What to Expect If You Don’t Pay Your Taxes?

Try as they may, there are still some people who may miss the filing of their returns. There may also be others who choose to not file their returns on time. Paying taxes is the obligation of everyone, and the IRS provides for ways to give non-filers a chance to voluntarily come forward after a certain period of not paying taxes.

The following information may be helpful for those who have failed to file their taxes:

Knowing failure to file a return can be a criminal violation of the law

  • The IRS will most likely recommend prosecution of those whose income come from illegal sources.
  • It is not the policy of the IRS to prosecute ordinary people who make simple mistakes or whose returns were lost in the mail.
  • You are less likely to be prosecuted if you cooperate.
  • The IRS will probably not recommend prosecution for failing to pay your taxes, as long as you come forward voluntarily as soon as you realize that you owe them and arrange for a payment, without waiting for IRS to contact you.
  • The IRS is more likely to prosecute in relation to the manner in which the offense was committed, such as failing to file even after several notices by the IRS.
  • The IRS does not have to prove the exact amount you owe in order to convict you of a tax crime.
  • The IRS has a general policy of not enforcing the filing of returns older than six years.
  • The IRS has programs in place to identify non-filers.
  • The IRS can collect taxes, interest, and penalties for all of the taxes you have owed over the years.
  • The filing of a return starts the audit and collection time limits.
  • The IRS may owe you money.
  • You may be able to negotiate a settlement with the IRS, depending on your ability to pay, that will significantly diminish your overall tax debt.
  • You can probably work out an installment plan to pay off your debt if you do owe taxes.
  • You will probably not have to deal directly with the IRS if you work with a tax professional.
  • The IRS may accept reasonable estimates of charitable contributions, medical expenses, and other deductions.
  • The entire process of clearing up your nonfiling status could take as little as a few weeks depending on how complicated your situation is and how good at you are at keeping your records.
  • A tax professional should be able to obtain your past W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s from the IRS if you no longer have them.

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