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I Haven’t Filed for Ten Years, What Do I Do?

We get it. Life happens, and sometimes, things like filing taxes can fall by the wayside. If you find yourself in a position where you haven't filed your taxes for a decade, it's crucial to understand what this means and how you can rectify the situation. At Common Law PC, we have years of experience assisting individuals like you in understanding this situation. 

Not filing taxes for a number of years is more common than you might think. There are numerous reasons why someone might not have filed for a decade: financial hardships, personal challenges, or even just being daunted by the complexity of the tax system. It's important to remember that every year you fail to file, you're potentially increasing the complications when you do decide to tackle your unpaid taxes. 

The Consequence of Not Filing

The implications of not filing your taxes for an extended period can be severe. The IRS may impose penalties, interest, and potential legal issues. Penalties for not filing can vary, but they generally involve a percentage of the unpaid taxes. In extreme cases, criminal charges may even be applied. Additionally, the IRS has the power to file a substitute return on your behalf, which likely won't factor in all possible deductions and credits, leading to a higher tax liability. The longer you delay filing, the more you accrue in interest and penalties, making the situation even more difficult to resolve. 

First Steps to Take

Start by gathering all relevant financial documents for the past ten years. This includes income statements, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and any other documentation related to your income and expenses. Once you've got everything together, it's time to call in the professionals. 

If you haven't filed your taxes in several years, the process of getting back on track can be overwhelming. Here are the steps we advise you to undertake: 

  • Reach Out for Professional Help: Before taking any action, consult with a tax professional who has experience in dealing with back taxes. 

  • File Your Past Tax Returns: Begin by filing your most recent unfiled tax return and then work your way backward. The IRS typically requires the last six years of tax returns to reinstate your account. 

  • Review the IRS Notices: If the IRS has sent you any notices, read them carefully to understand what the IRS is requesting from you. 

  • Determine if You're Eligible for Any Tax Relief Programs: Check if you qualify for any IRS programs, such as an Offer in Compromise or Installment Agreement, which can help reduce your total debt or break it down into manageable payments. 

  • Prepare a Financial Statement: You may need to provide a detailed financial statement to the IRS showing your current financial situation. 

  • Negotiate a Payment Plan: Work with your tax professional to negotiate a payment plan with the IRS that you can afford. 

  • Stay Compliant: Make sure to stay compliant with your current taxes while you're sorting out the past years. 

Taking these steps can help you to address the situation with the IRS proactively and get back on the path to financial stability. It is important to act as quickly as possible to minimize additional interest and penalties. 

How an Attorney Can Help

An experienced tax attorney can be instrumental in navigating the complexities of dealing with back taxes. Here are specific ways an attorney can assist: 

  • Legal Guidance and Representation: A tax attorney will help interpret the tax laws pertinent to your case and represent you in dealings with the IRS, often being able to negotiate more effectively on your behalf due to their legal understanding. 

  • Filing Past Returns: Attorneys can assist in correctly filing past due tax returns, ensuring that every possible credit and deduction is utilized, potentially reducing your tax liability. 

  • Penalty Abatement: Your attorney can argue for penalty abatement, where the IRS may reduce or remove penalties if you can show reasonable cause for not filing or paying on time. 

  • Navigating IRS Programs: Tax relief or resolution programs have complicated requirements; a tax attorney can help determine your eligibility and guide you through the application process for options such as Offers in Compromise or Innocent Spouse Relief. 

  • Asset and Income Analysis: An attorney can provide a thorough analysis of your assets and income to create an in-depth financial statement, which is often necessary for negotiations with the IRS. 

  • Court Representation: If your case goes to court, a tax attorney has the expertise to represent you, something a tax preparer or CPA cannot do. 

  • Ongoing Tax Planning: To prevent future issues, a tax attorney can aid in creating a tax plan that keeps you compliant and minimizes liabilities moving forward. 

Let us guide you through this process and help you regain control of your financial situation. 

Protect Your Rights

In conclusion, if you haven't filed your taxes in ten years, it's imperative to act now. We're here to help you every step of the way. Don't let fear and uncertainty hold you back. Reach out to us at Common Law PC today for a confidential consultation. Together, we can devise a strategic plan to alleviate your tax burdens and restore your peace of mind. We're just a call away – don't delay any longer.