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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 2005-2016 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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52 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. Leon Derrico says:

    I need to know do i owe anything and how much

    • admin says:

      Hello Leon,

      To get started, simply create an account for, selecting the tax year from the “Tax Year” drop down menu and you can start by entering your information. After each page, please be sure to click the green “Save & Go” and when you’re completely finished you can submit your account to us. As you are entering your information, your account will provide you with a federal estimate at the top right hand corner of the website.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Yessica says:

    Can I amend a 2015 and 2014 tax form 1099 and get something back. I already did my Taxes for 2016 and I got it taken out for 2015 and 2014 for not claiming them so I owed them but I amendednd them already.

    • admin says:

      You would still be able to Amend your returns for 2014 and 2015 for tax refunds (3 years Statute of Limitation). Please contact the IRS for details about how you could get the refund back for 2016 after filing your 2014 and 2015 Amended Returns.

  9. Billy Herndon says:

    I have an adult daughter who is 100% disabled and works part time earning about $2500 per year. We quit filing her returns back in 2011 but in prior years she was receiving a refund of all (minimal) taxes that had been withheld. Q1 – Is it correct that she will only receive a refund for the prior 3 years (2013, 2014 & 2015)? Q2 – If she can only get refunds for the three prior years is there and reason to even file the other missing years (2011 & 2012)?

    • admin says:

      As of today’s date, you would be able to claim refunds for 2014 and 2015. You would not need to file 2011 – 2013 if the only purpose is to claim a tax refund, however make sure you were not required to file those years (even with a tax refund).

  10. J says:

    I have a previous employer that told me he paid my taxes in 2008 and never gave me anypaperwork saying what I made . Now he is telling me he just sent it to the IRS this week . What should I expect ?

    • admin says:

      You might be required to file depending on how much you earned. You could either get specific specify income information (W-2, 1099, etc.) from your employer or retrieve an IRS Income Transcript for the income information that was reported to them by your employer(s) in order to prepare your tax returns.

  11. Judy says:

    Is the IRS real sticklers when it comes to getting your previous years tax return mailed in? I worked with a professional tax accountant to get my 2013 back tax return finished before the deadline of April 18, 2017, but didn’t get the return dropped off at the post office until after they had closed (about 9:00 pm) on the 18th of April, but the post office box (inside the post office) read “mail collected at 2 pm and 5 pm”. So, my returns wouldn’t be stamped till the next day. I was due to get a decent refund, around $2000.00. Am I out of luck?

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately we cannot provide you any additional information on this matter. You will need to wait for their correspondence to you through mail to have a proper verdict.

  12. Gwen says:

    I owe back taxes from 2010 – thru 2012 and will get a refund. But is it too late to have that refund applied to my back taxes owed?

    • admin says:

      It would be best if you consult with the IRS on this matter. Specifically for having your refund applied to any of your back taxes, it generally falls under the 3 years before the current year that needs to be filed, as long it is filed before the deadline for the furthest behind tax year return.

  13. Kim says:

    I recently filed my 2014, 2015, and 2016 taxes and overnighted it for May 9. I filed for an extension on april 18 and thus far i have only received my 2016 refund. I am still eligible for my 2014 and 2015 refund?

    • admin says:

      The deadline for your 2014 and 2015 refund has not passed, however, I would advise that you contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for a status update on your prior tax year returns. Once they have received your returns, only the IRS can update you with any further information pertaining to your tax refunds and forms.

  14. Margaret Lachaun Strong says:

    I owe taxes from 97 to now. I need to clean this up. Where do I start?

    • admin says:

      You can prepare returns using our website beginning from 2005. Any tax years before 2005 you will need to find another website, find an accountant, or prepare them on your own.

  15. Lakeysia says:

    I have not filed my taxes since 2011 and now I’m trying to get them filed. I’m
    not really worried about a refund because I owe taxes just want to get caught up where do I start.

    • admin says:

      Hello Lakeysia,

      There is no need to worry. You can still file your 2011-2016 tax returns. You can get started on our user-friendly website. Feel free to contact us by phone at (877) 289-7580 during our hours of business Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm EST. for assistance.

  16. Mia says:

    I file for my 2013 tax return in March of 2017 in April they have not received it so they said send it in again when I checked in May I had to send it again finally I got my return for 2014 but they said that my limitation had ran out for 2013 it was a paper tax form and I had already sent it in twice before and they’re just now getting to it can I appeal their decision to get my tax refund

    • admin says:

      You will need to speak with the IRS in order to file an appeal, as they will guide you through how to specifically do so. Unfortunately, they may reject your appeal simply due to the number of years you had to file, however, it would be best to speak with them first.

  17. Edmond VanHoye says:

    I was on the road a lot and haven’t filed for 15 + yrs have an accountant trying to help what are the chances of getting information from that far back?

    • admin says:

      If you can no longer contact your previous employers you will need to speak with both the IRS and the state offices to address your back taxes. They may have your prior tax year information, however, since it has been over 15+ years, they may not have all of those prior years on file.

  18. Mark Qui says:

    So I got married in 2015, and we filed last year together. And my wife was due a refund, 8700, but I had a previous bill from 2010 that was for 9200 so they kept her refund. BUT thing is in 2010 I didn’t file, I did short sale of some stocks, and ended up losing. But because I didn’t file, that thought that as income. Which in reality ended up being a loss. SO I plan to file now with the software, question is, will the IRS give that money back ?

    • admin says:

      Your first step would be to get started on your 2010 return at . I also recommend you consult with an IRS representative to determine if you will be awarded any of your 2014 refund that was used to cover your 2010 tax debt once you have filed your 2010 return.

  19. Johnnie says:

    I was incarceration begin January 2012-January 2016. IRS charged me for not file taxes 2013. I have collection agent, suspend my license, got ticke, I have tried call,I have wrote, I was incarnation.

    • admin says:

      Hello Johnnie,

      Your first step would be to prepare and file your 2012-2016 tax returns. Then you can contact the IRS for resolution options in regards to your situation.

  20. Patrick says:

    Can someone help me out. I filed 2015 and my 2016 taxes together and I was told it was illegal and I want to know if it is illegal. If it is not illegal could you please cite it for me.

    • admin says:

      It is not illegal to send multiple years of tax return forms to the IRS, however, it is advised that you separate them accordingly to the year and organize it in a manner that makes processing your return easy for the IRS>

  21. Amanda says:

    So I filed my 2016 return than did my 2013 tax return in March. I mailed in April 13 2016. So when I checked to make sure they had received it in May they couldn’t find it. I called two weeks later and they said it was being investigated because of the way I filed. So I gave them another 4 weeks. When I called back I was told they were investigating it again this time for timely filing. So than I wrote them a letter with a copy of my receipt from the post office and they denied it. Closed my case. What do I do. Its a big refund to just have them loose.

    • admin says:

      We apologize as only the IRS will be able to assist you with this inquiry. The IRS is very stringent on the three-year statute of limitation to claim your refund. But given you have documentation of timely filing, it does not make much sense as to why they would deny it. All we could really advise is that you try again with the IRS.

      • Amanda says:

        Thank you for getting back to me. I contacted the guy who did my taxes. I meet with him on Monday. We are going to appeal this with the IRS

  22. David fisher says:

    My wife has not filed in 10!years. How far back does she need to file?

    • admin says:

      You do not need to file every year. Generally, the IRS wants your last 7 years of returns on file. If the IRS filed for you, you’ll want to replace the Substitute returns with returns of your own to reduce the balance they assessed. If you’re getting refunds and won’t owe taxes, you can focus on the last four years only 2013 to 2016 (as the statute of limitations prevents refunds beyond 3-4 years.) At we prepare returns from 2005 – 2016 (current year). Click here to get started today.

  23. Sarah says:

    I had a large refund in 2012. I applied a portion of my refund to 2013 and received a check for the balance. I have not filed my 2013 taxes yet. Can I still get my 2012 refund?

  24. edgar c says:

    I was wondering if I file my 2015 refund can I still have direct deposited to my bank or would it have to be mailed

    • admin says:

      Direct deposit is unavailable for prior tax year returns. It is only the current tax year that the disbursement of direct deposit to your bank account remains available.

  25. Raul says:

    So a little over a year ago I was working with Walmart, And I got hired in with one digit off my social security number. I had it fixed while I was working there but I never got my W-2 at the end of the year. And I’m just now getting it because off a long story of B.S. but am I still able to file for those taxes right now?

    • admin says:

      Hello Raul,
      You can use our website to file tax years from 2005 to the current tax year (starting January 1st). The IRS statute of limitation states that you have three years to claim your tax refund. You can file your tax return using your W-2 statement.

  26. Mark jones says:

    I got married and first year we filed 2016 my new wife’s refund had gotten taken $8700 because of a tax bill from 2010. That year I didn’t file, but had some option trades that I lost money on but somehow showed some income. Shoulda filed and wouldn’t have been any income. So the amount was $8700. If I file now can I somehow get that money back ? How does that work when they bill you

    • admin says:

      I advise that you contact an IRS representative for instructions on how you may resolve your tax situation. However, you may want to consider filing as married filing separately on your 2017 return. This will avoid shared tax responsibilities with your spouse. Therefore, if you have a prior tax debt with the IRS, your spouse’s refund will not be taken to pay your tax bill. Please be aware, that married filing separately has fewer tax benefits and deductions than married filing jointly.

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