Since the IRS extended its tax deadline to July 15, you still have several weeks to file your taxes. But what happens to people who have not filed state or federal taxes for several years? They may be living with this secret, angst-ridden about the situation or nervously laughing it off. Either of these scenarios is not ideal.

But there are options when you finally decide to come clean, saying, “Take me, IRS. I am ready to face the consequences and fulfill my responsibilities.” Well, that is probably not the approach to take, however, the IRS is willing to work with you. But please understand that you may have a 10-year mess to clean up, so it will take some time.

Contact, gather and negotiate

Once you have mustered up the courage to resolve your taxes and prepare to file your returns, here are a few things to consider or do:

  • Contact the IRS. You procrastinated long enough. You have taken a courageous step and agreed to cooperate. The IRS should cooperate, too.
  • If you fear contacting the IRS, work with an experienced tax professional or an attorney. They will advocate for you.
  • Gather all documents such as W-2s and 1099-DIV forms for the years you neglected to file taxes.
  • Submit the completed forms to the IRS and pay the amount you owe. Here is where negotiation skills come in handy as IRS may penalize you, tacking on an extra 20% to what you owe.

For the IRS, there are no time limits on collecting taxes and penalties. If you have not paid taxes in decades, you still are required to do so. And do not forget that tax evasion is a criminal offense.