If I can’t pay my taxes, should I file my tax return anyway?

black-40636_150Taxpayers often hold off filing their returns when they can’t afford to pay the taxes due. Even if you expect cash flow to improve in the next 30 days or so, it’s best to not delay and go ahead and file the return right away. It’s going to take several weeks for the IRS machinery to process your return and send you a tax due notice anyway.  In the meantime, filing saves you the possibility of being criminally charged, or more likely, from being hit with a fine for failing to file, or a penalty for late filing.

Eventually, filing without paying will bring an assessment letter. And if the tax remains unpaid for an extended period of time, IRS collection activity will ensue. But an IRS collector will be friendlier if your return has been filed and he/she doesn’t have to hunt you down.

Bottom line, the sooner you file, the better.  Not filing won’t make a potential IRS problem disappear. Man up, file the return!

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