Could not file the income tax return on time and wondering how to file previous years taxes online? If so, you landed on the right platform.
It is important to file the income tax on time to get certain benefits. However, if you miss the deadline, belated tax can be filed with a penalty.
But what if you are missing records or not having the W-2 form which is required to file taxes? If that is the case, this guide shows the way to how to file back taxes without records and without a W2 form. If required, you can view previously filed tax returns as well. Let’s delve deeper into filing back taxes in this guide.
- Filing Income tax Return for the Previous Years
- How to File Previous Years Tax Returns?
- How to File Back Taxes without Records?
- How to File Back Taxes without W2?
Filing Income tax Return for the Previous Years
As stated by Finance Act 2016 amendment, people can file delayed IT returns prior to 1 year from the end of the Assessment Year. For instance, the timing of filing the belated return (for the Assessment Year 2016-2017) is before 31 March 2018. But, due to the changes in Finance Act 2016 (from AY 2017-18), you can file a return before the end of the relevant Assessment Year. 31 March 2020 would be the last day to file the delayed return.
How to File Previous Years Tax Returns?
To file the tax returns of previous years, one has to perform a number of steps. First of all, you need to collect the tax documents. After this, request the missing documentation, download IRS tax forms from previous years, prepare the back tax returns, and then submit the form.
To know how to file back taxes on TurboTax, you can check the following instructions:
Collect the Tax Documents: To proceed with the “how to file previous years state tax returns” procedure, you require 1099 or W2s forms that you received for the tax years. Using this form, you can report the income.
In case you are qualified for credits and deductions then you should collect a receipt or any other supporting records that can prove the eligibility to claim credits.
Request for the Missing Documentation: The next step is to fetch the documents that have been missing for the last 10 years. To do so, you can ask for a copy from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This can be done by filing the 4506-T form, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
Here are a few things you should consider while filing forms:
- Make sure you file Form 4506-T only when you want to request 1099s, W2a, and 1098s. This may support you for some deductions.
- Although you won’t get a duplicate copy of the original form, the IRS will offer you a transcript with the relevant details which will be sufficient for filing the tax return of previous years.
- Also, the process may take up to 45 days for the IRS.
Download the Tax Forms of Previous Years: When filing the tax, you need to make sure that you file tax from previous years on the original form each year. To search the forms, you can visit the IRS’s website and look for the desired forms. To make the procedure quick and simple, you can use tax preparation software such as TurboTax software.
Prepare the Tax Returns for Previous Years: When filing the tax form, you need to remember that you can’t file tax from the previous year using the instructions of the current year.
- The instructions for filing the tax change every year. If you are filing the prior year’s tax forms then make sure you use the instructions of the same year. By using the wrong instructions, you may need to prepare for the return over again.
- Also, you should check if you are using the instructions for the same year as the tax return that you are preparing for.
Submit the Form: The last step requires you to submit your form to the IRS. Make sure you use the address that is mentioned in Form 1040 instructions.
- In case you owe any additional income tax for the previous year then you should include it as a large payment. This will help you to reduce the interest charges.
- Unlike tax penalties that stop accumulating after reaching the maximum, monthly interest accumulates endlessly until your tax is paid.
- When the IRS receives the tax returns, you are expected to get a notice of interest charges or penalty you are responsible for.
This way you can easily file your tax forms for the previous years. All you need to remember that you use tax form instructions of the same year you are filing the form for.
How to File Back Taxes without Records?
Some people fall behind on the back taxes due to unpredictable conditions. Whereas other people forget to file taxes in a timely manner or some of them may neglect back taxes because they owe the amount that they are unable to pay.
However, if you are not able to pay the money you owe, you should still file the tax form for the current as well as the previous year. It is always best to file tax in order to avoid related failure to the file penalization.
But, in case you are missing records, this can complicate or delay the process due to which you fail to catch up with the tax returns. To prevent such a scenario, you can do the following:
What If Records are Missing?
If you don’t receive the copy from your payer then you should request the tax transcript from the IRS.
Most financial institutions and employers make the tax forms available online for you. However, some of the payers give you access at any time or for a limited time.
If your clients or employer do not release copies of tax forms then you can request a tax transcript from the IRS. This way you can check which form is filed.
Important Note: If the organization has no business, it proves that it is impossible to get the records from the source directly.
A tax transcript defines the following type of income reported to the IRS:
- Salaries and Wages on the W2 form.
- Royalties, non-employment compensation, other income on form 1099-MISC.
- Retirement plan distributions on Form 1099-R.
- Interest on savings and other benefits on form 1099-INT.
- Dividend payments on Form 1099-DIV.
- Stock sales and other funds on form 1099-B.
In case you are missing records to file the taxes of previous years then the Wage and Income transcript is all you need. You can request the details of the past 10 years. Tax transcripts will help you to know what all forms were filed with the government. It can help you to be sure that the entry on back taxes is precise.
People often request the information to respond properly to IRS notices, prepare back taxes and deal with identity theft.
Scrutinize the Financial Records for Items
For the items that you think are not reported on the tax transcripts, users need to examine the financial records for those items.
If you are an independent contractor, probably you do not get the form 1099 from each of your clients. In such a scenario, users still have to report the income that doesn’t appear on the tax transcript and all the business expenses.
To assemble this information, you can initiate with the following:
- Digital payment processor records such as PayPal
- Bank statements
- Email receipts
- Debit and Credit card statements
- Cancelled checks
- Paper receipts
- Deposit slips
Those who are not independent contractors can also have multifarious income that needs to be reported. For instance, proceeds from winning lottery tickets or personal property sales.
In case you are missing deductions for medical expenses and health insurance, student loan interest payments, and charitable donations, make sure you note down these details in a spreadsheet.
On the other hand, if you are an independent contractor, it would be great if you start with a separate bank, payment processor accounts, credit card so that you can easily differentiate business expenses from personal expenses (that are likely to be deductible).
How to File Back Taxes without W2?
Employers can get W-2 forms before the 1st of February 2021. However, some users miss out on the deadline and are concerned about how to file back taxes for free without using the W-2 forms.
To know how to file previous years taxes online, you can pursue the following instructions:
- Get the W-2 form for 2020 from the Employer
If you miss the W-2 form deadline (1 February 2020), you can fetch the form from your employer. To do so, you can directly get connected with the company leadership and check if they provide the W-2 forms to their employees.
Note: If the company no longer runs the business, they can still arrange the W-2s form from the former payroll provider.
There can also be instances when you are unable to contact the company or the company denies to provide you the form from the former payroll provider (because they do not want to discuss the employee information with an unauthorized contact). In this scenario, one can proceed with the next method.
- Contact IRS
If your request from the former payroll provider is rejected then you can directly contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). All you need to contact the agency on this number (800-829-1040). Then, the IRS will help you to provide the personal information and the name or address of the employer. Basically, the IRS tries to find a copy of the W-2 form so that you can fill the form in order to file back taxes.
Note: The IRS may also get the tax information from the employer that you did not.
- Get 4852 Form and Last Pay Stub
To know how to file back taxes online, another option you can pick is to use the form 4853. The last paystub can also be used to file income taxes.
To get this job done, all you need to visit the IRS website and download Form 4852. Thereafter, you can use a copy of the last paystub. Once done with this, you should attach the 4852 form to form 1040 or another tax form. After filing the form, you can share it with the IRS.
- File Income Taxes on Time
In case you still have not got the form W-2 yet you should file the tax return before the 15th of April 2021. To know how to file previous years taxes for free without using the W-2 form, you can do the following:
- You can either contact the company to request the W-2 form of the previous year or connect with the IRS directly.
- If it does not help then use Form 4852 and the last paystub.
Even if you don’t get the W-2 form, filing the income tax return will still be mandatory.
How to Find Previously Filed Tax Returns?
If you want to know how to view the previous tax return then you can carry out these steps:
- Sign in to your “Cleartax” account.
- Click on the ”My Account” menu.
- Hit the “My Tax Returns” option.
- Log in to the “https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/”.
- Click on the “My Account” option.
- Now, select the “View e-Filed Returns/Forms” hyperlink.
- Click on the relevant option using the drop-down.
- Hit the “Submit” button.
Once you perform these steps, you can easily view or find the relevant information such as what all tax returns were filed online.
Benefits of Filing Income Tax on Time
Applying for the income tax on time makes you feel responsible but this is not the only benefit you get. There are numerous benefits of filing ITR on time. These are as follows:
Loan Approval: When you have to apply for a loan to purchase your vehicle or house, filing ITR can help you to get your loan approved easily.
Get Tax Refund: In case your refund is due from the Income Tax Department then you should definitely file the Income Tax Return on time. This will help you to get the refund as soon as possible.
Income and Address Proof: Your ITR can also be used as evidence of your address and income. This information is mandatory especially when you apply for a visa or loan.
Quick Process for Visa: Most consulates and embassies take time to finish copies of your tax return for the previous years at the time of visa application. By filing ITR, your visa can be processed quickly.
Carry Forward the Losses: By filing the tax return before you reach the deadline, you have the ability to carry forward the losses to the following years. By doing so, you can deduce income in the upcoming years.
Avoid Prosecution and Penalty: The income tax officer can proceed with the prosecution for a period of three months to two years. It may charge you if you do not file the ITR.
Also, if the tax amount you owe goes up to Rs. 25 Lakhs then the period may be extended to seven years. However, the above procedure will not be started where the tax payable cannot exceed Rs. 3000.
In addition, the income tax officer can put charges of tax due (up to 50% of) especially if it is under-reporting of income.
What If You Don’t File the Tax by the Due Date?
Have you ever thought about what would be the consequences if you don’t file the tax before the due date? Taxpayers may need to pay penalties, however, there are a few consequences that you may need to encounter while filing the tax late.
Unable to Set Off Losses: Except for house property loss, you are not allowed to career forward your losses to the following years. In other words, if you don’t file the tax within the due date, you cannot set your losses for future gains. But, if the losses are in the house property then it is allowed to carry forward your losses.
Overdue Refunds: If you have paid more than the actual tax amount and you are expected to receive a refund from the government then you should file the tax returns before the deadline. This will help you to get the refund as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find trouble receiving the refund.
Interest Will Be Charged If You Delay the Tax Return: Besides charging a penalty for filing the tax return late, you will be charged 1% of interest per month (under section 234A). It should be noted that you cannot file ITR unless taxes are paid.
To Wind Up
We hope you have understood the concept of how to file previous years taxes online. Some people cannot file taxes due to certain reasons. For such scenarios, you can file for a belated tax return using our guide.
Besides that, we have enlightened you on how to file back taxes without records or without W-2s forms (in case you cannot get the W-2 form or missing records). Furthermore, to highlight the importance of filing a tax return, we have also talked about the benefits of filing taxes on time.