I have yet to be contacted by the IRS and, to my knowledge, they haven't taken any action. Should I just contact them directly? File the returns and wait for a response? Get a lawyer? Obviously my hope is to resolve the matter without facing criminal action. Thanks.
You should contact either an attorney or a CPA and discuss what has not been filed. An attorney will be able to assess if there is potential criminal liability. I would make no more statements on this board as to any tax liability or discuss the status of unfiled returns. I would not recommend you contact the IRS directly. If you do, it will put you on their radar. An attorney or tax professional can approach the IRS on your behalf after your position has been properly assessed.
I handle tax matters and would be happy to discuss your situation with you. Please feel free to contact me at (404) 736-9167.
This response does not create an attorney client relationship nor should the advice be relied upon because it is not specific to your legal situation. Before you depend on legal advice, you should retain competent counsel.
I recommend you definitely contact a tax attorney (or attorney-CPA), and not a CPA, so you can discuss your situation protected by the attorney - client privilege, prior to contacting the IRS or taking any other action (such as filing returns on your own). Generally, I recommend to my clients that you take steps to qualify for the voluntary compliance program, which is a bar to criminal prosecution for tax evasion, by filing a power of attorney with the IRS, obtaining IRS information of income reports for the unfiled tax years, and filing the tax returns for the unfiled years that are required to be filed (generally at least the prior 6 years), and making arrangements to pay the tax (payment plan, partial payment plan, offer in compromise, etc).
This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney with full disclosure of all facts and opportunity to consider all or alternative options.
Go see an experienced attorney right away. Gather all the relevant tax information for any un-filed years and bring that information with you. If you contact the IRS yourself, you may trigger immediate collection efforts. Work diligently and quickly to get this matter resolved.
In the future, ALWAYS file your tax returns on time. There are many reasons why this is good advise. Remember, it is not a crime to owe the IRS money. It is a crime to fail to file a return when required to do so.
I hope this helps.
Steven A. Leahy
Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.
Contact a tax attorney or CPA. At this stage, if you are proactive, you don't have too much to worry about. 9 out of 10 time these things are resolved by the IRS filing for you and don't be surprised if they have. There is no benefit to not filing, and it can lead to serious issues if they file for you and start to collect. It can be difficult to stop a levy with unfiled returns.
Criminal consequences for failure to file returns is rare. It's certainly not advisable to assume that criminal charges won't be brought, but you should first speak with an attorney before jumping to any conclusions about criminal charges. Generally speaking, the I.R.S. must prove that you willfully and intentionally evaded the payment or assessment of taxes, which requires an affirmative action; failure to file is not, by itself, an affirmative action.
Again, I would strongly suggest speaking with a tax attorney to insure that you are safe from criminal prosecution, as well as to insure that you are taking the correct steps to resolve your liability. The first thing that will need to be done (after speaking to an attorney or CPA about your situation) is to file your tax returns. The I.R.S. will not immediately seek to collect any amounts you owe, as the I.R.S. is required to send several notices regarding the amounts due and their intent to collect before any collection attempts occur.
I would suggest contacting an attorney or CPA who is familiar with the procedures and laws involved with tax debt resolution, as it is a complicated process that would take quite a bit of studying on your part in order to adequately represent yourself.
The last time I did this was with a decedent who had not filed in ten years.
After looking at the liability issue, the PR decided to file. I asked the IRS for a Transcript of record for each tax year. Then I knew what the information returns were. Based on that information, I compiled the tax returns. It was frustrating because some years he owed and some he was entitled to a refund. Refunds if not filed for timely are lost. That was painful.
The IRS just processed it and we paid what was due and that was the end of it. No audit.
In your case, I think either a good CPA or CPA/attorney could help you. How much income have you had during your non filing years? Is this a big ticket item or a smaller one? If it is a big ticket item, I would feel better if you consulted with a CPA/Attorney to help you explain why you did not file to avoid penalties which can be more than the tax amazingly.
Best to get on it sooner than later if you have possible refunds owing.
Oh, this was interesting. The IRS told me many of the transcripts had already been archived since they were 5 years old. The IRS agent said never heard of the IRS going back that far. The PR and I didn't feel like taking the risk though and filed all.
The only correct answer you should be getting from this place is: you must immediately retain a competent tax attorney who has experience with these sorts of matters. In this case you do not want to simply retain a CPA because there is no CPA-client privilege comparable to the attorney-client privilege.
If you come forward first - after having retained an attorney to represent you, who will do all of the talking and correspondence with the IRS - you will generally not face criminal action so long as you are truthful and cooperative. I can't make you any promises but, in general, the IRS does not like to prosecute people who've come forward voluntarily before they've gone looking for them; it looks bad and is usually a waste of prosecutorial resources.
Also, keep in mind that you may have state tax issues as well that will have to be dealt with.
Please, get yourself a competent tax lawyer now and get working on things immediately. It will cost you, but then again, you've had the benefit of all that tax money you haven't been paying for years.
My answer does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon by anyone for any purpose and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship or an offer to form such a relationship. This disclaimer is intended to be fully compliant with the requirements of Treasury Department Circular 230 and the terms thereof are fully incorporated by reference. If you wish to consult with me please contact me at [email protected] or visit my website at www.newyorktaxcounsel.com
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