Life happens! We all know that we can get busy and things get forgotten. I’ve ran into many clients over the years that chose not to file a (or several) tax returns because while they made money during the year, they didn’t have the money to pay their tax liability. I understand this happens. However, here is one example of why you shouldn’t let this happen to you.
A few weeks ago a client of mine referred me one of his clients. She is a really nice older woman. She just lost her husband and is looking to sell the house they lived in. During the title search they discover a Franchise Tax Board lien in the amount of $25,000. My client brings her in and we discover that tax returns have not been filed for several years, INCLUDING the years the liens were filed. The State did what they legally can – they filed substitute returns based on3rd party information (IRS does the exact same thing). Until you file the actual return, they can legally pursue a tax liability based upon these substitutes. The solution was pretty straight forward – file the back returns. The State corrects their information, removes the liens, the house sells and the woman gets all of her money upon the sale of the property.
The lesson to be learned is to always file your tax return. There are many options available when dealing with your tax debts. They range from installment plans, to partial pay installment plans, offer in compromise and Status 53 Currently not collectible depending upon what the situation calls for.
Be wary of the promise of paying “pennies on the dollar”. You have to fit the parameters. It doesn’t just happen.
If you or someone you know owes a lot of back taxes, give them my information. I can help them out. Past due taxes are stressful. It isn’t worth it. Have them call me and lets see what I can do to assist them.