According to the IRS, approximately ten million Americans pay some sort of tax penalty every year. But while you may still owe money, there may be available options.
What you will wish to do is to find a way to pay back tax debt without incurring such penalties to begin with. To do so, it is important to take prompt action and not ignore your situation.
What actions can you take?
Regardless of your ability to pay, it is important that you do file your returns. The most you will accomplish by failing to pay your taxes is to incur monthly fees that will make your circumstances worse.
Also remember that putting off filing your returns could mean you will eventually face criminal charges. The IRS wants you to at least acknowledge that you made income. Filing your returns will suggest to them that you are dealing with your circumstances.
It is often possible to file for an extension. But even by filing for an extension, paying as much as you can of your estimated taxes could lessen the penalties and interest that you pay.
Consider the payment plan options that are available for you.
Payment options may be available for those unable to make their payments within 120 days. A payment plan may make your tax obligations more manageable.
Some possible options include: (1) Putting in place an installment agreement with the IRS; (2) demonstrate a need for a delay payment plan due to your inability to pay for basic necessities; or (3) attempt to settle your tax debt for less than owed through an offer in compromise.
One problem with an installment agreement is that penalties and interest may continue while you are making your payments. And if you delay payment, you will still owe the IRS money and that tax debt will not go away.
Instituting an offer in compromise allows for a certain amount of tax relief. However, it is not a given that you will qualify for such tax relief. The IRS will wish for you to prove that you face some sort of financial hardship by payment of the entire tax debt.
Having a knowledgeable tax attorney review your options with you before contacting the IRS can prove extremely useful. That way you can understand the ramifications of each particular option before committing to any particular one.