Preparing your late state tax returns is easy – it’s gathering your old information that can be a challenge
When many people suddenly remember that they skipped filing their state return a couple years ago or receive an abrupt letter from their state tax authority ordering them to file a return they immediately start to despair.
They needn’t – the situation is far from hopeless. Taking care of late taxes is actually a lot simpler than it seems. In fact you can file a late state tax return right here on PriorTax. To get started all you have to do is create an account. Just be sure to select the correct year from the drop-down menu.
You may even get a refund from filing your late state returns. The IRS allows you to get a refund on your federal taxes for up to three years after the original due date of the return. Most states follow this same rule, though each one is different. Be sure to check with your state tax authority to see if you are still eligible to get a refund for the year you need to file.
And if you do get a refund back, you likely won’t owe any penalties or interest. Again, each state is different and you should check with your state tax authority, but those are the federal rules and most states follow them.
The most difficult part of filing late state taxes is often rounding up the requisite information. If you’re super-organized and still have the documents you need from those prior years, good for you. But chances are if you missed filing a return you’re probably not the most organized person in the world. Besides, old W-2s seem to elude even the best of filing cabinets.
There are a couple options for finding this information. First, you can try getting it from the IRS. The IRS will provide you with a transcript of your old W-2s which have much of the information you need in order to file. However, a W-2 transcript does not include state tax withholding information, which is absolutely necessary to filing your state tax return.
The IRS does not retain an actual copy of your W-2, but they do keep them if they are attached to a tax return. So if you filed your federal return for the year in question and just didn’t file your state return, you can order a copy of the entire return using Form 4506 [Request for Copy of Tax Return]. This return will include a copy of your W-2 which will hopefully include your state tax withholding information – although this is not a guarantee.
Alternately you may be able to find your state tax withholding information by contacting your employer at the time or your state tax authority.
Once you have the necessary information the rest is pretty easy. You can use a service like PriorTax which will take all of your information and automatically prepare your return for you. Talk about peace of mind.
Photo via Photo Extremist on Flickr.