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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Regardless of income, you’ll generally have to file a tax return if: You had self-employment net earnings of at least $400. You have received distributions from a health savings account, Archer Medical Savings Account or Medicare Advantage MSA. You owe taxes on an IRA, health savings account or other tax-favored account.
When a person is employed or has other reportable income, and has filed tax returns in the past, sometimes the IRS will prepare its own version of your return, which is called an SFR (Substituted Filed Return). Typically, these returns do not account for any of the potential tax savings, deductions, etc. but at least you have the return on file.
It is considered criminal when a person knows they have a requirement to file and knows they have unreported income that the IRS is unaware of, but does not file the tax return. Usually, it will not appear on the IRS’ radar unless it has been 2-3 years of non-filing. With that said, the IRS only pursues a very limited number of criminal cases each year.
The IRS can go back to any unfiled year and assess a tax deficiency, along with penalties. However, in practice, the IRS rarely goes past the past six years for non-filing enforcement.
You will have 90 days to file a tax return for the year or years in question. If you fail to do so, the IRS will recognize the SFR as an actual return and start collecting the taxes you owe.