Back Taxes

How to File Back Taxes

If it’s been several years since you’ve filed a tax return, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure that your late tax returns are processed efficiently and accurately. Filing your back taxes can cause significant delays in processing and incur fees and penalties. To avoid these problems, make sure you know the best way to submit your late tax returns. Follow this guide when submitting your back taxes to make sure that your tax filing gets back on track.

Make sure you have all of the documents you need to file an accurate return.

File Back Taxes
File Back Taxes

Gather all W-2’s and 1099 documents that are outstanding and sort them by the tax year. Do the same thing for any receipts or backup documentation that you’ll need to substantiate any deductions that you will claim on your back taxes. If there is any documentation that you need, request it.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to receive documentation if you need to get it from an outside source, such as a previous employer, etc. Make sure that everything you put on your tax return has the substantiating documents to back it up. This will help ensure that your tax return is processed as quickly as possible.

Download the tax forms you need to file

Download the tax forms for which you need to file back taxes. Remember to download the tax forms for each year. Forms for any back taxes can be found on, or you can utilize any popular tax preparation software to ease in access to the proper paperwork.

Prepare your returns for your back taxes

Make sure that the documentation you are using matches the tax year that you are filing for, especially if you are filing tax returns for multiple years. Also, do not assume that each tax year will be filed the same way. The tax laws and instructions can change from year to year. You could end up having to refile your taxes by using the wrong instructions to file.

Dependent on the complexity of your tax situation, it might be in your best interest to invest in the services of a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) to assist with navigating the tax laws for the year(s) that you might be filing back taxes for. In addition to contacting a CPA, it may also be wise to seek out a qualified tax attorney to advise you on the liability you might face and to inform you of any legal options available.

Tax laws can be complicated, and many times the requirements for submitting taxes will change from one year to the next. When submitting returns for multiple tax years at one time, it can be difficult to keep track of the various instructions and requirements. Having a CPA or, better yet, a knowledgeable tax attorney will be extremely helpful to help you navigate the process.

File your tax returns

Submit your tax returns according to the instructions listed on the tax form. If you are filing for multiple tax years, make sure that you submit each tax return according to the individual instructions for each tax form separately.

Do not combine tax returns in one envelope for multiple years. If you are able, submit payment for what is owed for each tax year. If the entire payment cannot be submitted at one time, submit as much as you can at the present time. Doing so will help to reduce the interest charges you may face when your tax returns are assessed by the IRS.


Once the IRS processes your back taxes, they will send you documentation of the exact penalty and interest owed. If you’ve obtained the service of a qualified tax attorney, keep in contact with that attorney to advise you of your legal options and the risks you may face.

When filing back taxes, it is always a good idea to invest in the services of a tax attorney to get an accurate and informed view of the tax risk you might face. The task may seem daunting, particularly if you have multiple years to file for, but a qualified tax attorney can help. When seeking out representation, please contact, and our experienced tax attorneys will be glad to assist you with your individual tax situation.