People who owe tax must always file their returns on time or they risk severe penalties. However, you should complete and submit your return even if you don’t think you owe anything because you might receive a refund from the IRS. If you fail to file for a prolonged period of time, you could lose your claim to the money. An experienced consultant can help you figure out how to file back taxes and receive your refund.
For people who are liable to pay tax, the consequences of failing to file are even more drastic. You might have to pay a significant fine, and over time, you could have issues with your social security benefits or with obtaining a loan from a third-party lender. Let’s have a closer look at why filing your taxes is so important and how far back you can still do so and receive your refund.
What Happens if You Failed to File Your Taxes?
It’s easy to stick your head in the sand and pretend your taxes don’t exist, especially if you’re anticipating problems with the IRS. But unfortunately, you will need to file them at some point, and sooner is almost always better than later. If you are owed a refund by the IRS, you might lose access to it by filing more than three years past the deadline.
Consequences are even more significant for people who owe the IRS and are therefore accruing a monthly penalty on their account. They might also have problems with future loans, and some taxpayers may not get their full social security benefits.
If You Are Owed by the IRS
People who don’t owe any tax won’t face any negative consequences, such as penalties, if they fail to file. However, they should still do so as soon as possible because there might be a refund available. By delaying, you are putting this money at risk because the IRS has put a 3-year deadline on it. If you haven’t filed 36 months after the return due date, you lose your claim to this refund as well as tax credits like the Earned Income Credit.
For this reason, you should get together the necessary documents and file your return ASAP. Since most people aren’t sure how to do this or are afraid of making a mistake, contacting a specialist is the best way forward. Your consultant can explain to you how to file back taxes and complete all the necessary forms, so the process is smooth and easy for you.
If You Owe the IRS
Taxpayers who owe the IRS have to submit their returns on time or risk severe penalties. Every month you fail to file, you will pay an extra 5% of your total balance, up to 25% of your tax bill. What’s more, interest is charged on the total amount daily, so it compounds very quickly, and you could soon face a much higher bill than before.
For this reason, it is essential that you file your taxes now. Your penalty on an unpaid balance accumulates at a rate of 0.5% per month, which is ten times slower than that for an unfiled return. Thus, you would benefit from submitting your return, even if you are unable to pay off the entire amount at the moment.
Other Reasons to File Your Back Taxes
Aside from receiving your full return and avoiding severe penalties, there are other reasons why you should file your return. If you’re looking to obtain a loan or a mortgage, you might run into problems if you can’t show records of your past tax returns. Lenders who might ask you for a return include those offering business loans or federal aid for higher education, so your career and ability to earn money could be put at risk.
In many cases, not having your past tax return can delay your application process and stop lenders from accepting you, which impacts your finances in the long run. What’s more, self-employed individuals will also lose out on social security if their earned income is not reported. Although they might have a lower bill right now, they will never have access to retirement or disability benefits, which can cause problems in the future.
What Happens if You Fail to File?
As discussed, by failing to file, you will accrue penalties on your account and lose access to your refund after three years. In some cases, the IRS may file your taxes for you, especially if they believe that you owe a significant amount. This substitute return is unlikely to give you credit for your exemptions and deductions, so you will pay a much higher amount unless you take action now.
Fortunately, you will receive a letter 90 days before this happens, so you can stop the substitute return and file a correct one. If you’ve received a Notice of Deficiency (CP3219N), you should call your tax consultant to sort out the situation. They can help you file your back taxes correctly, so you avoid a hefty penalty and get all the tax credits you are due.
What If You Can’t Pay?
No matter if you can pay or not, you still need to file your taxes because the penalties for not submitting a return are applied at a much faster rate than those for not paying. Taxpayers who have a temporary cash flow problem can request an additional 60-120 days to settle the bill. If this isn’t enough, you and your consultant can come up with a more comprehensive strategy.
For instance, you could take advantage of the IRS forgiveness program, which offers several options for people who are having trouble with their tax bill. They include spreading out the payment over many months, taking a part of the balance off, and stopping the collection process temporarily. You can also get relief if your spouse caused a tax issue and you were unaware of it at the time.
How to File Back Taxes Now
Depending on your individual situation, filing your return could be reasonably straightforward or extremely complicated. If you’re worried that you will make a mistake or unsure how to get started, you should speak to a professional. They can not only make sure every form is filled out correctly, but they will also speed up the process considerably. Because your tax consultant is so experienced, they can have your return ready to go within days or weeks.
Failing to file your taxes is a serious issue for many people, especially those who owe the IRS money. They might incur high penalties and interest, and eventually, the IRS might file the return for them. This could be problematic because discounts and deductions are not generally applied. What’s more, you might be penalized by third-party institutions such as banks and mortgage lenders, who have access to your tax records.
For taxpayers who have overpaid and are due a refund, the IRS has set a 3-year deadline to claim this. If you fail to submit your return before this time, you might lose your right to the money. The best way to find out how to file back taxes is to get in touch with a competent and experienced consultant. Call or message us now at Geaux Tax Resolution to find out more and arrange an appointment with one of our experts.