How do I file my Utah State Individual Income Tax Return for previous years or past due returns (like 2008 when I never filed)?

I am not an accountant and I don’t do taxes!  So take this with a grain of salt.  This is just what one of my clients did recently with the Utah State Tax Commission (“USTC”).    

We are sitting in court at our 341 Meeting of Creditors, and the USTC representative says that they’ve never received a copy of my client’s 2008 TC-40, Utah Individual Income Tax Return.  My client is sure that she’s filed it, but the USTC wants a copy.

At this point, we can try to find the copy of the 9 year old tax return, or recreate it.  She can’t find it, so she’s stuck recreating it.  She can’t find her federal returns either, so it’s off to the internet.

Here are the basic steps:

  1.  First, she gets her federal transcript from the IRS.
  2. She gets a blank Utah tax return for previous years.
  3. She uses that transcript to fill out her 2008 Utah TC-40.
  4. She signs it in blue ink (just because blue is prettier), and
  5. I forward it to the USTC representative.  (If you don’t have an attorney, you can mail it to them).

And she’s done (and filed).

Here are the same steps substantially fleshed out.

  1.  How to get your transcript from the IRS.

There are two kinds of transcripts, a tax return transcript and/or a tax account transcript.

Here’s the difference, as defined by the IRS:

  • Tax Return Transcript – shows most line items including your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans. Note: the secondary spouse on a joint return must use Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T to request this transcript type. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, the primary taxpayer on the return must make the request.
  • Tax Account Transcript – shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is available for the current tax year and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, you’re limited to the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. Note: If you made estimated tax payments and/or applied an overpayment from a prior year return, you can request this transcript type a few weeks after the beginning of the calendar year to confirm your payments prior to filing your tax return.

Now that you know the difference, here is where you go to get the transcript emailed to you from the IRS.  https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript

2. How to get a blank Utah tax return for previous years.

You go here:  https://tax.utah.gov/forms-pubs/previousyears  

You click the drop down menu for what kind of return (individual), type in the year on the next drop down menu, and the form appears in .pdf, blank and ready for you to fill out.

The form we needed was located here:  https://tax.utah.gov/forms/2008/tc-40.pdf

3.  How to fill out our your blank TC-40.

Use your federal tax transcript.  It should show all of the numbers you need to plug in to the state form.  If it doesn’t, I’m at a loss, because I am not an accountant and I don’t do taxes.  (But don’t worry, it really does).

4.  Sign it in blue ink.

No, it doesn’t really matter.  But I love blue ink because it shows that this really is an original document.

5.  Send it to the tax commission.

If you are in bankruptcy, you can give it to your attorney, and he’ll email a scanned copy to the USTC.  Then it is magically filed.

If you are not in bankruptcy yet, then you’ll need to send it to the USTC directly.  You can do so here:  https://incometax.utah.gov/contact

Call them just to double-check.