I HAVE NOT FILED MY TAXES, BUT SHOULD HAVE TAX REFUNDS WITH THE IRS, I'M I IN TROUBLE ?
I have not filed my taxes with the IRS, but should have refunds. Am I in trouble?
What if you have not filed your taxes in years, but have paid taxes to the IRS all the while? In other words, you have un-filed taxes, but probably do not owe the IRS much of anything because your employer took taxes out of your paycheck. How much trouble could you be in with the IRS?
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Here is some so-so news that can be turned into good news:
The IRS may owe you money on those unfiled returns, and they can pay it to you if you get the returns filed. And you want that money. But for the IRS to pay it to you, you need to get those returns filed. The IRS won’t pay you unless you file. Filing the returns with refunds leads to good news. If the IRS owes you, and you have not filed, they will pay you the refunds for the last three years. And they will pay you interest on those refunds. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Code prevents the IRS from paying you a refund that is more than three years old.
You may have received a bill from the IRS stating that you owe money to them for the years you did not file. This may be wrong, but the IRS can do this – estimate your liability when you don’t file, and bill you for it. The technical IRS term for it is a Substitute for Return, with the acronym SFR. When you don’t file, and the IRS files for you, they often get it all wrong. The IRS will not give you the correct filing status, the right tax rates, will usually allow no dependents, and will not give you a deduction for mortgage interest, or charitable contributions, or employee business expenses, or your business expenses if you are self-employed.
An IRS substitute return can be corrected by preparing the original returns and filing them with the IRS. In most every case, the IRS will accept the right numbers – yours – and allow you all the deductions you are entitled to. The result is the IRS changing your return from a balance due to a refund, or in the very least, to a smaller, correct amount owed.
In summary, if left to their own devices, the IRS may determine that you are owed money, and never pay it to you if you do not file your returns. Or they may incorrectly think that you owe them money, make a substitute return filing, and bill you for it. Preparing and filing past due tax returns can not only get you the refunds, but correct erroneous IRS actions in estimating your taxes.
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