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3 penalties for tax preparers who file a late personal tax return

A failure to file tax returns can come with serious penalties for any taxpayer. However, those who specialize in filing tax returns as a profession can face even harsher penalties. These can include: 

  • Imprisonment. If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines the failure-to-file was a flagrant violation of the tax professional's tax obligations, the agency could move forward with criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the allegations, penalties could include potential imprisonment. In most cases, the IRS looks at intent. If it can determine the failure to file was a willful violation, it may push for a prison sentence.
  • Loss of license. Tax return preparation professionals who hold an enrolled agent status with the IRS can lose this status if they do not promptly file their tax returns. This is because the status includes a suitability check. Part of the suitability check involves a review of the applicant's tax history. The agency notes a conviction for a violation of tax law or felony related to a breach of trust can impact this status for ten years.
  • Loss of membership to professional groups. Those who file tax returns can also lose their membership to professional organizations. This is because these groups also have criteria for maintaining membership. This can include remaining in good standing with the IRS.

Those who are struggling to meet their own personal tax obligations have options. Before falling into delinquency, it is wise to reach out to a tax attorney to discuss your options. A legal professional can advocate for your interests and better ensure your personal tax frustrations do not have a negative impact on your professional status.

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