Welcome back! Ask questions, get answers, and join our large community of tax professionals.
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

New Client

Level 4

I have been approached by a new client as a referral from an existing client who needs tax assistance. I met with them and the taxpayer has not filed a tax return since 2014 for no real reason that he can clearly explain other than his preparer passed away and the next preparer who he paid a retainer to never returns his calls. I am trying to give the taxpayer the benefit of the doubt to start fresh. What I do know is the taxpayer has his own business during the years he failed to file. He currently in 2023 became a W-2 wage earner. I have requested IRS transcripts to assess the situation which he has told me that he has prior unpaid taxes from years when he did file which I explained to him now that he is a W-2 wage earner the IRS will start garnishing once he is put back on the grid. My approach to this client is to prepare his 2022 return, file and then work backwards for years 2015-2021 as he pulls his information together. He says the retained preparer has his documents which he may need to recreate since he can not reach anyone. Any suggestions on if my approach makes sense or another suggestion. I have not had to deal with this type of situation since I worked with a tax office over 15 years ago. ANY FEEDBACK WILL HELP! 

0 Cheers
6 Comments 6
Level 15

One word comes to mind:


Slava Ukraini!
Level 15

I wouldn't go back to 2014, I would start with 2020 and work forward (if you are in California, you might eventually have to pick up years before 2020, but wait for them to ask).  I would not tell him that IRS will start wage garnishment, because they won't.  He has rights to a reasonable collection procedure.  I wouldn't put much faith in his stories about why he is a nonfiler, and I would collect the fees before I started. (He may say that he made a mistake paying in advance last time, but the mistake he made, if any, was with selecting the preparer he hired.)  

If he is getting a refund on 2022, IRS probably won't pay it until they get the previous two years of returns filed also.  

If he owes money from before 2014, the statute of limitations on collection may have expired. Don't do anything that would extend it.  

Level 7

If you have a VITA site in your area, I would advise your client to go there.  They frequently handle these types.  


Level 15

If I was destitute and homeless and living in a wagon rut, I still would not touch that with a 100 ft Pole. But you do what you want to do.

Level 15

@AnmarieA wrote:

My approach to this client is to prepare his 2022 return, file and then work backwards for years 2015-2021 as he pulls his information together.


Shouldn't you start with the oldest year first?  There could be things that affect future years, such as carryovers, depreciation and perhaps other things.  You would also want to first try to get the 2014 and older years to see if anything needs to be carried over to 2015.

Usually the IRS only wants/enforces the last six years of tax returns, so maybe you could skip the oldest year or two. 



For multi-late year filers like this, ALWAYS get paid in advance or on a retainer.  Don't do any work until you are paid.

Level 4

I am going to meet the client this week but he has had scheduling conflicts. I will work on the oldest return forward depending on what shape his info is in. He had not filed since 2014 I found out not certain what kind of historical records he has at this point. Not certain what I am going to do at this time. Thanks for the input. 

0 Cheers