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FAQs - Nonfiling of Tax Returns

© by Robert G. Nath, Esq.

  1. What are the penalties for not filing a federal income tax return?

    The criminal penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a $25,000 fine for each year of nonfiling plus costs of prosecution. Sometimes the IRS will punish multiple nonfiling years as a felony (tax evasion), punishable by 5 years in jail and a $100,000 fine (plus prosecution costs) for each year. Each unfiled year is a separate count in a criminal case. The statute of limitations for indictment is six years from the due date of each unfiled return.

    The most common civil penalties for nonfiling are: (1) late-filing penalty, late payment penalty, and estimated tax penalty, or (2) civil fraud penalty. There is no statute of limitations for these civil penalties if you failed to file a return.
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  3. I have heard of people who go 10 years or more, and the IRS never catches up with them. How can that happen?

    Sometimes that can in fact occur, and other times it’s more “hype” than truth. Yes, there are cases of such flagrant abuse, but more often than not the IRS will catch up with nonfilers, and of course, the longer the non-filing, typically the worse off you are.

Articles by Robert G. Nath On-Line:

FAQs on IRS Procedures

Tips on IRS Procedures - 2006

Robert G. Nath has focused on IRS matters for over 30 years. He holds degrees from Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. After clerking for a federal judge, Mr. Nath litigated tax cases for 8 years with the Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Since 1984, he has been in private practice, representing individuals, entities, accountants and attorneys before the IRS and in court in tax collection, audit and tax litigation matters. Mr. Nath's book, "The Unofficial Guide to Dealing with the IRS" (Macmillan), was first published in 1997. He has been quoted in national media on tax procedure matters and has also appeared on radio and television programs. He has been an editor of professional journals and his articles have appeared in law reviews and other legal periodicals. Mr. Nath is a former U.S. Army Reserve Green Beret officer.
Note: Mr. Naths cases normally involved total tax liabilities of $100,000 or more.
Click here to contact Robert G. Nath.

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