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Back Taxes

Back Taxes

IRS Collections Tax Levies Installment Agreements Back Taxes

Important Things to Know About Back Taxes

For various reasons, you may not have filed your federal income tax return for this year or previous years. You may not have known whether you were required to file. You may not have filed because you owe additional tax that you cannot afford to pay in full. You may not have filed because you expect a refund and just have not taken the time to complete the return.  If you have a “back tax” liability, it must be resolved in order to stop IRS collection actions.

Regardless of your reason for not filing or how your “back taxes” have been generated, file your tax return as soon as possible.  Voluntary filing will eliminate any criminal charge. If your return was not filed by the due date (including extensions), you may be subject to the failure to file and failure to pay penalties.  Penalties and interest are part of your “back taxes.”  However, if you filed on time but did not pay in full, you will be subject only to the failure to pay penalty. Interest is charged on taxes not paid by the due date, even if you have an extension of time to file. Interest is also charged on penalties.

For emergency assistance in dealing with the IRS for back taxes, call 703 425-1400 or e-mail us at ab@irstaxattorney.com.

Ask the IRS for a copy of your tax transcript.The Transcript will identify all of the income reported to the IRS on your W-2 and Form 1099 Information Returns.  The transcript will identify the source of your “back taxes.”  Make sure your tax return includes that income.  The transcript will also identify years for which the IRS did not receive a filed tax return.

Get information from IRS Publications and Forms. The IRS Publications have a great deal of information that you can use to resolve your “back tax” issues.  This link will also give you the tax forms you need to deal with your back tax problems.

Gather All Your Tax Documents

Gather your W-2s sand Forms 1099.  Gather your bank statements to identify deposits that represent income.  Gather all documentation for deductions and business expenses.  It is important to document your income and deductible amounts.

Prepare the Tax Returns or Hire a Tax Professional

If you are going to prepare your tax returns yourself, be sure to use a reliable and easy-to-use software program.   You can save time by preparing and filing your own tax returns. 

Alvin Brown & Associates provides advice on how to handle incomplete tax documentation and provide professional advice on income, expenses, deductions, and documentation.

Either way, you'll be doing plenty of work yourself, such as tracking down missing information.   

Protect Your Tax Refunds

Late filers are likely to have tax refunds. You can track your refunds at


In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund.  If no return is filed to claim the refund within the three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury.  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. 

You won't know if you are getting a tax refund or owe the IRS until you or your tax professional have prepared your tax returns.  Professional assistance can be received for federal and state tax returns at 703 425-1400 or by e-mail at ab@irstaxattorney.com.

Pay off Your Tax

You  need to plan on how to protect yourself from an IRS investigation, assessment, levy, or lien.   The IRS is not a friendly creditor, you do not want them to levy your salary or bank accounts.

Installment Agreement If  You Cannot Afford to Pay Your Tax Debt

There is very strong Congressional tax policy encouraging the IRS to accept payments in Installments.  However, an Installment Agreement will not prevent the IRS from filing a lien against you in the public records.   We can help you negotiate an Installment Agreement.

Offer in Compromise

If you cannot afford to pay your tax debts and cannot afford to make payments on installments, you may qualify for an Offer in Compromise.  Call Alvin Brown & Associates at 703-425-1400 for a free consultation on whether you qualify for an Offer in Compromise.  An Offer in Compromise is effective in settling your “back tax”  debt.

Hand deliver your tax return.

The IRS loses tax returns and is slow to get the returns into their data base.  Get  the IRS to stamp “received” on a copy of your the tax returns so that you can always prove that the tax returns have been filed.   IRS local offices can be found in the following link:  http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/

The Statute of Limitations on Collections is the amount of time that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has to collect a back tax liability from a taxpayer.  According to the Internal Revenue Code, Section 6502, the IRS generally must collect the back taxes “within 10 years after the assessment of the tax debt.” Depending on the taxpayer, the assessment of tax may be the date a taxpayer files a tax return with a balance owing back taxes.  The statute of limitations will begin once the tax has been “assessed” by the IRS.