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News & Advice

Can You Get In Trouble For Not Filing Taxes For 5 Years?

Yes, failing to file taxes for an extended period, such as five years, can lead to significant consequences and legal trouble.

Here are some potential repercussions…

  1. Penalties and Interest – The IRS imposes penalties for late filing and late payment of taxes. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more severe than the failure-to-pay penalty. Interest accrues on any unpaid taxes from the due date of the return until the taxes are paid in full.
  2. Loss of Refunds – If you’re entitled to a refund for any of the years you didn’t file a return, you generally have three years from the original due date of the return to claim it. If you don’t file a return within this timeframe, you forfeit your right to that refund.
  3. Legal Action – The IRS has the authority to take legal action to collect unpaid taxes. This may include placing liens on your property, garnishing wages, seizing assets, or levying bank accounts.
  4. Criminal Penalties – In extreme cases of tax evasion or willful failure to file, individuals may face criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment.
  5. Loss of Tax Benefits – Filing tax returns is necessary to claim various tax benefits, credits, and deductions. By not filing, you’re missing out on potential tax savings.
  6. Continued Liability – The statute of limitations for the IRS to assess additional taxes doesn’t start until a tax return is filed. Therefore, by not filing, you may leave yourself open to potential tax assessments indefinitely.

It’s essential to address any unfiled tax returns promptly. If you’re behind on filing your taxes, consider taking the following steps…

  • Gather necessary tax documents and information for the years in question.
  • File accurate and complete tax returns for each year, even if you can’t pay the full amount owed.
  • If you’re unable to pay your tax debt in full, explore options such as installment agreements or offers in compromise.
  • Consider seeking assistance from a tax professional or accountant, especially if your situation is complex or involves significant amounts of unpaid taxes.

Ignoring your tax obligations can exacerbate financial and legal problems over time. It’s generally advisable to address tax issues proactively to minimize the impact on your financial well-being.