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Q: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: xray88-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 17 Apr 2005 18:22 PDT
Expires: 17 May 2005 18:22 PDT
Question ID: 510612
I realize that if you make a certain amount of money you are required
to file a return if if the IRS owes you money, but I would like to
know if there could be a penalty for not filing taxes in that
situation and if so, what that penalty is.

Clarification of Question by xray88-ga on 17 Apr 2005 18:37 PDT
That should be "even if the IRS owes you money" not "if if".
Answer  
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 19 Apr 2005 11:38 PDT
 
Hello xray88,

As noted in the disclaimer below, answers provided on Google Answers
are general information, and are not intended to substitute for
informed professional tax, legal, accounting, or other professional
advice.  If you need professional advice, you should contact a
licensed legal or tax professional.

As best I can tell, here is the relevant statement by the IRS:

"Return over 60 days late.   If you file your return more than 60 days
after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the
smaller of $100 or 100% of the unpaid tax.

Exception.   You will not have to pay the penalty if you show that you
failed to file on time because of reasonable cause and not because of
willful neglect. "

Other civil penalties indicated in this section are based on the
amount of unpaid tax.

"Publication 17 (2004), Your Federal Income Tax: 1. Filing Information
-- Penalties"
IRS.gov [Internal Revenue Service]
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch01.html#d0e8362

See also:

"Frequently Asked Tax Questions And Answers -- Keyword: Penalty for Underpayment
1.5 IRS Procedures: Collection Procedural Questions -- What kind of
penalties and interest will I be charged for paying and filing my
taxes late?"
IRS.gov
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html

The apparent possibilities for criminal penalties -- under Title 26
USC  7203 -- are indicated in the first of the following documents,
and described further in the second:

"Related Statutes and Penalties - General Tax Fraud"
IRS.gov
http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106790,00.html

"Part 9. Criminal Investigation -- Chapter 1. Criminal Investigation
Mission and Strategies -- Section 3. Criminal Statutory Provisions and
Common Law" [browse by finding in page: 7203]
IRS.gov
http://www.irs.gov/irm/part9/ch01s03.html

- justaskscott


Searched IRS site for various combinations of:

penalties
penalty
file
filing
"willful failure to file"

Browsed potentially relevant results on IRS site and links from them.

Searched Google for:

"willful failure to file"
Comments  
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: bozo99-ga on 18 Apr 2005 14:54 PDT
 
In the UK if you are sent a tax return you must use it on time
regardless of the numbers.

They also like to send you an iomcomplete form - i.e just the basic
tax return without the sheets needed for employees (when they know you
are an employee).  This means that people who leave it near last
minute and find thay haven't got all the forms thay need can be fined
100 (and more if they also owe tax).
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: aetheist_conspiracy-ga on 19 Apr 2005 10:49 PDT
 
The short answer is that you don't "have to" file a return.  Here's
the IRS webpage that answers that question.  They say that you "need
to" but don't have to if you are owed money, which is kinda strange
wording, but I guess they mean that you "need to" to get a refund.

http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html


AC
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: markj-ga on 19 Apr 2005 11:54 PDT
 
To correct the record:

The IRS document linked by atheist_conspiracy provides that a tax
return must be filed by any person with a gross income of more than
$7950.  Click "no" at the bottom of the linked page and each
succeeding page until the one where you are asked whether you had
gross income of at least $7950.  Click "no" on that page, and you will
be told that you need not file a return. But back up and click "yes,"
and you will be told that you must file.
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: aetheist_conspiracy-ga on 20 Apr 2005 10:30 PDT
 
markj,

No page says that you "must" file.  Only that you "need to" file. 
Please read my answers carefully before correcting the record.


AC
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: markj-ga on 20 Apr 2005 11:20 PDT
 
AC --

Thanks for the opportunity for me to clarify my comment, which is
incomplete, although correct as far as it goes.


"Topic 351 - Who Must File?

"Whether you have to file a tax return for 2004, depends, in part, on
your filing status, age, and gross income. You will [find here] the
filing status, age, and amount of gross income that would require you
to file.

"Single, under 65, and your gross income was at least $7,950. 

"Single, 65 or older, and your gross income was at least $9,150. 

"Married, filing a joint return, you and your spouse were both under
65, and your gross income was at least $15,900.

"Married, filing a joint return, one spouse is 65 or older, and your
gross income was at least $16,850.

"Married, filing a joint return, both you and your spouse were 65 or
older, and your gross income was at least $17,800.

"Married, filing a separate return, and your gross income was at least
$3,100, regardless of your age.

"Head of household, under 65, and your gross income was at least $10,250. 

"Head of household, 65 or older, and your gross income was at least $11,450. 

"Qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child, you were under
65, and your gross income was at least $12,800.

"Qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child, you were 65 or
older, and your gross income was at least $13,750."


http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc351.html
Subject: Re: Any penalty for not filing taxes when you don't owe
From: circa-ga on 27 Apr 2005 13:13 PDT
 
Interesting.

I too read the data....and all the forms say "must" file if you meet
the requirements; i.e. age, income level etc.  Single under 65, income
 of $7950, YOU MUST FILE.

And the penalty sectons state the late filing penalty is USUALLY.......

markj-ga....you are "right-on".....When in doubt .....read the directions!

In a practical situation, it is feasible that the IRS is going to do
nothing if you are owed money and don't file a return.....But that is
not what the law states.

If this is incorrect.....please cite the IRC (Internal Revenue Code)
that states otherwise.

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