File your 2009 taxes by April 15, 2013 to get your refund
Yes, you can still file your 2009 taxes. And what’s more, you can still get a refund – but not for much longer. The IRS has a statute of limitations that only allows you to get a refund for three years after the original due date of a return.
This means that for 2009 taxes (originally due on April 15, 2010) the last day you can get a refund is April 15, 2013. After this date the government gets to keep your refund money, even though you’re technically still required to file a 2009 return.
If you haven’t filed your 2009 return yet, do so now. Don’t give away money that rightfully belongs to you.
Many people who are late on their taxes automatically assume that they’ll be punished for it. That’s not always the case. In fact, late filers are more likely to receive a refund than people who file during the regular tax season. And if you are due a refund you don’t have to pay any penalties or interest.
Unfortunately, though you only have three years to get a refund, the statute of limitations on the IRS collecting taxes due is ten years. So if you owe money, don’t think that you’ve successfully evaded the IRS just because three years has gone by. They’ve got another seven to collect that money.
And if you do owe the government money, you may have to pay a failure-to-file penalty, a failure-to-pay penalty, and interest. These penalties get larger for every day that your return is late, so it makes sense to file as soon as possible.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to e-file your 2009 return. E-file is only available between January and October for current year returns. This means that you’ll have to paper file your 2009 return.
You can still prepare your return online, but when you’re finished you will have to print it out, sign it, and mail it to the IRS yourself. Paper filing also means that your refund will take a little longer than it would if you were able to e-file. Generally paper filed returns are able to get their refunds in about 3-4 weeks, though sometimes longer. It’s an inconvenience, but seeing as you’ve already waited three years for your refund I’m sure you can wait three more weeks.
Photo via Jérôme on Flickr.