Previous year tax returns can’t be e-filed, but they can be prepared online
No, you cannot e-file a prior year tax return. Each year the IRS shuts down their e-file system in mid-October, usually on October 15. At that point, you can no longer e-file a tax return.
That means that you can only e-file a tax return between mid-January when e-file opens and mid-October when it closes, the year after the tax year in question.
For example, you could only e-file a 2012 return between January 17, 2012 and October 15, 2012. Similarly, you can only e-file a 2012 return between January 30, 2013 and October 15, 2013.
You will have to paper file a prior year return, which involves mailing a printed copy to the IRS.
How to file a prior year tax return
Even though your return is already late, you should still submit it. If you’re due a refund from the last three years (2011, 2010, or 2009 taxes) you will be able to receive that money. And if you owe money, you will be able to minimize your penalties and interest by filing sooner rather than later.
One of the greatest challenges of filing late taxes is gathering all the old documents you need to fill out your return. If you’ve kept good records and you have all of those documents handy – great! You can get started right away. But if you’ve lost the necessary documents you may have to retrieve transcripts of them from the IRS.
Even though you can’t e-file a prior year return anymore, you can still prepare it online with PriorTax. Other companies, such as TurboTax, don’t allow you to prepare a return from a previous year online. They make you purchase prior year software and install it on your computer.
With PriorTax you can completely prepare your return online. Once it’s finished all you have to do is print it out, sign it, and mail it in to the IRS.
Most other tax filing websites can’t offer the same level of expertise regarding late taxes as PriorTax. Our experts are knowledgeable in all aspects of late taxes and available to answer your questions via phone, live chat, and email.
Plus the PriorTax application will find every credit and deduction from the year that you are filing to make sure that you get the biggest refund possible.
Get started on your late tax return right away. And for the current tax season be sure to file while e-file is still open. It’s faster, safer, easier, greener, and more accurate than paper filing.
Photo via JD Hancock on Flickr.