Why You Should File Your Past Due Return Now
Avoid interest and penalties
File your past due return and pay or make an agreement to pay to limit interest charges and late payment penalties.
Claim a Refund
You risk losing your refund if you don't file your return. If you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date. The same rule applies to a right to claim tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit.
The IRS will hold income tax refunds in cases where records show that one or more income tax returns are past due. They hold them until they get the past due return or receive an acceptable reason for not filing a past due return.
Protect Social Security Benefits
If you are self-employed and do not file your federal income tax return, any self-employment income you earned will not be reported to the Social Security Administration and you will not receive credits toward Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
Avoid Issues Obtaining Loans
Loan approvals may be delayed if you don't file your return. Copies of filed tax returns must be submitted to financial institutions, mortgage lenders/brokers, etc., whenever you want to buy or refinance a home, get a loan for a business, or apply for federal aid for higher education.
What If You Don’t File Voluntarily
If you fail to file, the IRS may file a substitute return for you. This return might not give you credit for deductions and exemptions you may be entitled to receive. They could send you a Notice of Deficiency CP3219N (90-day letter) proposing a tax assessment. You will have 90 days to file your past due tax return or file a petition in Tax Court. If you do neither, they will proceed with their proposed assessment. If you have received notice CP3219N you cannot request an extension to file.
If the IRS files a substitute return, it is still in your best interest to file your own tax return to take advantage of any exemptions, credits and deductions you are entitled to receive. The IRS will generally adjust your account to reflect the correct figures.
Collection and Enforcement Actions
The return they prepare for you (proposed assessment) could lead to a tax bill, which, if unpaid, will trigger the collection process. This can include such actions as a levy on your wages or bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien.
If you repeatedly do not file, you could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and/or criminal prosecution.