You may worry about the IRS coming after you if you haven't filed your federal income tax returns for years. Even if you are already on the IRS's radar and they claim that you owe money, a tax attorney can help you with your case. Here are some legal defenses to not filing your taxes as well as what will most likely happen if the IRS determines that you owe them back taxes.
Reasons Why You May Not be Penalized
Most people are required to file taxes regardless of if they owe money or not. However, there are some legal defenses that could mean that you will not pay any penalties.
You Were Not Required to File
If you are low income, then you may not have to file a federal tax return at all. Minimum income for filing depends on age, marital status, and other factors. Check the IRS website to see what the minimum income is required for filing in your situation.
You Were Entitled to a Refund
If the IRS owes you, then chances are that you will not have to pay any penalties for filing late. However, if you don't file your taxes within three years, then the IRS will get to keep your money permanently.
You Were Ill or Incapacitated
If you can prove that you were unable to file due to a physical or mental disability, or you were suffering from an extended illness, then you may not face any penalties. However, you will need to show proof of the length of your illness.
Reasons Why You May be Penalized
You will be assessed a penalty if the IRS determines that you owed them money but failed to file your taxes. This amount depends on how much you owed and how long you went without filing taxes. There is no time limit on how long the IRS can go back to collect your back taxes. You could also face additional charges, possibly even criminal charges, if they can show that you deliberately tried to hide any part of your income.
If you haven't been filing your taxes over the years, and the IRS is sending you notices to pay up, then talk to a tax attorney to see what your options are. A tax attorney can help you defend yourself and assist you in negotiations with the IRS for lower penalties if they have determined that you owe them. Your attorney can also help you review your records and represent you in court if you feel that the IRS assessment is wrong.