You may be surprised to learn that every year many taxpayers fail to file their return with the IRS and other taxing authorities. Sometimes this situation involves many years of unfiled returns. There are a surprising number of people in this category. If you are one of these people, it is helpful to understand that this is not an entirely uncommon occurrence.
Many people fail to file tax returns. Many of those who fail to file, return4refund do so because they are for whatever reason, overwhelmed by the tasks involved. In the case of members of professions, doctors, lawyers, judges or other government officers, teachers, etc, the added fear and embarrassment of facing the possibility of having their problem become public often creates an additional emotional hurtle which must be overcome. It is always best for people in this situation to seek out professional tax preparation assistance, particularly from professionals who are familiar with preparing delinquent and non filed returns, to get started on handling the problem.
There are delinquent returns – tax returns which are sent late – and missing returns which have never been filed. A basic rule with both is that the longer you delay, the more it could cost you. Even if you haven’t filed a return for several years, the fact remains that on the whole you should file. That’s not to say you will escape without payment or penalty but the sooner you deal with it the better. Failure to file your tax return can result a variety of problems and in extreme cases can result in criminal charges, prosecution and “jail time.”
Generally, if you file returns before the related taxing authority actively seeks to secure them, you minimize your chances of being subject to the most serious repercussions. In addition, although they can be aggressive collectors, most taxing authorities will enter into an arrangement with you to accept a payment plan for any back taxes you owe. In the case of the IRS, there are IRS payment plans and a device called an Offer in Compromise. Generally, no deals are on the table, however, unless and until you have filed all missing tax returns. This may mean going back several years. The IRS requires all your financial details before they will decide on any further action.
Financial distress and ignorance are no excuse
Many taxpayers, including professionals, find themselves in a tough financial bind and so choose not to file a return knowing they will have trouble paying whatever tax they owe. This is not acceptable to the IRS, and it may well prepare a return in your absence. They use current financial data readily at their fingertips as well as previous returns to assume what you have earned and, after allowing only minimal deductions, will prepare a bill for your tax debt. Don’t think because you haven’t filed, the IRS is not considering your case. Once again, qualified tax professionals can stand in between you and the taxing authority to protect you from over zealous collection techniques.
What about your professional reputation?
People who are in the medical or legal profession in particular must maintain a high reputation not only with their clients but also with their registration board and professional affiliations. If you have failed to file returns, the sooner you deal with the matter the better. The IRS has a method and formula for dealing with delinquent and non-filed returns. Dealing with the matter at the earliest possible date can reduce the incredible stress of being on the wrong side of law enforcement when operating in a profession. Correcting the situation under the guidance of an experienced tax professional is the best way to eliminate this stress.
*This article does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Mr. Thomas W. Lynch is an experienced attorney based in Hickory Hills. His law practice can assist with filing for bankruptcy and solving complex IRS & tax issues. Mr. Lynch and his legal team are committed to helping people resolve their problems and get them back on track. Visit thomaswlynchpc.com for more information.