IRS lost my return - says I didn't file
I just got a letter from the IRS saying they have no record of me filing in 2003. I have copies of my (unsigned) electronically filed forms.
An agent told me on the phone to sign them and date them for today; however, that made no sense, so I just signed them, referring to the date stamp at the bottom of the form, and will mail them certified in the morning. He told me it will take between six to eight weeks to process my 2003 return, before they release my 2008.
My two questions are:
1) Can they penalize me for filing late (in their eyes)?
2) What constitutes "financial hardship" according to the Tax Advocate service - so that they might release my 2008 return?