Back Taxes

Back taxes is a term for taxes that were not completely paid when due, resulting in tax debt.

Typically, these are taxes that are owed from a prior year.

In the United States, unpaid taxes can be owed at federal, state and/or local government levels and therefore are assessed by them.

Paying the full amount of tax debt as soon as possible is always the least expensive option for the taxpayer because of penalties and interest accumulation.

In 2016 the Internal Revenue Service began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts.

The new program authorized designated contractors to collect, on the government's behalf, outstanding inactive tax receivables.

One may be assessed back taxes for one of the following three reasons: Filling a return without completely paying all taxes when they are due This is the most common reason behind back tax emergence.

In this case the person that failed to pay taxes by the deadline is not only obligated to pay the original tax, but in addition will be charged a "Failure to pay" penalty.

Failing to report all income In this case it may even be so that the person filled his tax returns and even paid the taxes.

Failing to declare all income will arise back taxes.

The IRS gets information from third parties such as banks, businesses, meaning they have an accurate picture about peoples incomes.

If the IRS notices a discrepancy between a persons report and the records they send a Proposed Tax Change Notice.

A person may either dispute the taxes owed or simply make arrangements to pay the proposed sum.

Neglecting to file a tax return all together When failing to file a tax return the IRS will do so for you.

Based on various records and W-2 forms from employers they accurately assess tax returns.

IRS filled tax returns give the fewest tax deductions and credits possible.

Unpaid taxes on these replacement returns give arise to back taxes.

The reason behind not paying taxes may be of two types: Unintentional or Intentional Depending on the circumstances, the government will implement a certain strategy on how to deal with back taxes.

Governments strategies may vary from the rigorous option of pressing charges or simply demanding that you pay immediately to offering a voluntary disclosure program which allows a broad variety of payment methods and helps avoid criminal charges.

If an individual or a business refuses to pay back taxes, tax liens are the last resort to force repayment.

A tax lien is a legal claim by a government entity against a non-compliant taxpayer's assets.

To get rid of a lien, the taxpayer must pay what he or she owes, get the debt dismissed in bankruptcy court or reach an offer in compromise with the tax authorities.

Federal and state governments may place tax liens for unpaid federal or state income taxes, while local governments may place tax liens for unpaid local income or property taxes.

If the taxes remain unpaid, the tax authority can then use a tax levy to legally seize the taxpayer's assets in order to collect the money it is owed.

Tax liens are publicly recorded and may be reported to credit agencies.

These two features of tax liens effectively prevent the sale or refinancing of assets to which liens have been attached, and prevent the delinquent taxpayer from borrowing money.

The consequences for not paying one's back taxes differ.

IRS may send written notices regarding back taxes and usually expect a response in 30-60 days.

The minimum penalty fee is $135. Also, one has to pay interest on the unpaid taxes.

The interest rate is usually determined by the federal short-term rate.

IRS can summon taxpayers, which is a legal requirement for the taxpayer to visit an IRS officer and bring appropriate records and documents.

A third party with relevant information about the case, such as a record keeper from a financial institution, can also be summoned by the IRS. If one has a right to tax refunds, the IRS will not hand the refund to the taxpayer until he or she has repaid the back taxes.

Other, more severe consequences are losing ground on one's credit report, having one's property seized, to declare bankruptcy and to serve jail time.