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Delinquent Taxes - What Happens if I Don't Pay the IRS?

Aug 17, 2007
Depending on how much time has past, an individual will see hundreds; even of thousands of dollars owed in back taxes that were not originally assessed when first receiving a letter from IRS. Similar to a credit card company, penalties and interest can and will be applied.

Delinquent Income Tax Return Defined -
A delinquent income tax return is defined, in the eyes of the IRS and federal government as:

Income tax return having a US mail postmark after April 15th, if an extension was not granted. If an extension was applied for and granted, a delinquent income tax return is defined as an income tax return with a US mail postmark after the due date of that extension.

Does the IRS Keep my Return Money if I am Late? -
After three years, yes. There is a statute of limitations, or certain period of time allowed, by the federal government applied to receiving income tax refund money for a given year. That is three years from the due date of the tax return, not January 1st.

Just think, you could have money owed to you that you could apply toward your IRS tax debt if you have not filed.

Tax Return Stature of Limitations Example -
For example this is 2007, if your unextended delinquent income tax return for 2003 is fixed this year, you must do so before April 15th, 2007 to receive any refund from the IRS.

After that date, the government legally does not have to pay any refund owed even if it is thousands of dollars. If you mail or the return after the third anniversary date, the IRS will keep your refund check.

Delinquent Tax Penalties & Interest -
If you owe tax from the year's income, you could possibly be subjected to several penalties on the amount due. The failure to file penalty assesses a 5% charge on the amount due each, up to a maximum amount of 25%.

The failure-to-pay penalty equals one-half of 1% of the amount owed per month, maxing out at 25% as well. You will be charged interest on an unpaid balance at the prevailing rate (varies month-to-month).

You may be subjected to a penalty for not paying sufficient estimated taxes. There are several other penalties that may also apply.

If you have not filed and have not heard from the IRS, it is only a matter of time, even if you have not heard from them in years. They will contact you and find a way to collect.

How the IRS will Settle Delinquent Taxes by Force -
If none of these previously mentioned options above are arranged, some of the enforced collections measures the IRS can use, but are not limited to:

- Wage attachments
- Bank Account Levies
- Seizures of property
- Referrals to a private collection agency
- License or permit revocations
- Corporate responsible person assessments

Do not let the IRS scare you into signing an agreement that demands high dollar tax payments that you can not afford. Let a tax professional with years experience working with the IRS help you.
About the Author
Neil Lemons represents Allied Tax Solutions, a 30 year leader in IRS tax help & tax relief solutions. For more information or a free consultation visit http://www.alliedtaxsolutions.com.
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