The deadline to file your personal tax return was last Monday. You may not have filed yet and may be asking yourself, “Do I have to file?” Maybe you’ve run some numbers in your head and you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t owe this year. So, are there any valid reasons for not filing taxes?
As a licensed CPA firm, we are obligated to tell you, NO.
Let me tell you a couple fun stories. These are in fact, real stories, of real taxpayers and the only thing edited are their names.
Austin was being audited for a previous year’s tax return. Now, some of you may not know this, but if you are being audited for a previous year’s return, and the audit is still open, the new return will automatically be added to the audit.
Austin didn’t want that. He just wanted the audit done and over with as quickly as possible. He wasn’t going to hand them a second return and say, “Oh, here, you might want to take a good look at this one too.”
Austin chose not to file until after the audit was done.
Larry was involved in a legal lawsuit. He didn’t send us his documents in a very timely manner, so his return was not filed by the deadline. He just wanted to get through the lawsuit quickly and it’s possible that his return would have changed some of the discussions regarding his settlement.
Eddie the Evader
Eddie was one of our very first clients. He came to us because an IRS Auditor literally came knocking on his door. (A little side note here: always confirm the identity of a government official before giving them any personal information or letting them inside your house.)
Turns out, Eddie hadn’t filed his tax return in eight years. The IRS frown on that.
Once in a while someone might file a little late or miss a payment deadline. You might even make a mistake and end up with some penalties and fees, but theoretically, they can send you to jail. We all know the story of the infamous Al Capone, who managed to avoid prison for murder, but he couldn’t avoid the IRS and ended up serving time for tax evasion. Even if you don’t owe any money, you still have to file your income tax returns.
It may surprise you to know that we don’t like the IRS. #IRSSUCKS. They’re bullies and we have no love for them. But you do need to file your returns.
In the first two stories, the taxpayers chose to file late for their own reasons that turned out to benefit them. In the third story, we were able to help Eddie get his stuff together, file his returns, and stay out of prison.
So, are there ever valid reasons for not filing taxes? … No.
Are there strategies and options you might not be aware of that could save you thousands of dollars on taxes and perhaps have other benefits for you and your business? … Yes!
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