SF-85p Additional Form Question #18 Failed to File or Pay Federal Tax

SF85p Additional Form Question # 18: In the past 7 years have you failed to file or pay Federal, State or other taxes when required by law or ordinance

I have following question about the above topic:
[1] In 2017 tax return I was late in paying the State tax. I forgot to mail the state tax return . I paid the state tax with penalty when I received the letter from the state tax department.

[2] In 2014 tax year I filed the amended tax return ** Voluntarily ** for year 2011,2012,2013 to pay income tax on the interest earned in overseas bank account. The interest earned in overseas bank account was not more than $2000

Given the above situation is it Ok if I answer the question #18 as NO because I corrected the mistake long time ago in year 2014 and I did not fail to file or pay Federal, State or other taxes in past 7 years.

Looking forward for your response. Please let me know if you need additional information.


Did you fail to file tax returns or pay any debt during the last seven years? You’ve answered the question yourself. You filed, including amended returns, and you paid the taxes that you owe.

Answer “No” and move on. It’s possible that the investigator MAY ask about the amendments and the late filing but it’s doubtful.

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I think U2 needs to be careful here, the question may mean to state, timely payment of Federal State or Local Taxes?

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He did NOT fail to file, he filed his state taxes late one year. He did NOT fail to pay, he amended his return (common) and paid some of his taxes late.

He’s in the clear.

Good news for him. Mom works for Department of Treasury and she tells me that paying late is not so good. But your the experts.

I have a university project that is trying to show a better data set for revoked Public Trust access in the Federal Civil service. Would you have any information on this?

Thank you very much EdFarmerII. Your answer is a big relief . This forum is doing an awesome job. I will be able to sleep well now.

you need to answer that you missed the one tax filing, then explain what happened.

I would recommend being careful with the wording . . . “Missed” isn’t really what happened. He failed to mail his state return and did so as soon as it was discovered. He filed “late” . . .

Yes, I would disclose it but the wording is important.

Hey Everyone!

Im ALojic andvBrand new to this forum, as well as brand new to security clearances. I joined hoping to get sone insight as I was offered a govt contract position that requires a Public Trust clearance.

Im clean with all other inquiries on the SF-85P, however Im daunted on questions 18 and 19- heres the scenario:

I JUST discovered that my 2017 Fed/State tax returns were completed but forgot to filed for that year…reason being is due to family issues that ended up with loosing a parent.

With that said I was able to download the completed form, and I plan to mail it immediately along with a check. I owe less than $500, and tge state Im owed a refund.

In addition I also fell behind on filing my 2018 Returns, but Im owed a refund, and like the 2017 scenario, Im planning to mail this return immediately

I really want thid job, and am very concerned about this particular instance. Will I be ok selecting yes, provide an explanation and a resolution?

I also believe the answer is “no” but in the interest of transparency, I would include an explanation of the situation in the space provided for additional comments. This way if there are any questions that come up, you’ve already disclosed everything.

Definitely say ‘yes,’ provide a BRIEF explanation on the SF-85P, then make sure you have documentation showing your accounts are up to date, as you may get follow-up questions about it. Go to irs.gov and get a ‘tax transcript’ to do this you may need to set up an online account.

This is one issue they take very seriously, best to be fully open about it.

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here is another thing: Im planned on mailing out these returns Monday Sep 14 at the Post office. Providing that I retain my receipt, and a copy of the shipping label, would the returns at that point be considered as “filed”, or do I have to actually wait until both agencies physically receive these returns and actually process it? I understand per COVID both tax agencies are backlogged and it could take several weeks for the agencies to physically touch my returns…and I dont have that amount of time per my prospect employer.

What should I do?

You answer yes and you try to explain why you did not file taxes the last two years.

Couple of questions.

Why did you only recently discover 2017 was not filed? Was it that you knew and now facing a background check?

Why was 2018 not filed?

Prior to really wanting this job, did you intend to file 2019?

Depending on the agency and the position, these are definitely questions that may be asked. Possibly less of a concern for a contractor but there still may be concerns along these lines.

Let me clear things out Mr Investigator: I had my 2017 returns completed on my tax prep software: however due to family-related issues which resulted in the death of a parent I had to postpone everything, incl the returns. After all was said and done, I simply forgot with all the chaos following thereafter.

2018, once again I had everything ready to go, and believed all was submitted when I pressed the ok button. Apparently this was not the case when I came to review the transcript. Dont know if it was a technical issue, or user error.

Im due a refund for 2018, and owe a small amount for 2017.

BTW Mr. Investigator, I did successfully file my 2019 taxes this year. Im just happy I found out about the unfiled taxes beforehand so corrective action can be taken

So why now did you only find out you missed filing two years’ worth of taxes?

Much like your 2017 and 2018 taxes, you forgot to answer that as well.

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Mr. Investigator, Judging by your screen-name, I can only assume you are in such a position. Per your role respectfully, I did not ask for an interrogation- Im asking for guidance, and advise.

Since this is all new to me, Im only trying to cover my bases, to ensure accuracy and avoid potential setbacks during this BI. Part of this was researching my own records to maintain a level of accuracy.

Not paying taxes is a big deal, especially 2 years in a row. All you can do is fix the mistake.

I am mailing both returns today. Life happens. Like you said Thor, all I can do at this point is rectify the issue, and hope all goes well

There was no interogation. You asked if there were any issues and we responded. The questions tossed at you by Fed-Investigator aka “Mr Investigator” are the same questions I would because these are responses (among many other responses) your adjudicator needs to know.

Not paying/filing taxes, even when you are due a return, is a big deal. Background investigations are governed by federal laws and federal executive rules. One of the laws is about people seeking federal employment/federal contract employment and taxes.

Mr Investigator is helping you by giving you hints about questions you will be asked if there is a Subject interview. Mr Investigator is not picking on anyone.

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