irs tax questions preparation

I haven't filed my tax returns

For various reasons, you may not have filed your federal income tax return for this year or previous years. You may not have known whether you were required to file. You may not have filed because you owe additional tax that you cannot afford to pay in full. You may not have filed because you expect a refund and just have not taken the time to complete the return.

Regardless of your reason for not filing, you should file your tax return as soon as possible. If you cannot pay all of the tax due on your return, you may be able to arrange payments, an Offer in Compromise, or "Currently Not Collectible" status, depending on your situation.

Failure to file your return on or before the due date may result in penalties and interest. However, if you filed on time but did not pay in full, you will be subject only to the failure to pay penalty. Interest is charged on taxes not paid by the due date, even if you have an extension of time to file. Interest is also charged on penalties.

You may be surprised to learn that filing your tax returns can be the quickest way out of tax trouble. Gather your tax documents. If you are missing some you can contact the IRS for assistance

Prepare the tax returns or hire a tax professional. Good reasons to hire a tax professional, if you need advice on how to handle incomplete tax documentation, or an advocate who will negotiate with the IRS on your behalf.

  • You should create a plan for how you will pay off your tax debts. You may need to consider an Offer in Compromise (OIC). You also need to plan on how to protect yourself from an IRS investigation, assessment, levy, or lien. It requires patience, good judgment, the ability to talk courteously with the IRS, and the advice of a competent, experienced tax professional. See Enrolled Agent
  • For questions, contact a tax professional or find your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center
  • File your taxes as soon as possible.
  • Late tax returns must be filed on paper, and mailed or walked into your local IRS Service Center. They can not be filed electronically.
  • Mail your tax returns in separate envelopes, and send them by Certified Mail. You will have proof each return was received by the IRS. Mailing them in separate envelopes will help prevent the IRS from making any clerical errors in processing your returns.
  • Walk your tax returns into a local IRS Office where they will be reviewed and time and date stamped.  Find your local IRS office at IRS. Gov.
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