Every year, hundreds of thousands (potentially millions) of taxpayers fail to file legally required tax returns. The act of not filing usually contributes to more significant problems with the passing of time. While there are many reasons why a taxpayer may not file a tax return, you need to be aware of the following:
Needless to say, it’s one thing to owe the IRS money, but another thing to potentially lose your freedom for failure to file a tax return.
The IRS will not entertain any type of settlement or arrangement until all legally required returns are filed by the taxpayer. The taxpayer must be in full filing compliance before the IRS will enter into an Offer in Compromise or a monthly installment payment plan.
The IRS may file “SFR” (Substitute For Return) Tax Returns for you. This is the IRS’s version of an unfiled tax return. Because SFR returns are filed in the best interest of the government, the only deductions you’ll see are standard deductions and one personal exemption. You will not get credit for deductions to which you may be entitled such as exemptions for spouses, children, interest and taxes on your home, cost of any stock or real estate sales, and business expenses, etc. Regardless of what you have heard, you have the right to file your original tax return, no matter how late it’s filed.