Taking Control of Your Back Taxes If you haven’t paid your taxes yet. It’s still not too late to turn them in; however, there are several important steps to take to ensure that all goes well for you on your taxes.
1) Pull out and Examine your Last Tax Return
First, bring to your table a copy of your last tax return. Then, bring together W-2s and other documents that you need in order to file. If you need any tax documents to file, you can get the documents you need from the Internal Revenue Service and these documents are free. Then, you need to prepare your tax returns or seek help from an attorney or other tax professional. A professional tax preparer can help you gather and complete the tax paperwork. In addition, a professional tax preparer can give you advice and counsel on how to prepare taxes that are late.
2) Be Aware of Audits, Refunds and Debt Collection
Keep in mind that, when you prepare late tax returns, you need to follow certain time limits for audits, refunds and debt collection. It will be important to find out how long it will take to receive refund checks because, if you any money on previous tax debts, you will need to know how much your refund checks will be to pay them off.
Some reports from an IRS watchdog have indicted the federal tax agency for certain practices regarding offshore account disclosure. An arm of the IRS known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service has been responsible for reporting these kinds of voluntary disclosure policies aimed at wealthy Americans. According to the watchdog report, the IRS has failed to cap penalties in cases of this kind of disclosure.
A standard practice of the IRS has been to reduce the penalties for those who willingly disclose that they have hidden offshore bank accounts. These taxpayers have often accumulated this wealth from overseas jobs or from family inheritances. The discovered lack of penalty caps has been linked to higher-than-necessary tax payments for some American taxpayers. Some experts believe that this lack of consistency could undermine the IRS’s credibility in the future if the agency implements similar types of programs.
Prior IRS voluntary disclosure programs have netted over $4.4 billion USD in unpaid taxes from these kinds of offshore accounts over a recent two-year period. A renewal of this disclosure is expected to bring in more names of wealthy Swiss bank account clients who have avoided their obligatory tax payments.
Information from this IRS watchdog report reveals that the ordinary cash penalty is supposed to be a maximum of $10,000 for account holders who accidentally fail to report these assets. Willful withholding of information on foreign bank accounts can carry a penalty of up to 50% of the highest account balance for each covered year of tax nonpayment.