I haven't filed taxes for 18 years now(because of child support)stupid I know now but what do I have to look forward to going through since I did this
3 Answers from Attorneys
Federal tax returns can be filed after the due dates. Interest, penalties, and other charges depend on the annual returns. Depending on your present financial situation, you can
negotiate a compromise or installment arrangement. You can't merely express your
regret and forget about it.
You are not alone. I see people everyday with unfiled returns who do not know how to get back in the system. You need a qualified tax professional (not one of these companies that you see on television) to get your transcripts and income information from the IRS. This will tell you how much you earned each year, how much tax was paid, and whether the IRS is in the process of filing returns for you or has already done so. If you have moved in the last 18 years, they are sending all correspondence to your old address and may levy your bank account or wages without you knowing about it. Next you need to file your returns. Generally, the IRS only wants you to go back 6 years. Once filed, you have to work out a payment plan or you may be eligible for an Offer in Compromise. You will feel much better when you take care of this and get it behind you.
The first issue that must be determined is whether you are at risk for a criminal charge of wilful failure to file under 26 USC section 7203. Then a decision can be made whether you are a safe candidate for voluntary disclosure of your non-filing and, hopefully, the eventual filing of your returns. Since factors such as amount of tax, number of years, reasons for non-filing, nature of income and many other factors have to be evaluated, you should return an attorney experienced in these type of cases. Typically, he/she would retain an accountant under a so-called "Kovel" relationship to protect the confidentiality of your situation and your fifth amendment privilege. while you are gathering the information to make these decisions and to file your returns, if that is deemed advisable. The attorney client and work product privileges provide this protection.No other professional except an attorney can provide you these protections.
If you decide to proceed and file, then you will have to deal with paying the taxes, penalties and interests. This is achieved through negotiations for installment plans or offers in compromise. Some times bankruptcy is an option, but the non-filing delays the time as to when you can discharge taxes in bankruptcy and may also prohibit the discharge-ability of the taxes. The first step is to avoid prosecution, then file, then determine the best way to resolve the liabilities.
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