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Good evening. Technically, you should file the past return even if you owe no taxes. I have provided you below the IRS Publication (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Help-Yourself-by-Filing-Past-Due-Tax-Returns) on filing past due returns. As you will see from the Publication, however, if you owe no taxes, there is no penalty for late or failing to file. All penalties are based on the taxes that were due. So, it's really up to you as to whether or not to file.
"What are the consequences of not filing a tax return?
Here are some things to consider:
Failure to file penalty. If you owe taxes, a delay in filing may result in a "failure to file" penalty, also known as the “late filing” penalty, and interest charges. The longer you delay, the larger these charges grow. It may result in penalty and interest charges that could increase your tax bill by 25 percent or more.
Losing your refund. There is no penalty for failure to file if you are due a refund. However, you cannot obtain a refund without filing a tax return. If you wait too long to file, you may risk losing the refund altogether. In cases where a return is not filed, the law
provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund.
EITC. Individuals who are entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit
must file their return to claim the credit even if they are not otherwise required to file. The return must be filed within three years of the due date
in order to receive the credit.
Statutes of limitation.After the expiration of the refund statute, not only does the law prevent the issuance of a refund check, it also prevents the application of any credits, including overpayments of estimated or withholding taxes
, to other tax years
that are underpaid.On the other hand, the statute of limitations for IRS to assess and collect any outstanding balances does not start until a return has been filed.In other words, there is no statute of limitations for assessing and collecting the tax if no return has been filed.
What should you do?
Regardless of your reason for not filing, file your tax return as soon as possible. You can contact a tax professional or the IRS for help with filing delinquent returns.
If you are unable to fully pay any tax due on the late returns, do not let this prevent you from filing as payment options may be available. For more details, ask your tax professional or an IRS representative.
Filing tax returns
and paying the correct amount of tax is good citizenship. Conscientiously discharging this duty contributes to our nation’s well being and provides peace of mind. And failing to file returns can jeopardize a family’s financial security and future."
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