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LT26: When the IRS Contacts You about Filing Your Tax Returns

Posted by Brandon Keim | Feb 23, 2024 | 0 Comments

When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends an LT26 Notice, it's a follow-up letter that a taxpayer has continued to fail to file required federal tax returns. Receiving an LT26 is serious business. The IRS will assess penalties for failing to file based on a percentage of the tax owed. And taxpayers should be aware that, in egregious cases, failure to file a federal tax return can be prosecuted as tax evasion. This federal crime can result in fines of up to $250,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years. 

Therefore, it's important to understand what a taxpayer should do if they receive an LT26. 

An LT26 Explained

An LT26 Notice states that the IRS has sent previous notices that a taxpayer has failed to file a federal tax return. Therefore, with the LT26, the IRS states that the taxpayer must file tax returns within ten days of the date of the LT26 Notice.    

The notice will identify the relevant tax years and forms that the IRS demands to be filed. The notice also includes information on how to file, and it warns that the taxpayer may face fines and criminal penalties, in addition to any interest and penalties for any tax due. 

Alternatively, the IRS Notice also explains that if the taxpayer does not file a return, the IRS can determine their tax liability independently. However, if it does so, the IRS will not include deductions or credits the taxpayer may be eligible for if they'd completed their return on their own.

Genuine LT26 Notices also contain:

·        The notice number (the document will say it's an LT26)

·        The notice date

·        The date that the tax returns must be filed by

·        The taxpayer's Social Security Number or other numeric identifier

·        A case reference number 

Common Reasons People Don't File, But They Still Should….

People often believe they don't need to file a return if they are eligible for a refund. Still, other taxpayers also don't file because they don't have the money to pay any outstanding tax. 

However, many people entitled to a refund must still file a return. 

And those who cannot pay should still file a return. Negotiating with the IRS for a payment plan or other form of relief is possible, while not filing at all can result in criminal liability. It's simply not worth the risk. 

If you haven't filed a federal tax return or have an outstanding tax-related debt, don't try to resolve the issue on your own. Instead, contact a tax attorney as soon as possible. If you need help, call Senior Partner, Tax Controversy Attorney, and former IRS attorney Brandon A. Keim at (602) 200-7399 or contact him online to discuss your options.

About the Author

Brandon Keim

A Certified Tax Law Specialist, CPA, partner at Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP, and former Senior IRS Trial Attorney, Brandon Keim holds an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.


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