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I am filing a tax return based on estimates, including real estate transactions and gains / losses. I do not have the original

San Francisco, CA |

records so basing calculations on estimates from public record, and recollection of others as to costs, basis, etc. Is it wise to file this based on estimates, since the returns are several years overdue? If we wait and file nothing, I fear criminal or very damaging repercussions. So filing based on estimates and then amend down the road if original documentation becomes available?

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Attorney answers 3


See a tax attorney or a tax CPA before doing this. He or she may help you find out what the IRS knows about your income for the past years.

As for estimating expenses, you are allowed to do it so long as you have a reasonable basis for making the estimates. However, expect the IRS to challenge your estimates if they audit you. Again, see a tax professional to better understand how to do this.

Best of luck.


You are required to file by law, so file your best estimates. There can be significant civil tax liabilities assessed against, but probably not criminal charges unless you are concealing significant income. The IRS will prepare it own return (SFR = substitute for return), as will the State of California.

Good luck!
Phillip M. Smith Jr.
Los Angeles Tax & Business Attorney
Licensed in the United States Tax Court
Main: 323-292-4116 ❘ Cell: 562-505-1004

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mr. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in Los Angeles County. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. His phone number is 323-292-4116 or his email address is


I agree with Attorneys Chung and Smith. If you were not at fault then you should be better off than if you were just negligence. It sort of depends also on how big the numbers are. If you are at fault then keep on searching for the best evidence.

Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan. Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA Attorney-At-Law 17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43 Artesia, CA 90701 562-924-8922 Tax Relief Lawyer. Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns, Homeowner Association Strategist.

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