Doing My (US) Taxes (Playing Catch Up from 4 Years Ago)

I haven’t filed in 4 years. What’s the fastest way to rectify this situation?

Figure it out myself? Hire someone here? Hire someone back home?

I think hiring someone to play catch might not be a bad idea and then I do it myself from then on. I have a few tricky things like IRA investments and stuff that I didn’t have to deal with back when I was working at Best Buy.



I don’t know much about taxes, I don’t want to be liable for any stupid mistake you might make, and I certainly don’t want to advocate breaking the law. But here’s what some people might do in your situation. Start filing annually now, but don’t try to file and/or pay for past years. I believe they only audit for up to 6 years back, or something like that, so if you start doing it right now eventually those missed years will no longer be an issue. In the unlikely event they do audit you (the odds are remote) the penalties for those missed years are not likely to be so great. In other words, advocates of such a strategy might claim, the benefit of not paying for those years outweighs the risk of getting caught. I don’t know if that’s a good strategy or not.

Although your post was short and to the point, a quick Google search backs up your claim.

Would I need premeire or Delux?

That book has a lot of information on expat tax issues and one of the things covered is what to do about filing overdue returns. If all of your income is foreign earned income under the exclusion limit then there’s ways to do it without paying penalties. I would recommend making the old tax filings as you’ll have less explaining to do than if the IRS starts asking why you haven’t filed.

(this should probably be moved to the taxes forum)

…not that this has happened to me… but I have a friend who…

He did not file his US taxes for 3 years. He used a tax preparer to help “catch up”, but could probably of done himself if he could find the forms, etc. The tax preparer sent everything in to the IRS.

He received notification or receipt from the IRS in the mail. He was able to spread the tax bill out over installments. The IRS is very friendly and accomodating if you search them out. They do not try to convict or punish, but of course there are penalties in the form of interest. They seem like they will do anything to bend over backwards if you seek them out and give it a try… but if they seek you out, it could possibly be a totally different story.