It’s one thing to forget to file your taxes once, but after it’s a habit, it becomes a major problem. The risks of not filing your taxes can be as mild as paying a penalty to losing your home or bank account to the IRS. The following explain the various types of consequences that you could be subject to if you fail to file or pay your taxes.

Substitute Return

If you forget to file your taxes or choose not to, the IRS could file a substitute return for you. And no, it’s not like they’re filing this out of the goodness of their heart. You will most likely receive the worst tax benefits possible, meaning you could owe more in taxes than if you filed an original return due to the IRS claiming the least amount of deductions for you.

Forfeiture of Tax Refund

If you’re expecting a refund, there may or may not be time to claim it. After three years of the original tax return due date, the refund will no longer be available. If you can still expect a tax return from a recently missed tax return, act quickly before you face this personal financial loss.

Penalties and Accruing Interest

If you do not pay your taxes for previous years, penalties and accruing interest will be added to your tax debt. If you have not filed no paid taxes in the past year, both the failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties will apply: adding 5% to your debt each month.

If you have filed your taxes but have not paid the tax balance, the penalty is not as severe. The failure-to-pay penalty only adds 0.5 percent to your owed tax debt each month.

Liens and Levies

If you have not paid your owed tax for many years, the IRS may need to take desperate measures and either file a lien against you or levy your bank account, home, and/or wages. Yes, you read that right, the IRS can seize your funds and assets to pay your debt. If this happens, you will be notified of the lien or levy by mail. To prevent liens and levies, it is important to file each year and pay what you can. If you feel like you cannot pay the taxes you owe, you can arrange to pay the IRS through an installment plan or Offer in Compromise. If you have any questions about these arrangements, feel free to contact us.

Seize Social Security Funds

If you are receiving Social Security benefits for Federal Old-Age and Survivors Trust Fund or Disability Insurance Benefits, the IRS can use 15% of your Social Security payments to pay off what you owe to the IRS. However, the benefits your children can receive from the Social Security funds cannot be used to satisfy your debt. If the IRS uses your Social Security benefits to pay the debt, this re-payment arrangement will stay until the debt is either paid off or another arrangement to pay the debt has been made.

Bad Credit

While owing a small amount to the IRS for a short amount of time will not affect your credit, if there is a tax lien against you, this will be reported on your credit report and remain on there for up to ten years. The best way to remove a tax lien from your credit report is to pay the debt to the IRS.

Tax Summons

If you have not paid your taxes in years and have a large debt, you may receive a tax summon in the mail. The summons is a legal requirement to meet with an IRS officer and potentially appear in Tax Court. If you receive a summons in the mail, it is very wise to read it immediately and respond as soon as possible. Ignoring these notices and requests is not only expensive due to penalties and fines but can grow into a much larger case than anticipated. If you receive an IRS Summons in the mail, contact us for legal advice. Also, keep in mind that not all IRS summons applies to you directly, but you could be needed to testify as a third-party in another case.

File for Past Years as Soon as You Can

In case you’re reading this and you realize you need to file the taxes you missed, it isn’t too late. In fact, it’s much better to pay late taxes than to never pay at all. For more information, you can visit our website’s page on filing past tax returns or call us today to begin.

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