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A proactive stance can help when short on money for taxes

Not having enough money to pay your taxes can be intimidating, but ignoring the matter should be even more so. Unfortunately, some Massachusetts residents have the mistaken notion that if they do not have the money to pay their taxes, they should not file a return. Nothing could be further from the truth. Failing to file a return along with failure to pay taxes when due can result in a myriad of consequences beyond the usual penalty fees and interest. Bank levies and asset seizure are a couple of examples of what can happen when taxes that are due and payable are not reported or paid in a timely fashion.

The IRS is actually quite approachable and eager to help taxpayers avoid loss of property for taxes owed. It provides taxpayers with the opportunity to pay their taxes in installments rather than requiring them to come up with all of the money at once. Or, if preferred, those who owe taxes may call the IRS directly in order to set up arrangements for installments.

Even if you do not have the money to pay your taxes, you should go ahead and file a return. The penalties for failing to file a return are much more serious than nonpayment of taxes, and can cause headaches that are not easily resolved.

When help is needed due to failing to file a return, nonpayment of taxes or both, it may be wise to seek the services of an attorney who is experienced in matters involving tax litigation. An attorney such as this may be able to evaluate your financial situation and offer advice as to possible means of resolving the dilemma such as selling assets or bartering with the IRS to lower the liability in order to expedite payment.

Source: Casper Star Tribune, "TYSON: When you can't pay your taxes", Eric Tyson, July 13, 2013

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