Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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You will need to begin filing taxes for income you earned during those years. Go to a competent tax professional, file your income taxes voluntarily, and pay any money it is found you owe. This will help reduce the amount you have to pay as well as help ward off any forced collection or prosecution by the IRS. The IRS will eventually find you. You should still be filing taxes even when you believe you do not owe money.

Questions to Consider When Filing Income Taxes

According to the IRS, if you answer yes to any of the following questions, filing taxes will be mandatory:

  • Did you have federal taxes withheld from your pension and wages for this tax year and wish to get a refund back?
  • Are you entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit or did you receive Advance Earned Income Credit for this tax year?
  • Were you self-employed with earnings of more than $400.00?
  • Did you sell your home?
  • Will you owe any special income taxes on a qualified retirement plan, including an IRA or Medical Savings Account? You may owe income taxes if you:
    • Received an early distribution from a qualified plan
    • Made excess contributions to your IRA or MSA
    • Were born before July 1, 1939, and you did not take the minimum required distribution from your qualified retirement plan
    • Received a distribution in the excess of $160,000 from a qualified retirement plan.
  • Will you owe social security and Medicare tax on tips you did not report to your employer?
  • Will you owe uncollected social security and Medicare or Railroad Retirement (RRTA) tax on tips you reported to your employer?
  • Will you be subject to Alternative Minimum Tax? (The tax law gives special treatment to some kinds of income and allows special deductions and credit for some kinds of expenses).
  • Will you owe a recapture tax?
  • Are you a church employee with income in wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security or Medicare taxes?

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Getting Help with Filing Taxes

If you are unsure about your obligations for filing taxes, or if you have any further questions regarding filing income taxes in accordance with federal law, contact a tax specialist for a consultation.