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Steps to take if you have missing IRS refunds

When you realize you have missing tax returns with the IRS, taking prompt action is crucial. Otherwise, you could receive fines, interest and other penalties.

Understanding the steps to fix this issue can remove some of the stress from the process.

Gather necessary information

Before reaching out to the IRS, collect all documents related to the missing returns. This includes income statements, W-2s, 1099s and any other relevant tax paperwork. Having the paperwork ready makes it easier to file the missing returns.

Contact the IRS

Initiate direct communication to address missing tax returns, even if you have been postponing contact with the IRS. You can call the agency’s official helpline or visit a local office to connect with an agent.

During your appointment, you will provide your identifying information and explain the situation clearly. An IRS representative can guide you on the appropriate steps to take.

File the missing tax returns

Prepare and file the missing tax returns as soon as possible. You can obtain the required tax forms from the IRS website or request them by mail. Ensure that you provide truthful and accurate information on the returns.

Include past-due payments

If you owe taxes for the missing years, include the required payments with your filed tax returns, either by check or money order through the mail or online with your credit card. Failure to do so may result in additional penalties and interest.

Past-due charges begin accumulating as soon as you miss the original tax deadline, so you can save significant funds by filing on time. Late filers could also lose the right to claim certain tax credits as well as miss out on other taxpayer benefits.

In some cases, the government may owe you a refund associated with missing tax returns. In this case, you have three years to file or you risk forfeiting your refund. The IRS reported that $1.5 billion in refunds went unpaid in the 2019 tax year for this reason.

Monitor for IRS correspondence

After filing the missing tax returns, check the mail for letters from the IRS. The agency may send notifications or requests for additional information.

Respond promptly to inquiries and provide the necessary documentation to facilitate resolution. Remember that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, phone or text message to ask for payment; this type of contact is typically an identity theft scam.

Take the opportunity to review your tax filing practices and learn from the situation. You can implement measures to submit your returns on time in the future.