The Law Office of Lance R. Drury
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If you don't file, the IRS may file a return on your behalf

Dealing with taxes and the Internal Revenue Service -- or any government agency for that matter -- can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed. You may not have the right information to properly file your taxes, you may think that you do not have to file, or you may worry about not having the funds to pay any owed taxes.

You are not alone in these feelings, as numerous people in Missouri and across the country worry about their taxes, and not just during tax season. Still, in just a few months, the tax season will loom, and you may have several worries on your mind.

Delinquent tax return

One of your worries may relate to not filing a tax return at all. Perhaps you already think you will not file because you believe you will face more problems from filing than not filing. While you may think that a delinquent tax return would save you from having to pay your taxes for the year, that may not prove true. In fact, the IRS could take measures to file a return on your behalf, and it may not benefit you for them to do so.

Substitute for return

When the IRS files a tax return on your behalf, they file a document known as a substitute for return. The SFR takes the place of a return that you would have filed on your own. The IRS uses information gathered from your employers or other individuals who have paid you and your bank.

As you may already notice, the SFR takes only your basic financial information into account and will either list your filing status as single or married filing separately. Because much of your personal information will not apply to an SFR, you will miss out on credits, exemptions and deductions that may have worked in your favor had you filed your own return. In the end, you could still end up owing taxes.

Filing your own form

Even if the IRS files an SFR, you can later file your own return to replace that document. You may have a better outcome if you take this route. Of course, you may still worry that you will face penalties, file incorrectly or even face legal action from the IRS for your delinquent tax return. To lessen these worries, you may wish to enlist the help of a legal professional experienced in tax matters to address your situation.

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