Image via WikipediaNow is the time to file past year tax returns. With the economy in turmoil and new stimulus plans and tax credits being discussed every day, the IRS is absolutely swamped with work - which means a taxpayer who acts fast can often wind up with a generous payment plan instead of a one-time bill. And other tax filers may find that they can settle with the IRS for less than the original amount owed.
If you're ready to file your past year tax returns, there are a few steps to take first.
- Make sure you have the forms and records you'll need: if you got a W-2 or 1099 that year, find a copy! If you owned a house, get the mortgage records; if you owned stocks, get your brokerage statements. You can't file past year tax returns without using this information.
- If you have tax forms from other years, keep the forms handy! As you file past year tax returns, you want to make sure the information is consistent (some taxpayers find that they can file an amended return and get some money back, as well!).
- Work with a tax preparer who knows the late filing business. Too many tax preparers do everything for everyone, which means doing nothing particularly well. You'll want to pick a tax preparer who is affordable and effective, and who specializes in helping people file past year tax returns.
How do you pick the right tax preparer?
You could go with one of the big chains - but they charge high prices to pay for national ad campaigns, an impressive headquarters, and all those corporate jets.
You could stick with the neighborhood tax preparer - and wonder if you're getting the most up-to-date expertise in a difficult section of the tax code.
Or you could try out a tax preparation website that specializes in helping people file past year tax returns. Why be the one to pay for a big company's overhead, or for a small provider's lack of expertise? Working with a specialist will let you file past year tax returns cheaply, without missing your chance to get the extra tax credits and deductions that can turn a tax liability into a healthy refund check.
There's no time like the present to start filing your past year's income taxes. The longer you wait, the more fees and fines could pile up (and the less sympathetic the IRS gets). By using a specialized tax filing website, you can quickly be on the way to paying off your debt to the IRS, or even cashing in with a refund!