Haven’t filed your back taxes? The IRS will come knocking! But help is here


The Internal Revenue Service has announced it will personally visit more taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns for prior years. The IRS is doing this in an effort to increase tax compliance and further enforce the law. In addition, the IRS is increasing the use of data analytics, research, and new compliance strategies (including personal visits) to reach taxpayers and tax return preparers who have not filed their federal income tax returns.


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The goal of these strategies is to bring delinquent taxpayers into compliance with their filing and payment tax obligations and promote future tax compliance.


To promote more voluntary compliance with the tax law, the IRS is also using new methods to leverage existing processes and systems, including:


  • Increasing the identification and new case creation for individual and business non-filers. New cases will be assigned to IRS employees for appropriate resolution.
  • Automated Substitute for Return program (ASFR). This program targets individual taxpayers who have not yet filed their income tax returns.  Due to reporting mechanisms in place, these taxpayer’s income information shared with and made available to the IRS. An Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR) is generated automatically if the IRS systems indicate a significant income tax liability for a taxpayer. As part of the ASFR program, the IRS sends notices to these taxpayers alerting them to the potential liability.
  • Automated 6020(b) process focuses on more employment tax filing compliance by filtering business taxpayers with employment tax requirements who have not filed for some time. Ensuring that businesses remain compliant with their employment tax filing and payment requirements is another high priority program for the IRS.
  • Delinquent Return Refund Hold program (DRRH). When this program detects a taxpayer’s account has at least one unfiled tax return within the five years surrounding that return the results in a refund, the DRRH systemically holds an individual taxpayer’s income tax refund. In addition, to better educate taxpayers and tax professionals on filing requirements, the IRS is working with key partners.

Many non-filers are actually owed refunds, and they are also encouraged to look into filing their tax returns. The deadline for claiming refunds on 2016 tax returns is April 15, 2020.

For taxpayers who haven’t filed for some previous years, the IRS has current and prior year tax forms and instructions available on the IRS.gov “Forms and Publications” page or by calling, toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Taxpayers who are missing their tax forms (like W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498) should request copies from their employer, bank or other sources.

Those who are unable to obtain these missing forms can request a free wage and income transcript at IRS.gov by using the “Get Transcript Online” tool. Alternatively, taxpayers can file Form 4506-T to request a wage and income transcript from the IRS. This transcript shows data from information returns received by the IRS, such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, Form 5498 and IRA contribution information but not in the same format as the familiar tax forms.

Taxpayers can use the information from the transcript to file their tax return.

Haven’t Filed Back Tax Returns? The IRS will come Knocking, but Help is HERE