We all know how quickly time can fly by, and how quickly the year can pass you by, and that is why it is so easy to miss filing your taxes.
It is an easy mistake, and it is something that a lot of people have done at some point in their lifetime. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a big deal.
If you are somebody who has failed to file your taxes for a couple of years, then it is understandable that you might be anxious.
As we have said, filing your taxes is incredibly important, and failure to do this is a big deal. But, can you go to jail for not filing your taxes?
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at if you can go to jail for not filing your taxes. The answer is a lot more complicated than you might expect. So, keep on reading to find out more.
Can You Go To Jail For Not Filing Taxes?
First things first, let’s take a look at if you can be sentenced to jail time for not filing taxes.
As we have mentioned, the answer is actually pretty complicated, so for now, let’s just say that you may face jail time if you do not file your taxes.
It is possible that you could go to jail for failing to file your taxes, but it will depend on your own personal circumstances. So, let’s take a deeper look at this.
So, there are a number of situations where you could face jail time if you fail to file your taxes. These include if you simply fail to file your taxes because you forgot or were late filing.
You could also go to jail if you are found to have been lying on your tax return. However, there is one circumstance where you will not face jail time for failing to pay your taxes, and that is if you have failed to pay because you cannot afford it.
But, we will take a little look at what happens if you can’t afford to pay a little later on.
As you can see, jail time is a real possibility if you fail to pay your taxes, and this is because paying your taxes is incredibly important. So, let’s take a look at if failing to pay your taxes is a criminal offense.
Is It A Criminal Offense?
Now that we have established that it is possible to go to jail for not filing your taxes, let’s take a look at if this is a criminal offense.
As we have mentioned, it depends entirely on the situation, and if you fail to pay your taxes due to financial reasons, then it is unlikely that you will face jail time.
But, if you had the funds to pay your taxes, and still failed to pay, then this is a criminal offense.
This isn’t just a criminal offense in the USA. In fact, failing to pay your taxes is actually a crime in most countries.
In most countries, failure to pay your taxes is considered to be tax evasion, which is a serious crime. In the USA, tax evasion can result in monetary penalties or imprisonment.
However, there is a fine line between tax evasion and tax avoidance, and the penalties will depend on what you are convicted of. But all in all, yes, failure to file your taxes is usually a criminal offense.
What Happens If You Can’t Afford To Pay?
But as we mentioned earlier, there is an objection to this rule, and that is if you fail to file your taxes because you can’t afford to pay them.
However, it is important to note that this rule only applies if you make the IRS aware that you cannot afford to pay your taxes. Simply failing to pay because you can’t afford to pay will still be considered tax evasion.
If you owe more taxes than you can afford to pay, then you can get in touch with the IRS and set up a payment plan.
There are generally two types of payment plan that the IRS will offer, these are individual installment agreements and offers in compromise. Let’s take a look at what these are.
An individual installment plan is a plan that allows you to pay back the taxes that you owe over a period of time.
To set this up, you will need to deal with the IRS directly as they will require information from you regarding your assets, etc.
Once this plan is in place, you will need to keep up the repayments until you have paid back everything that you owe.
Alternatively, an offer in compromise is an agreement between you and the IRS which allows you to settle your debt for less than you owe.
However, this option is only available if the IRS believes that you are unable to repay the debt through an installment plan.
Actions That Could Send You To Jail
But all in all, yes, failure to pay your taxes is a criminal offense. So, here are some actions that can land you a jail sentence:
Any actions that have been taken to avoid paying your taxes. This could include lying on your tax return, or deliberately failing to pay.
Failure To File
Simply failing to file your tax return, with no explanation, is enough to land you in jail.
Helping Somebody To Evade Paying Tax
If you are actively found to have helped an individual avoid filing their taxes, then you could face a lengthy jail sentence as an accessory.
In short, yes, you can go to jail for failing your taxes. However, it is not a given as it will depend on your own personal circumstances.
Regardless, it is incredibly important that you pay your taxes on time if you do not want to face criminal penalties.