The Dangers of Not Filing Your Taxes

3 Minute Read

We all sweat a bit at tax time, no matter how confident we are in our record keeping. The stakes are high, and one little miscalculation can bring a world of trouble. Sometimes, fear and embarrassment can prevent us from filing a return at all! That’s what happened to Sheri Lawrence.

“I had always completed my returns faithfully. Then, because of some difficult things I was going through, I fell behind filing for three years,” she explained.

“I was supposed to be a responsible adult!” Sheri continued. “By the time I faced it, I was so afraid—the tension just kept getting worse.”

Sheri had good reason to worry. Failure to file a tax return is a crime punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and one year in prison for each year you don’t file. While jail time is rare, you’ll pay in other ways:

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  • Penalties – If you owe taxes, you’ll be hit with a “failure to file” penalty and interest on the amount owed, adding as much as 25% to your tax bill.
  • Loss of Refund – If you’re due a refund, you won’t be penalized, but you won’t be able to collect your refund, either. However, you do have three years to file a return and receive your refund.

The IRS may file a return for you. It won’t include any additional exemptions or deductions, so you’ll get a bill, including penalties and interest, that won’t represent your true tax liability.

Sheri knew she needed help catching up, but she had previously been burned by her CPA.

“My CPA left the company, and I was dropped,” she said. “I had signed over power of attorney to them to handle this for me, and they didn’t.”

She wanted a professional she could trust, so she went to daveramsey.com.

“I had listened to Dave (on the radio),” Sheri said. “Anyone he would endorse would bring that trust level I needed.”

Sheri met with Darrel Ingram, a tax services Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) in her area.

“After meeting with them for 10 minutes, I knew they would be there to guide me through the whole thing,” she said.

“They told me my situation was not that bad, that I was not the only one, and no matter the situation, there was a fix,” she added.

That was great advice. The IRS says if you haven’t filed, do so as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay all you owe. Pay as much as you can as soon as you can to minimize charges.

So what’s Sheri’s situation now?

“The experience has been such a blessing,” she said. “The process is moving—letters have been sent to the IRS, back taxes are getting paid. It’s a great feeling.”

She continued, “If anyone’s considering using an ELP, you can feel confident that it really works. These people are what they say they are!”

Need help with your taxes?

You don’t have to be in a situation like Sheri’s to benefit from the help of a tax services ELP. Dave’s team can find a tax professional with the heart of a teacher in your area today.

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