Delinquent Tax Return Filings


Have you been experiencing mounting stress from overdue tax return filings? Are you becoming more concerned as time passes? The good news is, your delinquent IRS tax return filing anxieties can be alleviated with help from Alleviate Tax.

The bottom line is, the sooner you file, the less you’ll pay the IRS. Delinquent IRS tax returns result in huge fines and penalty charges, snowballing your tax debt to unmanageable amounts. 

Alleviate Tax can help you navigate the process of getting current on your delinquent IRS return filings so you can move on and start building a better tomorrow.

When our clients first approach us, there’s a handful of commonly asked questions regarding delinquent IRS tax returns. Let’s go over some of them to understand better what impact delinquent returns can have on your financial circumstances.


There are numerous possibilities for reducing your tax liability if you’re unable to pay your entire tax bill. If you can make a strong enough case for your inability to pay your tax obligation in-full, the IRS will consider your income, assets, and future financial prospects to determine whether or not you are eligible for reductions in penalties, fees, and interest, and sometimes even the original tax liability. The IRS uses this information to calculate what repayment method is required–either an installment payment plan or a lump-sum payment–in return for drastic tax liability reductions.

Some options for reducing your tax liability might include:

  • Offer-in-Compromise
  • Penalty Abatement
  • Non-Collectible Status & Statute of Limitations Expiration

Generally, the IRS has a limit of ten years to collect back taxes, known as the “ten-year statute of limitations.” The start of the ten years is the date the taxes were assessed. Mostly, the IRS can’t continue collection efforts after the ten-year statute of limitations.

Have you moved a lot or haven’t received mail for some reason and don’t know if the IRS has sent delinquent tax notices to you? You’re able to check if you owe the IRS and if your taxes are delinquent by accessing your federal tax account on the IRS’s website at IRS.gov/account. There, you can find any amounts owed, balance details, payment history, and view transcript notes on your account.

In most cases, the IRS won’t put you in jail for owing back taxes. Actually, “back taxes” is fairly common. 2018 data shows that 14 million Americans owed back taxes totaling an astounding $131 billion! The IRS certainly didn’t throw 14 million Americans in jail that year.

But let’s be clear, there are some important distinctions about what constitutes “back taxes.” 

You could simply be behind on paying for your quarterly tax filings and would technically owe “back tax.” But the IRS doesn’t pursue legal action on these sorts of cases. The IRS only takes legal action against blatant tax fraud cases and must prove guilt through an extensive auditing process.

The IRS has to prove you intentionally tried to avoid paying taxes you knew were fairly your responsibility. Examples could include claiming non-existent dependents or deductions that aren’t yours to claim. Double-claiming children by divorced parents is another common way people try to defraud the IRS.

You should file any delinquent IRS tax returns for numerous financially beneficial reasons as soon as you can. One of the main reasons is that if the IRS identifies you have an unfiled prior year return, they can seize your tax refund and hold it until you file your return. If you need help filing past-due tax returns, Alleviate Tax has delinquent tax specialists ready to assist you.

Delinquent IRS tax returns filed up to three years past the return due date are still eligible for refunds.

Technically, you’re allowed to file back taxes at any time with the IRS. That said, filing over six years past the due date can cause serious problems with the IRS, so avoid waiting that long.

If you attempt to simply ignore the IRS and not file your tax returns, the IRS may file one for you called a “substitute for return” or “SFR.” The biggest downside to this is that only your income is accounted for––no deductions or credits, plus there is a penalty for filing late.

The good news is that you can file your tax return after the IRS files an SFR. You’ll have to send them to a specific place, though, and you’ll need to request a collection hold on your account to allow processing time. Alleviate Tax has SFR experts on staff who can help you file a more fair return.

The Fresh Start Program benefits are far-reaching, so the most important first step to getting tax resolution help is getting any delinquent tax returns filed immediately. The number one thing that will get you into a better position with the IRS is having all of your tax returns filed. 

If you’re struggling to figure out how to file your delinquent tax returns, Alleviate Tax is here to help! This is the most important yet easiest step to take, so contact one of our tax specialists and start getting your taxes back on track today!

If you are unable to pay your tax bill, the good news is the IRS is usually willing to work with you as long as you can prove your financial inability to pay the amount in-full. After all, they’d rather get something versus nothing, and the best way for that to happen is if they find common ground that’s financially feasible for you.If the IRS is threatening to levy and seize your assets, Alleviate Tax may be able to stop the process by negotiating to get an installment plan approved and get you back in compliance with the IRS.Some taxpayers exhibit incredibly dire circumstances that may make it impossible to pay off their tax debt entirely. In these situations, Alleviate Tax can help determine the maximum relief available, which sometimes includes settling for a fraction of the demanded amount.

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