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Breathing room when you are drowning in back taxes

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | IRS Issues

As challenging and unpredictable as the last year has been, one thing is certain: the IRS still expects you to file your tax returns. While the government has offered certain leniencies, such as extending the deadline, by now, that deadline has passed. If you still have not filed your returns, you have good reason to be feeling nervous about what may happen. 

Many in Georgia and across the country wrongly believe that, if they cannot afford to pay their tax bill, they should not file their taxes. This mistake ends up costing them hundreds of dollars or more in penalties. Fortunately, there are options available if you owe the government back taxes. 

What lies ahead? 

Whether you have missed the deadline for this past year’s taxes returns or you have several years of back taxes to file, at some point, it is going to catch up with you. Not only will the government charge you a penalty for every month that you do not file your taxes, but you may also incur additional fees for your late tax payment. As if that is not enough, you may also have to deal with any of the following repercussions: 

  • You will receive no tax refunds for future returns until you pay your debt. 
  • You will receive no credits toward Social Security or other benefits. 
  • You may be unable to obtain federal loans, including educational assistance or a mortgage. 
  • You may be subject to levies and other collection efforts, such as wage garnishment or liens on your property. 
  • You may face criminal charges if the IRS believes you intentionally evaded your tax obligation. 

On the other hand, you may qualify for one of the programs the IRS offers to assist those who are struggling to pay the back taxes they owe. You may qualify for an offer in compromise, in which you propose a lower amount to satisfy your debt. The IRS also accepts applications for those who seek relief from penalties or collection actions. You may be able to reach an agreement with the IRS to pay your debt in installments. 

While these offers are available, they are not always easy to obtain, and the IRS system can be difficult to navigate for someone who has little experience with the workings of the agency. Nevertheless, it is not wise to postpone seeking the help and relief you need for your back taxes. Finding that relief becomes more difficult once the IRS sets its consequences in motion.