This daily tax season column publishes questions from readers and answers from local members of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Q.I haven't filed a tax return in 10 years. Now the IRS is garnisheeing $140 from each of my paychecks. How can I get it to stop?
A.You might start by filing those missing returns. The IRS figured your tax bill using the information it had--probably W-2s and 1099s from your employers and financial institutions. You might have had deductions or other circumstances that would lower your tax bill. Many people who fail to file would have received refunds, rather than tax bills, if they had just prepared their returns. There's a statute of limitations, though: After three years, you can't claim your refund.
By the way, the IRS shares its information on deadbeat taxpayers with the California Franchise Tax Board. So expect a bill from the state before too long.