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Unfiled Tax Returns

Baltimore Tax Attorneys providing back taxes help to residents of Maryland, Washington DC & neighboring areas.

Unfiled tax returns can equal serious trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if not handled properly and in a timely fashion. Each year, an estimated 10 million taxpayers fail to file their federal income tax returns, whether due to a misunderstanding of tax compliance regulations, simple procrastination, or willful objection in an attempt to evade tax liability. Whatever their motivation or excuse for not filing a tax return, these individuals are labeled as "non-filers" by the IRS, which has bolstered enforcement strategies to identify and pursue non-compliant taxpayers.

Worried about substantial back taxes and fees, some taxpayers may try to ignore reminder letters in the hopes that their tax problems with fade away. The good news is that in the majority of instances involving unfiled tax returns, the IRS rarely follows through with criminal prosecution.  Non-filers can, in most cases, resolve their tax issues through voluntary compliance with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Baltimore tax attorneys Rosenberg Martin Greenberg are highly trained professionals who know how to resolve matters of unfiled returns and offer help filing back taxes to those who need it.

If legal counsel is not obtained for unfiled tax return help, non-compliant taxpayers may face grim consequences, including criminal charges. Ultimately, the prompt and voluntary disclosure of unreported tax liability is the most important factor when the IRS decides whether to pursue criminal prosecution.

Reasons for Unfiled Tax Returns

A non-filer is a person who does not file their tax return before the deadline imposed by the IRS. Some may think the probability of being discovered and audited is slim, while others may feel trapped into non-filing status owing to a history of poor decisions. In general, there are three main categories of people who fail to file their tax returns:

  • Uncooperative Non-Filers – Those who respond to correspondence regarding unfiled tax returns but indicate they will not cooperate or become tax compliant.
  • Procrastinators– Individuals who know they should file their annual tax returns, but need further assistance or reminders. They are usually compliant but tax information is often submitted slowly or late, and in a piecemeal format.
  • Tax Protestors – People who refuse to file their tax returns based on purported constitutional reasons.

Identifying Non-Filers

Equipped with advanced technology and state-of-the-art computer systems, the IRS has ramped up its budget and means for successfully identifying taxpayers who fail to file their returns on a regular basis. Now considered one of the agency’s top priorities, non-compliant taxpayers can be tracked down via sophisticated programs specifically designed to analyze records, locate discrepancies and help the IRS pursue those with a history of unfiled federal tax returns. Despite your reasons, if you have not been filing tax returns and have yet to be caught by the IRS, time is of the essence.

Failure to come forward and comply now will nearly guarantee an IRS investigation at some point in the future. Working with an experienced team of tax professionals will ensure that your compliance is both timely and accurate.

Potential Consequences for Non-Filers

Failure to file income tax returns may lead to a substitute-for-return (SFR) that is prepared by the IRS using limited information. This is typically done if they have a record of earned income for a taxpayer, but no return has been filed within two years.  An SFR will detail all of your income but will fail to list all of your deductions, meaning you will likely owe more money than you really need to pay.

If the IRS contacts a non-filer, the examiner will assess the reason for unfiled tax returns and may provide assistance to help ensure full compliance and cooperation. In situations where the non-filer lacks the resources to pay or is misguided in some way, the examiner may offer aid with payment arrangements or even preparation of the return. However, if the non-filer refuses to cooperate with the IRS after being contacted, the agency will gather data on the person’s exact income and if acts of tax evasion are discovered, a criminal investigation may be measured.

Under federal law, the willful failure to file a tax return is a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of one year in prison for each tax year. On the other hand, tax evasion is considered a felony and has a maximum sentence of five years in jail for each tax year. It’s not worth risking criminal tax prosecution when voluntary compliance with your tax returns with legal assistance can resolve these issues.

Rosenberg Martin Greenberg are tax lawyers in Maryland who can help area residents avoid disastrous consequences of unfiled returns and get back on track. By showing "reasonable causes" for unfiled returns, our team makes every effort to win penalty abatement and seek alternate forms of relief.

IRS Non-Filer Program

To combat the millions of unfiled and delinquent tax returns discovered each year, the IRS has created a task force comprised of tax auditors, revenue officers and criminal investigators. Since 2004, the agency has been utilizing a national Non-Filer Program to identify non-compliant taxpayers and devise techniques to promote their compliance.  As part of their efforts, the IRS relies on an Information Reporting System (IRP) that singles out individuals who have failed to file their tax returns, or underreported their income. This computer matching system is at the center of IRS efforts to locate and pursue non-filers.

Scanning information from submitted W-2s and 1099s, the system reviews data reported by taxpayers to discover non-filers. If an individual has filed tax returns in the previous years but fails to file their return for the next tax period, they are referred to as a "stop filer.”  After the IRS discovers a stop-filer or an individual with several years of unfiled tax returns, the agency will initiate a series of communications asking that delinquent returns be filed right away.

Legal Solutions for Tax Problems

Both state and federal laws afford limited confidentiality privileges concerning unfiled tax communications between clients and their accountants. However, the attorney-client privilege protects individuals who are under criminal tax investigations by state or federal authorities. Frequently, this confidentiality privilege plays a crucial role when representing a non-compliant taxpayer with a history of unfiled tax returns or back taxes.

If you’re in the midst of financial crisis and need unfiled tax return help, contact the law offices of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP to discuss your options. Representing clients in the Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C. metro areas, our seasoned team of professionals will outline solutions to resolve your tax problems so you can get on the road to economic recovery.  For a complimentary consultation, please call Brian Crepeau at 410.649.4981 or email bcrepeau@rosenbergmartin.com.

Related "Unfiled Tax Returns" Articles

  1. Why is the Comptroller suspending the processing of some tax returns in Maryland?
  2. Franchot Suspends Processing E-Filed Returns from Maryland Tax Preparers
  3. I owe more than $50,000 in tax, penalties and interest to the IRS. Can I lose my passport because of that?
  4. Facts About Resolving Unfiled Tax Returns

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If you are seeking counsel for a tax related legal matter, contact the Rosenberg Martin Greenberg Tax Controversy experts.

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