I regularly see clients who have not filed returns because they have some issue with the IRS.
They either have taxes that will be owed with the unfiled return, or taxes owed from earlier periods.
They think they are avoiding trouble by not filing.
It seems that it takes weeks, or even months for returns to get entered in the system.
I have seen no evidence that collection action is triggered by filing a return even with a balance due.
Tax penalties coming and going
The IRS levies two separate penalties for non filers: a penalty for not filing the return and a separate penalty for not paying the tax.
Perhaps you can’t pay all you owe with the return, but why incur an avoidable penalty for not filing a timely return?
Tax penalties are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 until they are more than three years old. Contain the damage: file on time.
Further thoughts on why filing taxes sooner is better than later
Image courtesy of Johnarobb.