Tax Tips
Delinquent on your income taxes?

By Howard Abrams, PBS Tax & Bookkeeping

Q. “I have not filed my last four years of income taxes, my fault, and the IRS is after me. Also, I’m finding my credit is being affected because of a lien the IRS has put on my account. What do I need to do?”

A. We receive numerous calls from taxpayers who have not filed their income taxes for a year up to 10 years or more. Not filing your income tax return can and did get you into serious trouble. It seems if a person doesn’t file for one year, the odds are you are not going to file for the next year. And suddenly you haven’t filed for three, four or five years because you are afraid to contact the IRS.

Because the IRS is more interested in getting the delinquent taxpayers back in the habit of filing the returns and making up for the past filings, nonfilers do not have to worry about going to jail. As long as you cooperate and file your tax returns, the IRS is not going to lock you up.

It would have been best to file the omitted returns prior to the IRS contacting you. The fact that you are not able to pay the back taxes should not prevent you from filing those returns.

Because the IRS is on your case, it is in your best interest to get it done as soon as possible. Once the returns have been filed, you can discuss with the IRS your payment options. You may find them surprisingly lenient. It’s also possible you may not owe them any money, or you may have a balance due that you can pay immediately.

You should also try to get the penalties waived if you have a reasonable excuse. The interest, however, cannot be waived except in rare cases.

NOTE: If the IRS comes after you before you have taken the steps to file the delinquent returns, it is not too late to work out a solution. The IRS will accept a timetable for filing the back returns. But get them filed to avoid a levy. Once the returns are filed and you pay the balance due, the lien will be removed. If you cannot pay the balance due but secure a payment program with the IRS, they may release the lien. LL

This article is written by PBS Tax & Bookkeeping Service, a company that has been providing income tax and bookkeeping services to the trucking industry for more than a quarter-century. If you would like further information, please contact PBS at 800-697-5153 or visit their website at

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember that everyone’s financial situation is different. This article does not give and is not intended to give specific accounting and/or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax or accounting professional.