Filing Back Taxes

Filing Back Taxes

Filing Back Taxes: Page Content at a Glance

Some of us are natural procrastinators. Maybe it’s something minor like letting dishes pile up on the sink. Or maybe it’s something important like not completing your taxes on time. Unfortunately, those dishes aren’t going to magically disappear … and neither is the IRS or the state of California.

Eventually, the IRS or California will call you out on your failure to file your taxes properly. If you are thinking about not filing back taxes, you need to understand a few things.

First, filing taxes late or not at all does not absolve you of paying what you owe. You will owe the original amount plus interest and now you can add draconian penalties. After a few years of tax procrastination, the fees can result in an overwhelming bill.

Second, you could be subject to criminal tax prosecution for not filing your taxes. Hiring a Tax Attorney who knows how to get you back in the system with your scalp intact is important in cases like this.

Finally, if you are due to receive a refund and you skip filing taxes, you may have to forfeit that refund. Once a three-year period passes, (4 years CA) you no longer have a right to the refund.

Ultimately, the sooner you take care of this problem, the better. If you’re concerned about an IRS notification regarding filing back taxes, schedule a 10-minute call with an experienced tax attorney. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today.

Filing Back Taxes - Back Tax Attorney
Taxpayers who realize that they made a filing error or who receive a letter from the IRS communicating some deficiency in their tax filing or tax payments may whip themselves into a state of panic. The taxpayer may fear the consequences their tax error will bring including additional penalties, fines, and an increase in the likelihood of facing a tax audit.  However, fear, worry, and anxiety will bring you no closer to a solution for your tax situation.

Working with an experienced tax attorney can provide the guidance and peace of mind you need as you navigate the challenges of coming back into compliance with the U.S. Tax Code. Working with a tax attorney can help you better understand the risk you face and your potential pathways to mitigate the consequences and penalties you face.


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What Are the Penalties for a Delinquent Tax Filing?

Individuals who fail to file their taxes when an obligation to do so exists are subject to fines and penalties and the simple fact is that most people have an obligation to filing back taxes. For a sole filer in 2014, the obligation to file taxes triggers at just $10,150 in gross income. Clearly, at these levels most individuals will have an obligation to file taxes, though, many people making only marginally more than $50,000 will receive a refund. However, filers who do not file their taxes cannot receive a tax refund. That is, filing a refund is the only way a taxpayer can receive his or her refund back from the government. Furthermore, a taxpayer who fails to file the tax return for three years from the original due date will lose his or her right to the funds.

However, taxpayers always have the option to file an automatic extension via form 4868. However, an extension can only be filed before the taxes are do and cannot be done retroactively. Furthermore, the extension of time to file is just that. The extension only provides a taxpayer with additional time to file his or her taxes. Payment of at least 90 percent the taxes due and owing is still required for the taxpayer to avoid a failure to pay penalty.

Aside from the inability to receive one’s income tax refund, other penalties can apply to non-compliant taxpayers. The taxpayer may be subject to a failure to file penalty which is assessed at a 5 percent penalty on the unpaid tax for every month or part of a month where a tax debt is due and owing. Taxpayer’s may also become subject to a failure to pay penalty. The failure to pay penalty is less severe than the failure to file penalty and is assess at one-half of one percent for each month or part of a month where the obligation is unsatisfied.

However, if the taxpayer’s conduct or circumstances suggests something more than a mere mistake or error, criminal tax penalties may be advanced. Taxpayers who intentionally or voluntarily endeavor to evade or defeat taxes can be held criminally liable for their actions. Criminal tax penalties typically carry harsh penalties including a federal prison sentence.

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How do I File Back Taxes?

The exact steps you take to correct your tax filing and filing back taxes cannot be determined until assessing your tax situation. For taxpayers with fairly straightforward taxes who do not owe the IRS money at the year’s end, correcting your past mistakes may be as simple as filing the missing returns. For some taxpayers, filing up to six years of returns may be required. You may even receive a tax refund. However, for taxpayers who have additional tax problems or who may have owed the IRS money at the end of the year, the process to catch-up on your missed filings may be more involved and require additional strategic planning. In any case, taxpayers should consult with a tax professional immediately because the taxpayer’s bargaining position is the strongest when he or she comes forward voluntarily.

Filing Back Taxes FAQ

How long do you have to file back taxes?
The IRS will allow back taxes to be filed for up to three years.

Can you got to jail for not filing a tax return?
Yes. You can be sent to jail for not filing your tax returns.

What happens if you never file your taxes?
The IRS can collect tax debt for an unlimited amount of time, along with applying penalties and interest.

What happens if you can’t afford to pay your taxes?
The IRS allows for taxpayers to make payments for tax debts that are less than $25,000.

Questions and Answers on Unfiled Back Taxes

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If you are looking to correct tax mistakes due to unfiled taxes, the tax professionals of the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing can help you with filing back taxes, get caught up and put your mind to ease with any IRS audits. To schedule a reduced-rate tax consultation call us at 800-681-1295 or contact us online today. We will schedule at one of our convenient tax law office locations in Los Angeles or Orange County.