When I counsel people dealing with IRS problems, I usually end up asking the one big nagging question ....."Why did you wait so long to do something about this?" Here's the usual reply: "I thought I would end up going to jail."
Let's go ahead and get something straight about the IRS and prison time...
"If You've Accurately Filed Your Taxes You Cannot Get Sent to Jail" If you've accurately filed your taxes, but you just haven't paid them, you cannot get sent to jail. Owing the IRS money is not considered a crime.
However...Don't be in a hurry to celebrate....By not taking action and facing your IRS debt problem, you could face any or all of the following severe consequences:
- Wage garnishment
- Seizure of your real estate
- Seizure of Social Security benefits
- Seizure of 401(k)'s, IRA's
- Seizure of Cars/Boats/Houses
- Seizure of Accounts Receivable
- Seizure of Cash Loan Value of Your Life Insurance
- Seizure of Commissions Owed to You.
If you've filed your taxes accurately, but you just can't pay them...there is hope for you. There are six different ways available to pay your debt to the IRS and avoid the particularly nasty consequences mentioned above.
"You Can Go to Jail if You Haven't Filed Your Taxes > OR < If You've Filed Your Taxes Inaccurately" Not filing your taxes is considered a crime by the IRS. You can receive one year of prison time for each year that you don't file. Procrastinating only makes your chances of doing jail time that much worse.
The IRS doesn't take kindly to those it has to "chase down". ...And they will eventually chase you down, trust me. It doesn't matter if it's been a few years and it seems like you've somehow "slipped through the cracks". You haven't.
Don't believe that you can somehow get off "footloose & fancy-free" if you haven't filed your taxes. Slipping through the cracks just doesn't happen.
However, the more willing you are to face up to your problem and seek a solution, the more likely it is that the IRS won't even threaten prosecution.
Why go through life being paranoid, looking over your shoulder, wondering when the IRS is going to jump out from the bushes and finally "call in your chips?"
Life's too short to live this way. Even if it's been years since you've filed, you can get the IRS "monkey" off your back, once and for all... even if you feel your situation is hopeless.
However, in this situation, it's a very bad idea to go it alone without legal help. Chances are good if you waltz into an IRS office and try to work out a 'deal', you'll say something that you may regret later.