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How Far Back Can I File Prior Year Taxes?

Posted by on October 26, 2016
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You can file prior year taxes dating back to 2005 with PriorTax.

So, you ran a little late and forgot to file a prior year tax return?

Are you wondering if you can file a tax return all the way back, say, 6 years? The answer is yes, you can! This should not be confused with e-filing. The IRS has electronic filing available through October of the year your tax return is due. After that, taxpayers must paper file their returns; no exceptions. The good news? Paper filing your tax return is pretty much just as easy as e-filing. Instead of submitting your tax return online, you’ll need to print and sign it. Then, all you have to do it mail it to the IRS. Easy, right? You can file prior year taxes dating back to 2005 with PriorTax.

File prior year taxes for 2005-2015 on PriorTax

By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. Therefore, if you have not filed taxes from 2005, 2006, etc. it’s best do so now (or as soon as possible) on PriorTax.

How many years back can you get a tax refund?

The IRS Statute of Limitations allows you three years from the filing deadline to file your prior year return and claim your refund. For example, the last day to claim your tax refund for the 2013 tax year is April 15, 2017. This is because the deadline date was April 15, 2014.

Keep in mind that they also have the same amount of time to audit you and up to ten years to collect any unpaid tax.

How to get started filing prior year tax returns now

  • Gather together W-2 or 1099 forms for those tax years.
  • If eligible for deductions and credits, gather receipts and records proving eligibility to claim.
  • Create an account on PriorTax for the selected year and get started! PriorTax can help you file previous tax returns dating back to 2005!

Steps to take after submitting

Once you have submitted the tax return for 2005 or any year after with PriorTax, there are a few points to remember;

  •  If you owe additional income tax for any prior year, include the largest payment amount possible, in order to reduce interest charges.
  •  Monthly interest chargers on unpaid tax penalties do not stop accruing until the tax is paid.
  • After the IRS receives the tax return you filed, you will receive a notice of the penalty and charges.

Missing tax documents from previous years?

Maybe you lost them. Maybe the dog ate them. Whatever your situation may be, you can request a copy any missing tax documents from the IRS of for the past ten years. To do so;

  • Fill out Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return (to request W-2, 1099 and 1098 forms). This may take the IRS up to 45 days to process.

Chances are filing your late taxes has been on the back burner for awhile. If the tax return is for 2005 or after, why not get it out of the way now? PriorTax will help you file late tax returns and you’ll be able to cross something of your “To Do” list!

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11 Responses to “How Far Back Can I File Prior Year Taxes?”

  1. link webpage says:

    Its such as you learn my thoughts!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I recently filed my 2012 return on April 18th 2016. I had an extension filed until October 15, 2013. Can I still claim my refund since I had a valid extension signed?

    • admin says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      The last day to claim your 2012 tax refund was April 18th, 2016. Due to the District of Columbia observing Emancipation Day on April 15 this year, the tax deadline was extended to April 18th. If you filed your 2012 tax return on April 18th, then you will still be able to claim your refund.

  3. Mike Thompson says:


    Have a couple of years where I filed but did not send in tax due. Small, $ 100+/- Also a year when I owed a couple of hundred and did not send the payment or the return. Would like to get cleaned up. Can you help? Estimate per return?

    Thank you.

  4. Brandi Velasquez says:

    Can I still file my 2012 taxes and get a refund back cause I never got a w2 for that year

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately, your statute of limitations for claiming a refund has expired. You were required to file your return within 3 years of the return due date. However, it is in your best interest to still file your 2012 return in order to avoid the IRS from filing a substitute return for you. This return might not give you credit for deductions and exemptions you may be entitled to receive and you could end up owing the IRS. You can visit to get started on your 2012 return.

      If you need to obtain a copy of your 2012 W-2, you can request this document from your employer, or you can request a transcript of your wages from the IRS here

  5. julia says:

    i received a letter from IRS stating i owed 4000 it is impossible to get through to them i believe it was due to me not filing but not to sure i lost all my past documents due to a fire

    • admin says:

      I agree, it is difficult to contact the IRS during this time of year. If you have lost your income statements, you can request a transcript of your income by filling out Form 4506-T and mailing it into the IRS. This may take the IRS 45 days to process. You can also opt to request a wage transcript online from the IRS. Here is a link to request a transcript of your wages.

  6. Anthony Horton says:

    How can I file 2015 and 2016 taxes together or do I have to file a separate form for 2015 taxes.

    • admin says:

      You can prepare both 2015 and 2016 returns at However, the e-filing deadline has passed for 2015 returns. Therefore, you will be required to paper-file this return with the IRS and the State. Since 2016 is a current year return, you can still e-file this return with the IRS and the State.

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