Do I Have To Pay My Taxes?

by Kristina Tahnyak on February 3, 2011 · 4 comments

Every year around this time we start to gather our personal information and collect all of our tax slips, in preparation to file our annual income taxes.

It completely shocked me to learn that many people don’t file their annual personal income taxes.

I can’t imagine why anyone would not file their annual personal income taxes.  According to The Associated Press 1 in 6 Americans did not pay their personal income taxes in 2007.

Do I have to file my personal income taxes? Plain and simple the answer is totally YES! It may be a long process, dealing with the federal government may be frustrating, and waiting for the results may test our patience, but we absolutely have to file our annual income taxes every year.

The deadline to file personal income taxes in the United States of America is April 15.  Not filing our personal income taxes on an annual basis, and failure to repay any amounts owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could result in expensive fines and even jail time.  It is a federal offence to not file our annual income taxes.  Not only could we have to repay the money, but we could also go to jail…not one or the other, but both!

I would never risk going to jail over money…Never! As you may remember, I am deathly afraid of going to prison; therefore I try to keep my temper in check and file my taxes on time every year :)

In 2007 I owed money to the federal government after filing my personal income taxes, and I didn’t pay the money that was owed. I didn’t pay my tax bill because I thought that I would just make it up the next year when I had a refund.  I asked my accountant exactly what I needed to do the next year in order to have a refund.  I assumed that my refund the next year would offset the money that I owed in 2007, and everything would even out; but I was wrong.

After 6 months of “friendly reminder” notices from the federal government (which I ignored) they eventually garnished my wages.  Each pay check the federal government withheld 20% of my gross income until my entire tax bill of approximately $7300 was paid in full…and then some.

That’s right! The federal government continued to garnish 20% of my wages even after the $7300 was paid in full.  I inquired why they continued to take money from my pay check after my tax bill was paid; they told me that it was MY responsibility to contact them once the amount owed was paid in full.  It took the federal government 6 weeks to refund my money that was overpaid.  I know that my $7300 owing in federal taxes is small peanuts compared to some other citizens, but the situation was still very frustrating.

Joe Francis who is an entrepreneur in the entertainment field was sentenced to time in jail for not filing his annual income taxes as well as filing a false return. Some of you may know Joe Francis as the creator of the series Girls Gone Wild.  Joe Francis was also fined several thousands of dollars for not filing his annual income taxes; this includes the interest owed on the non payments.

It is reported that the IRS looses over $300 million in unpaid/unfiled taxes each year.   Click Here to learn more about other Celebrities who have had a run in with the IRS such as Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes, and Sinbad.

(Photo By Infrogmation)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Honey February 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

Wow. I filed last Thursday and my refund was deposited today (federal anyway, state refund probably next week).

2 Tim February 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Actually, the IRS extended tax deadline this year to 18 April 2011.,,id=233910,00.html

3 Mike February 6, 2011 at 7:00 am

“I assumed that my refund the next year would offset the money that I owed in 2007, and everything would even out; but I was wrong.”

Perhaps you’re just being cute, but if you’re serious then it is pretty astounding that you are writing on a personal finance blog.

I used to read this blog when James and Miel owned it, and it’s impossible to imagine THEM ever thinking that you could just not pay taxes until next year, and let the refund take care of it. Has this blog really deteriorated to the point that “you are required to pay taxes” is seen as good advice? Has it really deterioated to the point that you think your average reader doesn’t already know this?

4 Kristina February 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for the info Tim. It’s good to know that the deadline has been extended.

Mike, no one likes to pay their taxes, but we all have to file them each year. This was a post that combined my personal experience with facts about the consequences of not filing our income taxes. Sorry you didn’t like the post.

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