It may come as a surprise, but each year there are many, many Americans who simply do not file a tax return. Each person who does not file their tax return has many reasons this happens. For some, it could be because of physical or mental health issues that prevented them from filing on time. Others skip filing a return because they are in changing residences, changing jobs, or other financial upheaval. Whatever the reason may be, file your tax return. If it’s late, file. If you are sick, file. If you changed jobs, residences, romantic partners, file. And if you haven’t filed your return this year—or for the past few years—there is no reason to panic. You will want to get ahead of this issue as soon as you can. File.
For filing taxes, the United States maintains a voluntary compliance system. Note, you sign your returns under penalty of perjury. With a voluntary system of compliance, missed returns can and will arise. If you are caught not filing or paying your tax returns on time, penalties will be assessed. Interest will be charged on both taxes not fully paid by the original due date, and penalties.
If you have not filed your taxes, remedy the situation as soon as practical. The IRS will file a tax return on your behalf, which means you will owe them money as the IRS is operating on limited information. The service has the information they need regarding your income, but not the amounts you are allowed to deduct. You will get none of the deductions you would normally get when filing your own return.
For those people who neglected to file their return last year or for the last however many years, act quickly—but again, do not panic. Finding an experienced accountant or tax attorney who can guide you through your matter and help to get you into compliance is a smart, first move. Going forward keep compliance with the IRS by making regular payments. It is a simple step, and it will help avoid unnecessary headaches.