I may have not filed when I should have in '20 and '21

I am in the process of looking over the SF86 in preparation for filling it out in the coming months. I was in college the past couple of years and most of my income was non-taxable (GI Bill & VA Disability). The income I received outside of this was while working part time and was well below the limit that is required to file.

Today, I met with a CPA just to ensure all of my bases are covered and I learned that grants & scholarships can be counted as taxable income. Afterwards, I checked school documents and I now believe that I may have been about $800 over that limit (both years) with grants and scholarships figured in. I have a follow up meeting next week to file both years.

I check on the IRS website and it does not show that I owe anything, and I have not received anything in the mail. My question is - if I do end up owing money and pay that off immediately, will I have to check “yes” that I failed to file or pay? How bad does this look?

The IRS doesnt show a debt because they dont know about it. My daughter had a similar problem when she did not declare a fellowship or something and had to pay some back taxes on it. I dont think she got a W-2 or anything but still had to declare it as income.

In your case, you might as well play on the safe side and check “yes” and provide a brief explanation on the forms. When you meet with an investigator you will be able to provide the details. As long as you can show that you are already addressing the issue it should be OK as far as a security clearance goes, but if you are applying for a direct hire government position there may be suitability concerns.

Yes, but you have mitigating factors (don’t create a problem for yourself by self adjudicating)

In case of doubt, you can always file an amended return with the IRS.