PSA: File Your Past Tax Returns!

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Filing your taxes is not fun. In fact, it’s so “not fun” that many people try to figure out whether they even need to file in the first place. If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you should file your tax return, I recommend this IRS tool called the Interactive Tax Assistant because you should really be asking the IRS, not me or any other “expert.” 🙂

If you don’t have to file a tax return, you may still want to because you might be due some money. The IRS announced that almost 1.1 million taxpayers didn’t file a return in 2007 and they are owed a combined $1.1 billion in potential refund. Half of that group is owed at least $640 and you have until this year to file a 2007 tax return (you have three years to file a return to claim your refund). Afterwards… the money is theirs forever. Also, if you do file a 2007 return to get your refund, you’ll also have to file a 2008 and 2009 tax return to make sure you don’t owe anything to the tax man.

Finally, while you’re at it, you should research if you have any missing money out there.

Good luck!

{ 5 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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5 Responses to “PSA: File Your Past Tax Returns!”

  1. Anthony says:

    General rule of thumb for me: File every year. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t make any income. Worst case, the IRS has a document that states I make $0 for the year.

    Unless someone else claims you as a dependant, you should file your taxes, no matter your situation.

    • zapeta says:

      Agree completely! Who knows what credits you might be missing out on…there are a lot and they seem to change every year.

    • skylog says:

      agreed. i do not have a problem on the federal end, as i generally have a refund; however, not so much the past few years, but for years my state taxes were 0 and i still made sure to file them anyway. it seemed worth the little time it took to not have anything come back to me.

  2. mikestreb says:

    I am an advocate for not doing taxes yourself (surprise… I own a tax prep business).

    Every year, I have people come in that have done it themselves in the past and I convince them to let me look at their past returns. In a lot of the cases, they do it correct. But maybe 25% of them have errors or missing credits & deductions.

    One case comes to mind where a girl came in after doing her taxes for this year and just wanted me to check to make sure they were right before she filed. I punched everything in and she was missing a lot of credits/deductions… We filed her return CORRECTLY and got her back $2,400 more than she would have if she filed them incorrectly. Then I had her bring in her past years returns and found nearly the same errors on her last 2 years worth of returns. In the end, we amended 2 prior year returns getting her back just over $5,000 and correctly filed her current year return for an additional $2,400.

    In the end, I think it is worth it to have someone who knows what they are doing look at your return. Spend $150 to not miss $2,400+ in refund. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    Also, Make sure you find a GOOD preparer. There are a lot of shady crooks who have no idea how to properly prepare a tax return. Hopefully the IRS will fix that with the testing they are starting in the next couple years.

  3. Lord says:

    You may not have to file, but you will need to prove you don’t have to file and the simplest way of doing that is to file. If you don’t file now the IRS will just make you file in the future so you might as well do it now.

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