Situation: A tax filer did not complete filing tax year 2016. During the years 2016-2019, the filer did not file any returns. If a tax filer filed their tax return in 2015, can they subsequently skip the years 2016-2019 then file years 2020, 2021, 2022? Can a tax return be filed if the previous years return are not yet available?
No, a tax filer cannot skip filing tax returns for multiple years and then file returns for subsequent years without addressing the unfiled years. Each tax year must be filed separately, and it is generally recommended to file all past due returns before filing current year returns. If a tax filer did not file their tax return for 2016-2019, they should file those returns as soon as possible to avoid penalties and interest. The IRS may also send notices or take enforcement actions for unfiled returns. It is important to note that the IRS can provide tax return transcripts for previous years if the filer needs them to complete their current year returns. These transcripts can be requested from the IRS website or by mail using Form 4506-T. If the filer is unable to pay any taxes owed for the unfiled years, they should still file the returns to avoid additional penalties. They can then explore payment options such as installment agreements or offers in compromise to settle the tax debt. In summary, it is not advisable to skip filing tax returns for multiple years. It is best to file all past due returns before filing current year returns, and the IRS can provide transcripts for previous years if needed.
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