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What Happens If You Don't Pay Your Taxes?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

You don't want to pay your taxes. Who does? Not only is it expensive, but the forms are simply confusing. But as you know, tax collection is serious business.

If you're a salaried or a contract employee, your employer likely has to file W-2 or 1099 forms with the government. The IRS examiner has access to the information on these forms. So if you don't file, you can expect that the IRS will start a collection process against you.

You'll probably get a letter.

The IRS will likely send you a collection letter first. The letter will detail how much you owe. It will also include a due date plus any interest added to the unpaid amount.

If you cooperate, you might be able to work out payment options.

Say you simply cannot pay the entire balance right off the bat. The IRS may offer you a monthly installment plan or other payment options to assist you.

You may be criminally prosecuted.

The IRS typically does not prosecute ordinary individuals who make simple tax mistakes. But, if you knowingly and fraudulently commit tax crimes, you may find yourself in court. Famous tax evaders including actor Wesley Snipes have even landed themselves in jail.

The IRS may take other actions against you.

The IRS can file a lien against your property. This means they will hold an interest in it as a creditor. The IRS may also levy assets including your wages, bank accounts, any Social Security benefits, and retirement income. They can also intercept any state or federal tax refunds you are owed.

So if you don't pay your taxes, the IRS has an entire arsenal of tax collecting tools at its disposal. If you currently owe the IRS money, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced tax attorney to help you navigate any legal issues.

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