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I have not filed a tax return in several years. If I had, I would have collected money each year. Can I still file and collect?

Austin, TX |

I have not filed a tax return in several years. If I had filed one annually, I would have received money back each year. I realize that there are penalties for not filing. Do they just deduct said penalties from what I have gotten, and leave the remaining balance? I never collected things such as my stimulus check either. If I filed now, would I be able to collect that balance, and any other money I should have gotten? I obviously need to file my taxes asap regardless. Im just curious to know if I will be able to get some of the money back that I am owed from previous years. Or am I going to have to pay a ton of fees and penalties for not filing over the years. I hope this question makes sense. Let me know if it doesnt, and I will repost it. Thanks for any and all help!

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Attorney answers 1


There are penalties for the failure to file a federal tax return. However, the penalties are imposed only if taxes are due.

If you receive a refund, you would not owe a penalty for not timely filing for that tax year.

If the IRS received reports of income for you and no tax return from you, it may have prepared a return for you. The IRS default method of preparing a return may have resulted in additional taxes. If you have been moving around, you may not have been receiving the notices from the IRS.

My understanding is that TX has no state income tax. If you lived or worked in other states, you need to check whether those other states have state income taxes. Some cities also have their own income taxes.

In general, a taxpayer has three years after the due date of the federal tax return to collect a refund. There is no time limit for the government to collect taxes for returns that were not filed.

If you want your refunds, you should promptly prepare the returns and file them.

You should review your specific facts with a tax professional (attorney, CPA, or Enrolled Agent) to see what you should specifically do.

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