In what appears to be a continuing bid to tell taxpayers that in the current economic downturn the IRS “feels our pain,” has become a kinder, gentler government agency and tax collector, and even perhaps that the days of being a “no more Mr. Niceguy” government agency have passed into the days of “No more ‘no more Mr. Niceguy,'” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman recently reminded taxpayers who may be owed a refund for 2005, but have not yet filed their income tax returns for 2005, to claim that refund by filing their return and to do so quickly to avoid losing it.
This may qualify as a continuing effort in light of Commissioner Shulman’s “I feel your pain” comments, published by the IRS in early January, 2009. See Feb 5, 2009 post in this blog, “IRS to Bail Out Taxpayers?” below.
IRS estimates that there is roughly $1.3 billion in unclaimed refunds for tax year 2005 awaiting more than a million taxpayers around the country. Continue reading
Here we are in the thick of tax season and lots of people are getting their shoeboxes full of reciepts together, organizing their credit card statements and cell phone bills, so that they prepare their tax returns or go to their accountant to do it for them.
Some of us — the enviably well organized — may already be done. Maybe they’ve even prepared their returns already. So now, to file now and get it done? Or to wait until April 15th? Certainly you don’t want to be late (or if you have to be late, you want to file for an extension of time to file), but now the question is: on time or early?
What? No Gold Star? Three Ways Filing Early Might Help
Surprisingly, except three narrow situations, in most circumstances, filing early does you no good. You don’t get extra points or anything.
What you might get, if you are owed a refund, is your refund sooner than if you filed later. That’s one of the three situations: get your refund sooner.
A visitor to my website found it by asking this question in a search on Yahoo: “When does the statute of limitations run out for audits?”
The shortest answer is three years.
So the IRS Has Three Years – Three Years Starting When?
But that’s not quite enough information all by itself. The first, next question is: three years from what? What event makes the clock start ticking and counting down?
The shortest answer is that the clock starts counting down, when you, the taxpayer, file your tax return. But that’s not quite the whole story either:
The short answer is “3 years.” But, three years from what? I will shortly post a fuller discussion about how much time the IRS has to decide whether or not to audit someone and then do something about it.