How do you get old copies of W-2 forms?
As Jon indicates, go to Internal Revenue Service, under Tools select 'get transcript by mail. Here you can request a Wage and Income transcript, it will contain all your tax info submitted to the IRS for the year you request, including the W-2 data. Up until two months ago you could have looked at the info online immediately, but people illegally accessed hundreds of thousands of people records, so that option is gone for now.
How can I fill out an IRS form 8379?
Form 8379, the Injured Spouse declaration, is used to ensure that a spouse’s share of a refund from a joint tax return is not used by the IRS as an offset to pay a tax obligation of the other spouse.Before you file this, make sure that you know the difference between this and the Innocent Spouse declaration, Form 8857. You use Form 8379 when your spouse owes money for a legally enforeceable tax debt (such as a student loan which is in default) for which you are not jointly liable. You use Form 8857 when you want to be released from tax liability for an understatement of tax that resulted from actions taken by your spouse of which you had no knowledge, and had no reason to know.As the other answers have specified, you follow the Instructions for Form 8379 (11/2016) on the IRS Web site to actually fill it out.
If the IRS knows how much money we owe, why do we need to fill out returns?
Because the IRS doesn't know how much money you owe. They know approximately what you made, and they know a little bit about some of your deductions, but they don't know whether and to what extent you are entitled to additional deductions or credits, or whether and to what extent you earned money from transactions not reported to the IRS. Even on the transactions that were reported to the IRS, the IRS doesn't always know how much of that income is actually taxable - or at what rate.
Which IRS forms do US expats need to fill out?
That would depend on their personal situation, but should they actually have a full financial life in another country including investments, pensions, mortgages, insurance policies, a small business, multiple bank accounts…The reporting alone can be bankrupting, and that is before you get on to actual taxes that are punitive toward foreign finances owned by a US citizen and god help you if you make mistake because penalties appear designed to bankrupt you.US citizens globally are renouncing citizenship for good reason.This is extracted from a letter sent by the James Bopp law firm to Chairman Mark Meadows of the subcommittee of government operations regarding the difficulty faced by US citizens who try to live else where.“ FATCA is forcing Americans abroad into a set of circumstances where they must renounce their U.S. citizenship to survive.For example, suppose you have a married couple living in Washington DC. One works as a lobbyist for an NGO and has a defined benefits pensions. The other is self employed in a lobby firm, working under an LLC. According to the IRS filing requirements, it would take about 15 hours and $280 to complete their yearly filings. Should they under report income, any penalties would be a percentage of their unreported tax burden. The worst case is a 20% civil fraud penalty.Compare the same couple with one different fact. They moved to Australia because the NGO reassigned the wife to Sydney. The husband, likewise, moves his business overseas. They open a bank account, contribute to the mandatory Australian retirement fund, purchase a house with a mortgage and get a life insurance policy on both of them.These are now their new filing requirements:• Form 8938• Form 3520-A• Form 3520• Form 5471 (to be filed by the husbands new Australian corporation where he is self employed)• Form 720 Excise Tax.• FinCEN Form 114The burden that was 15 hours now goes up to• 57.2 hours for Form 720,• 54.20 hours for Form 3520,• 61.22 Hours for Form 3520-A.• 50 hours estimate for Form 5471For a total of 226.99 hours (according to the IRS’s own time estimates) not including time to file the FBAR.The penalties for innocent misfiling or non filings for the above foreign reporting forms for the couple are up to $50,000, per year. It is likely that the foreign income exclusion and foreign tax credit will negate any actual tax due to the IRS. So each year, there is a lurking $50,000 penalty for getting something technically wrong on a form, yet there would be no additional tax due to the US treasury.”
I haven't filed my taxes in 7 years. How do I resolve this issue?
You used to be able to get your W-2 online but it looks like the IRS shut that down: Get Transcript. You can request a wage transcript by paper, or your state may allow you to request a W-2 equivalent online. One way or another you need to know what your income was, so you'll need those W-2s.You don't *have* to see a professional, but I don't believe websites allow you to fill out past-year tax returns. You could buy previous year desktop versions of TurboTax or others. You'll likely have to mail them in. Of course you can always fill out the old forms by hand, get the forms here: Forms & Pubs (click "Prior Year")You can get refunds for the past 3 years. Shouldn't be penalties if there's a refund, but if you owe taxes for that year there'll be a good amount of penalties and interest.