Many people become non-filers each year for a number of reasons. They lose the paperwork, they couldn't pay, or they forgot about it. Sometimes illness, family crisis or depression plays a role. The list goes on and on.
If you are a non-filer, don't procrastinate any longer. You may be hoping the IRS has forgotten about you, but that rarely happens. In truth, the longer you wait, the more costly it will be if you owe money. And if you are due a refund, the statute of limitations on that refund expires three years from the date the return should have been filed. Don't risk losing your money.
It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you haven't filed for a while, but don't despair. Lost paperwork can be reconstructed. If you owe, it's better to file and negotiate an installment agreement because this will stop the late filing penalties although interest will continue until the tax bill is paid. Sometimes, penalties can be abated if the circumstances are serious, such as family crisis. Illness or other catastrophic situations.
Contact a tax professional to help you get the monkey off your back. An authorized tax professional like an Enrolled Agent can negotiate with the IRS on your behalf and can help to get taxes filed, negotiate an Installment agreement for those who can't pay in full or, possibly, negotiate an offer in compromise to reduce taxes, penalties and interest. Don't wait for the IRS to come looking for you; it's far better to voluntarily come forward.
Every U.S. citizen and resident is required to pay his or her fair share of taxes. No more, no less. The IRS has a matching program whereby all 1099's, W-2's, etc., are entered in their computers. They match this information with the tax returns that have been filed to ensure that all Income has been reported and that everyone who is legally required to do so has filed a return. So, if you haven't filed for whatever reason, get moving before the IRS comes looking for you!