THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL
I file my taxes as soon as I can. Or should I say my tax accountant does. Even thinking about doing my own tax return is paralyzing. I don't add or subtract well. Numbers are not my game.
If you owe money to the government, make sure you send them a check as soon as you can. Or call the IRS and find out the rules about filing an extension and what percentage of the money you owe that you need to send them now.
The reason I mention this is that for many years I never got around to filing my taxes. My excuse was, “I can't owe them any money. I didn't make that much. They could keep the piddly amount they might owe me."
Every time April 15th came around, I cheerfully ignored it. After a few years, I figured I was off the federal radar and off the federal grid. Life would be a breeze. The IRS didn't know I existed.
Except they did. They knew where I lived even though I'd moved. They knew how much money I'd made and more importantly, how much money I owed. That’s right. I owed the government money. A lot of money.
Of course I freaked out. I owed the government three thousand dollars. But because I hadn't filed taxes since the dinosaurs died, the interest on what I owed had jacked up my tab to ten thousand dollars.
I called the number printed on the notice. I talked to an anonymous IRS agent. I figured that by responding to their demands in a timely manner, they'd cut me some slack and knock off those interest charges.
They didn't. The agent on the other end of the call said I owed it all. All ten thousand. Failure to send them a check immediately would result in legal action
After pleading for my financial life to a cabal of supervisors, I managed to get my own case manager who made a deal with me and told me I could pay off my tax debt by making monthly payments. Although these payments took a huge chunk out of every paycheck, it was easier to do that than coming up with ten thousand dollars. I think I had sixty or seventy bucks in my checking account at the time and no savings.
If you think you've dodged the bullet by not filing your taxes, think again. The interest accruing on the money you owe can be devastating. And no, they don't lop off that interest charge just because you salute the flag. You pay every penny of it until your debt is satisfied. You also seal a deal with the IRS that you'll never fail to file taxes again. Ever. As long as you live.
That’s why I do my taxes as soon as I get my W-2. This year I owe the government money. The check is already in the mail.