Filing Taxes for Previous Years Online

Woman files taxes with TaxSlayer

Life is full of curveballs, and sometimes things just slip through the cracks. If you have taxes that are past due, you’re probably wondering where to start. Has the deadline officially come and gone, or can you still file taxes for previous years? Fortunately, you can! We’ll walk you through it. 

How do I file back tax returns?

You can use TaxSlayer to file a return for up to three years after it is due.

Simply log into your account or create a new account to begin. Then click on the “Prior Years” tab in the middle of the “My Account” page. Select the year you wish to create and click ‘Start a New Tax Return’. From there, you’ll enter the income and expense information for the year you are filing.

Once your return is complete, you will need to print out and mail in the paper copies of your forms. This is because the IRS does not support filing prior year returns electronically. The mailing address for the IRS can be found here based on the state where you live.  

When you file your prior year taxes with TaxSlayer, you’ll get all the correct forms and instructions for the specific year you are completing.  

How many years can you file back taxes?  

You can file returns up to three years old electronically with TaxSlayer. This means that in 2023, you can use TaxSlayer to file your 2022 tax return, plus you can file back taxes for years 2019, 2020, and 2021.

If needed, you can file back further using paper filing. You can typically find the forms for earlier years on the IRS website.

The IRS typically does not investigate returns that are more than six years overdue. In other words, your past six years of tax returns are usually the only ones that would be considered for auditing.  

You can find more information about preparing a prior year return with TaxSlayer here.  

Can I still get my tax refund if I’m filing back taxes? 

Yes, if you file the return within three years of the original due date. This time limit also applies to claiming tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Tax credits and deductions can significantly reduce your tax liability, so it’s in your best interest to file within this three-year window to get the tax breaks and the refund you deserve. If you have a prior year return that you still need to file, you can get started for free today with TaxSlayer

What if I don’t have receipts or records for prior year taxes?

Many employers keep electronic records of their employees’ W-2s, so you may be able to get copies of your income information online. You can also see which forms your employer filed with the IRS by requesting a tax transcript. You can download a copy of transcripts for prior years on the IRS website.

Are you self-employed? If so, you may be able ask clients if they can provide a record of what they paid you. And check your credit card statements or bank statements for evidence of your expenses.

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