Substitute for Return (SFR)

IRS Definition

If you fail to file, the IRS may file a substitute return for you. This return might not give you credit for deductions and exemptions you may be entitled to receive.

More from H&R Block

If you don’t file a tax return that you were supposed to, the IRS can file a return for you, called a substitute for return (SFR). The IRS prepares the return based on information it has from your employers, banks, and other payers.

An SFR has a filing status of single or married filing separately. That means you won’t get any exemptions, credits or deductions in your favor. It’s usually best to file your own return even if the IRS has already filed an SFR for you. You can still file your return to replace the SFR, to take advantage of a better filing status and any exemptions or credits you may be entitled to.

The IRS typically reviews these replacement returns more carefully than returns that are filed by the due date.

Learn how to address unfiled tax returns.

Get help from an expert

Your local H&R Block tax pro can look into your issue and deal with the IRS for you.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Or call 855-536-6504

Related Information

How to File Back Tax Returns with the IRS

Learn about the consequences and complications of an unflied tax return from the experts at H&R Block.

Five Reasons Self-Employed People Should File Back Tax Returns — Now

Learn about the consequences you may face if you are self-employed and have unfiled returns. Get the facts from the tax experts at H&R Block.

How to Get Your Old IRS Forms W-2 and 1099

Need copies of your old Forms W-2 or 1099? Learn about the four different ways to obtain IRS wage and income transcripts from the tax experts at H&R Block.

Nine Tips to Get Back on Track with the IRS When You Haven’t Filed Tax Returns

If you haven't filed required tax returns, find out how far back you may need to file, and get the nine tips you need to know about filing back tax returns.

It’s Been A Few Years Since I Filed A Tax Return. Should I Start Filing Again?

If you haven't filed tax returns in awhile, there are things you need to know. Learn how to address back tax returns and what you can expect when you file.

The Four Types of IRS Penalty Relief – and How to Know What’s Best for You

Get the facts from H&R Block about the four types of IRS penalty relief, and which IRS penalty relief option may be best for your situation.