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Things to know about failing to file an income tax return

As readers are likely aware, individuals living throughout the nation who make a certain amount of money are expected file a federal income tax return, annually. Despite that knowledge, come mid April each year, inevitably some individuals have failed to do so. The reasons behind these failures may vary widely, from anti-government sentiment, to fear of what the consequences will be after not filing for many years. Regardless of the reason you do not file an income tax return, it is a good idea to know what to expect as a result of that omission.

The first thing is that the IRS is working to identify individuals who have not filed a federal tax return via program. This means that just because you have not been contacted by the IRS yet, doesn’t mean you won’t.

When you do file a tax return it may in fact turn out that the IRS owes you money. Should you owe money, you may not need to pay the entire amount all at once. Instead, an installment plan may be created. In some cases it may even be possible to negotiate a lower amount.

While choosing to not file an income tax return could be a criminal violation of the law, filers who cooperate face a much lower chance of being prosecuted. In addition people whose returns were lost in the mail or who made simple mistakes on them will not be prosecuted. Those who have derived income illegally or been blatantly fraudulent on the other hand, face a greater risk of being prosecuted.

Perhaps the most important thing to know is that working with a professional who understands the process can be of assistance in the matter. This could go a long way toward alleviating the stress that usually accompanies income tax matters.

Source: FindLaw, “What to Expect If You Don't Pay Your Taxes,” Accessed Oct. 2, 2014

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