You may have heard that a personal bankruptcy will not cover any federal taxes that you owe. Like many Georgia residents, you may also have financial difficulties that only become worse because of tax debt. Your challenges may be significant enough to make you think about filing for bankruptcy, but you are unsure whether it could help. It can certainly be discouraging to think you have no relief when it comes to your overdue taxes. It may surprise you to learn that you may have some recourse, after all, depending on several factors.
Georgia residents and others who win a lottery game such as Mega Millions will need to pay taxes on their winnings. Both the IRS and state tax authorities will be looking to collect a portion of any amount received. Those who receive a cash prize will have 24 percent of it withheld to cover federal taxes. Additional taxes may apply depending on the amount of the award and the tax bracket it puts a person in.
When Georgia residents file their taxes, they may be concerned about the threat of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. The thought of an auditor going through receipts, paperwork and pay stubs can be enough to make any taxpayer nervous. However, statistics show that tax audits are less likely than they have been in years. The budget of the IRS has been cut repeatedly since 2011; at that time, it had a budget of $12.1 billion annually. In 2017, that figure was down to $11.2 billion. During the intervening years, the agency lost one-third of its personnel dedicated to enforcement.
In most cases, the IRS has three years to audit a tax return. This is true when a taxpayer in Georgia or anywhere else doesn't understate their income by 25 percent or more. If that does occur, the government now has six years from when a return is filed to examine that return. In the event that a taxpayer fails to file a return, there is no limit to the amount of time the government can pursue taxes owed.
Georgia residents may be aware that banks file what are known as Currency Transaction Reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when they receive deposits of more than $10,000. This requirement was put into place by the 1970 Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, which is also known as the Bank Secrecy Act, but a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration suggests that the Internal Revenue Service is not making much use of CTRs in their efforts to identify taxpayers who are hiding or underreporting their income.