life. This may not even ruin your credit score! The fact is, because we’re all likely to forget it, and luckily, there’s a process in place for when you forget to do past tax returns.
Moreover, most people who have past tax returns are owed a refund.
With most late filers, they’re in an income bracket that gets plenty of money back. When you delay filing, you only delay getting back money. Keep in mind, there’s a three year statute of limitations to claim your refund. It’s best to file as quickly as possible.
Let’s say you’re within a month of the tax deadline.
You should file an extension so you can extend your time to file. Extensions just need a good reason and while a late one isn’t ideal it’s a sign that you intend to pay those past tax returns in good faith. It might even keep your fees from starting–so do it! If you’re past the deadline (especially if you’re way past the deadline, proceed onwards.
Don’t delay your past taxes any longer.
If you have your extension in place–or don’t qualify for one–start your past tax returns right away. You will probably need to gather together all your relevant financial documents and organize them. If you don’t feel capable of handling the filing by yourself, an accountant who specializes in past due taxes is a good idea. However, even better are the numerous online services that file past tax returns for you. They’re cheaper than traditional accountants and much, much faster.
Click here to find out more about how to file a past year return.
Missing a tax deadline is a scary thing, but it’s a common thing.
Just remember to breathe, that you’ll probably be getting money back, and that with the right service the whole process can be quick and painless. Good luck!