Did you know that the language of the federal IRS tax code has about four times as many words as the Bible? With a list of regulations that complex, it is no surprise that IRS nonfilers or individuals with unfiled tax returns are fairly common. People who have problems with the IRS abound and are in great company, like four named and several unnamed, would-be Obama presidential cabinet nominees. Now if qualified, highly sought after, public servants can be riddled with IRS issues, it is no wonder many non-filers, like this author’s cousin, can be snared in problems.
Unfiled tax returns can mean nightmares for individuals and businesses alike; after all it was the IRS that managed to imprison Al Capone, not the police. Reasons non-filers fail to do so are as varied as people themselves. Some do not for psychological or emotional reasons like catastrophic events, deaths, failed businesses, or failed relationships. Some do not file believing that the Constitution does not afford the federal government the right. A few people procrastinate and fail to meet the April fifteenth deadline, then believe they are just in trouble and can’t fix it, which is not true.
And then there are the IRS nonfilers who lacked income or the income to pay their debt, even a dread and confusion about the taxing system in general can cause well intentioned citizens to belay their IRS filing. One should be advised that it is relatively rare to be imprisoned for not filing with the IRS, for the most part they are content to garnish wages, aggressively rack up interest and penalty charges until a single year’s non-filing becomes a true headache and haunts a person until reconciled.
Get Professional Help!
So what should you do if you have years of unfiled tax returns and a growing tax debt? First, its advisable to contact a tax attorney, a CPA or an enrolled agent – ideally one in your local area – who can help you outline your liability and legal options. Then, they are most likely going to advise that your file those returns as soon as possible. You can read more about unfiled tax returns here. Even if you can’t afford to pay the tax debt, you at least want to file in most cases.