The task of filing late taxes is the adult version of taking a makeup test; stressful, time-consuming, annoying. But let’s be honest, it’s not really that bad, right?
Remember when you were in school and missed an exam in class. Even though you knew you had to makeup the test, you pushed it off. Taking the test lingered in the back of your mind, until you actually got it over with. Afterwards, you thought “Well, that wasn’t so bad… why did I wait so long?”. The same goes for filing late taxes.
Why shouldn’t you put off filing your taxes? For a variety of reasons- the most obvious one being the late penalties and fees (which rack up as time passes).
To avoid late filing fees, PriorTax.com offers straightforward and easy tax filing for tax years dating back to 2005. Before getting started, learn the six steps to filing your prior year taxes.
6 Steps to File Taxes for Previous Years
Step 1: Dig Up important tax documents:
In school, before taking an exam, you gathered together your notes to study. Before filing your taxes, you’ll need to gather together the following tax documents;
- Forms reporting your income
- Receipts & records
Just like reviewing your notes before an exam, if you don’t have your tax paperwork together, the task will be near impossible to complete.
Were you that student who lost your notes among piles of papers in your locker? If so, then you might now be the adult who “misplaced” your prior year W-2 forms. No worries- you’ll be able to request a copy of missing documentation, (like W-2s, 1099s or 1098s) by filling out and sending Form 4506-T to the IRS.
Step 2: Ask yourself; “Do I need to file both federal and state taxes?”
If you failed to file your taxes for a previous year, you might not only need to file your federal tax return, but also a state tax return (unless your state doesn’t have income taxes).
Step 3: Pick the right Tax Preparer (PriorTax.com)
Many people dread filing taxes. However, if you select a tax preparation company that makes the process easy and straightforward (like PriorTax.com), there’s nothing to dread. Tax preparers are like school teachers; if you have one that makes “difficult” tasks easy, then you’re in luck!
Step 4: Get them done with already!
In many cases, the anticipation of taking a test was worse than the actual test itself. The same goes for taxes. The best thing to do is stop thinking about it and (as Nike says), just do it.
To do so, create an account on PriorTax.com and get started entering your information. Thanks to the ease of the PriorTax application, you can have all of your information entered within 10 minutes!
After you’ve submitted your tax return, a PriorTax professional will review it for accuracy and keep an eye out for any possible errors. Within three days, your return will be made available for you to download (allowing you to move onto step 5 & 6).
Step 5: Pay Your Tax Due
You’re almost done…After downloading your prepared tax return, (and before mailing it), review it to see if you owe the IRS (or your state). If in fact you do, pay your total tax due (or as much as possible) right away.
The interest fees for filing and paying tax due late increase by the month, so it’s best to pay as much as you can, as soon as you can. Don’t be like the student who can’t graduate because of a missed exam. In other words, don’t be the tax filer who ends up with a huge tax bill because you put off filing.
Step 6: Buy postage, find a mailbox & send your prior year tax return
In school, forgetting to put your name on a test translated to receiving zero on the exam. All.that.work.for.nothing… When filing your prior year taxes, preparing your return is useless if you don’t physically mail it.
With that said, it’s crucial part to print, sign and mail your tax return to the IRS (and if applicable, to your designated state). Once you’ve done so, your tax return is officially done (Congratulations!).
The world will not end if you missed filing your previous year taxes. It happens. Most importantly, you should avoid the snowball effect of high tax-due penalties by being proactive and filing your previous year taxes ASAP.
PriorTax is offering “make-up” exams, or in tax terms- tax preparation for late tax filers. The best part? You can prepare your prior year taxes completely online… That’s as awesome as taking a makeup exam in pajamas, while sitting in bed.
What are you waiting for? Create an account now and prepare your prior year taxes today! You’ll be left saying “Well, that wasn’t so bad… why did I wait so long?”.
4/28/14 Photo via Xavi on Flickr