What To Do If You Haven’t Filed in a Long Time

Every tax season accountant hear similar pleas from a percentage of clients:  requests for help from those, who for whatever reason did not file tax returns.  No matter the excuse for not filing your tax return, the IRS recommends that you   file your tax return as soon as possible because you may face an array of troubles if you remain noncompliant.  If you happen to owe back taxes, you could be facing a bigger problem and it could warrant that you seek the advice of a tax lawyer so that you can fully understand what your obligations are.

So why should you be filing a tax return every year?  Simply put, it is the law, which means it can actually be a felony under the right circumstances if you do not do so.  Other drawbacks of not filing could include losing your passport, inability to apply for a mortgage or other loan such as student aid, missing out on contributing to social security or participation in the healthcare exchange.  In a nutshell, you put yourself at a big disadvantage, but even more problematic is that depending on if you owe the IRS money, you could be accumulating severe penalties for failure to file and/or failure to pay your taxes.

Lack of funds to pay your taxes does not excuse you from not filing; however there are some reasonable causes, which the IRS does recognize for non-filers:

  • Fire, casualty, natural disaster or other disturbances
  • Inability to obtain records needed to proceed
  • Death, serious illness, incapacitation or unavoidable absence of the taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer’s immediate family

There are also some instances where the IRS will consider reasonable cause.  A tax attorney could help you determine if this area could be an option for you after examining the facts and circumstances that prevented you from filing your tax return.  In most cases, the good news is if you acted with prudence some penalties could be reduced or avoided all together.

The bottom line is that you should get up to speed as soon as possible and file your returns for each year that you missed.  Often people may not have every single document they need in order to accurately fill out their returns.  In such circumstances, you should try your best to locate the precise details of income and deductions.  You may also be able to request a transcript from the IRS to provide you with what numbers the agency has.  Once the return(s) are filed, you will need to work out how to pay the back taxes you owe, including the penalties and interest if applicable.  Your tax lawyer could also guide you in this part and could possibly even negotiate a lesser amount for settlement.

One of the worst positions to be in is the status of a non-filer.  The IRS is known to be relentless and far reaching when it comes to money that is owed to them.  If you happen to be a person who has not filed a tax return in a long time, you should contact us at Dallo Law Group.  Our attorneys regularly represented people in the exact same position.  In some instances, people came forward with the goal of getting things straight with the IRS and in other instances; people began getting notices from the IRS for their failure to file.  Either way, it is best to avoid further escalation of the problem, and our professionals can guide you to the right path while managing the IRS bureaucracy.  There is no justification for battling this issue alone and without assistance, especially if penalties could be reduced and/or an easier repayment schema can be established for you. Review our “Victories” tab to read about similar cases that we’ve succeeded on.  As always, we offer a free consultation to review your particular circumstance and answer all questions you have. We can be reached at 619-795-8000.