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Best way to handle not having filed tax return for last two years?

Boston, MA |

I have been sick with neuro-cognitive problems, and have not filed my tax returns fr last two years. What is the best way of coming compliant with the IRS and Mass Depty of Revenue?

I also do not have my W2s. Can I get an IRS transcript?

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Filed under: Debt Tax return Tax law
Attorney answers 7


Simply file the returns now. If they try to assess a penalty against you, explain your circumstances. If you want a substitute W-2 that your employer filed, the IRS can supply that for you.


File your taxes as soon as possible. There is no other way of handling this situation besides filing your taxes as soon as you can. Sickness, emergency situations, etc., are no excuse for not filing. However, you should know that it is not that uncommon for people to not file, and while there may be penalties, late fees, interest, and other fines associated with doing so, not doing so is criminal and you may be prosecuted (although highly unlikely at this point). Do the right thing and put this issue behind you before it becomes a much larger problem.

Tyler Murray

Tyler Murray


As mentioned below, the medical issues may qualify for abatement of penalties.


Yes. You can get transcripts from the IRS. I suggest you get those transcripts and file your tax returns at the earliest possible date. If you think you will owe the IRS, it may make sense to contact an experienced Tax Resolution Attorney - given your history, you may qualify for an abatement of penalties - which can often amount to thousands of dollars.

I hope this helps.
Steven A. Leahy

Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.


Order Wage and Income Transcripts and file. You have a very good basis for abating the penalty if the medical condition is documented.

Christopher Larson
Insight Law


I agree with the above, file ASAP.


File them asap. If your only income was wages, and you were out sick for part of the time, you are probably due a refund. However, the IRS transcripts do not show state wages (which may be different) or state wittholding. Call your employers' HR department for a copy of your W-2; you can also use your last paystub in a pinch (Most tax software will print out a "Substitute W-2" form). If you don't file, the IRS will eventually "file" for you, using every assumption for missing info unfavorably. If you owe, they can collect it virtually forever. If you're due a refund, you won't get it if you file more than 3 years late.

PS the tag on this answer probably indicates that I'm a PI lawyer, but if you go to my profile you'll see Ive actually done taxes for longer than I've practiced law.


Both the IRS and DOR will permit yuo to file returns late but will assess penalties. Penalties can be removed for "cause" but they will look to see not only the medical reasons but how you made money while you didn't file returns. In other words, if you were able to earn a living and work during the periods returns were to be prepared, then the penalties will stick. Later returns shoudl be sent in certified mail, return receipt requested to prove filing.

Eric P. Rothenberg, P.C.
160 Gould Street-Suite 320
Needham, MA 02494-2300
Tel: 781-239-8900
Fax: 781-658-2203

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IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS in Circular 230, we inform you that, unless we expressly state otherwise in this communication (including any attachments), any tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or other matter addressed herein.

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