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William Perez

Need to File a Tax Return for 2008?

By March 6, 2012

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The Internal Revenue has just over $1 billion in tax refunds for approximately one million individuals who still need to file an income tax return for the year 2008.

If you still need to file a tax return for 2008, there's some basic rules to understand.

Refunds expire after three years. Federal tax refunds do have a shelf life, or statute of limitations. Refunds expire after three years from the original filing deadline (or from the extended deadline if you filed an extension). Refunds from the year 2008 will expire on April 17, 2012. Some states have the different statutes of limitations for refunds.

You can retrieve some tax documents directly from the IRS. The IRS keeps copies of W-2 forms, 1099's and other income-related documents. You can request copies of these tax documents by ordering an income transcript from the IRS. Either download and fill out Form 4506-T and take this to your local IRS office (they'll print out the transcript for you), or call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 and ask that the transcript be mailed to you. Your tax professional can also order an income transcript for you that can be delivered by fax.

Use the income transcript as a starting point for finding your original documents. You can contract previous employers, brokers, and other financial institutions to obtain copies of your original tax documents. Original documents can contain more information compared to what's found on the income transcript. For example, the IRS doesn't show any state-related tax withholdings on its transcripts. Similarly, if your income transcript shows you sold some investments, you may want to contact your broker to obtain more detailed account history information.

Download the tax forms, or purchase archived versions of tax software for previous years. Both tax forms and tax software are specific to each year.

Consider hiring an enrolled agent or certified public accountant. These two types of tax professionals can represent you before the IRS in addition to preparing your tax returns.

Your tax returns will need to be mailed in for manual processing. Tax returns from previous years cannot be e-filed. They'll have to be mailed in. And refunds often take longer for the IRS to send out. Refunds from older years go through additional processing checks at the IRS before being mailed out. If you owe tax for a different year, the IRS will use your refund to pay down what you owe for other years.

Mail your tax returns using certified mail with return receipt requested. Or, hand deliver your tax return to a local IRS office. This is all the more important with a 2008 tax return, as you will need proof that you filed the return on or before the April 17, 2012, deadline. If you hand deliver your tax return to the IRS, be sure to take a photocopy of page 1 of your tax return and ask the IRS agent to stamp the photocopy as received.

2008 has a special tax credit called the Recovery Rebate Credit. This tax credit is worth up to $600 for unmarried taxpayers and up to $1,200 for married couples, plus $300 per dependent child under age 17. This special tax credit is claimed on your 2008 tax return.

More about: filing back taxes, IRS has $1 Billion in Refunds for 2008

June 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm
(1) daniella weiher says:

Hi. I’m trying to figure out what form do I need to file my 2008 taxes. I have my w2. Thanks.

July 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm
(2) William Perez says:

Daniella, use Form 1040 if you’re a U.S. citizen or resident. The 2008 version of Form 1040 is located at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1040–2008.pdf. The Instructions for that Form are located at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/i1040–2008.pdf

July 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm
(3) Rich S. says:

I think that the IRS forgot to program their computers for the April 17th date for 2008 tax refunds. Either that or they intentionally put out false information on their WEB site (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=254725,00.html) My daughter mailed her 2008 return on April 12th (via Certified Mail, Return Receipt) and it was received by them on April 16th. They sent her a letter via Certified Mail saying that she submitted for the refund after the deadline. Anyone know what’s up with that?

August 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm
(4) claudia says:

Your daughter should go through the appeal process on the letter, IRS keeps the date stamped envelope and the return together and a tax payer advocate will pull this and get it sorted out for your daughter. Don’t give up she is due her refund and should insist on receiving it!

January 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm
(5) Dawn says:

I have a w2 from 2008, do I need to file 2008 tax forms or 2009 tax forms?

August 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm
(6) William Perez says:

Dawn, good question. If you need to file your 2008 tax return and you have your 2008 Form W-2, then this will be reported using the 2008 tax forms.

August 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(7) Sabrina says:

Can I file my 2008 in 2013 and get some of my refund back

August 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm
(8) William Perez says:

Sabrina, good question! Please see what I wrote above about tax refunds expiring after three years.

October 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm
(9) james says:

I need to know the address to send my 2008 return, I lost the address the IRS gave me but I remember Cin. Ohio. but ther was a special mailing code or something. thanks

October 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm
(10) William Perez says:

James, I understand your question. The IRS does have special addresses for mailing in tax returns when the IRS has already assessed tax for the year. However, I don’t recall that address, and I cannot seem to find it on the IRS web site. Your best bet is to call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and ask them for the address again.

February 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm
(11) Chris says:

I was irresponsible and didn’t file my taxes for 2008 or 2009. I had a levy on my account but it has since been lifted. IRS told me to file them and what I owe may be lifted. Is there any way to acquire my W-2s from those years without going to my former employers? Please help.

March 2, 2014 at 7:44 am
(12) Tonya Williams says:

I have the 1040 form to file my 2008 tax return but I need help filing it. Where can I go or who can help me?

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