What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Today TaxMama® hears from Eliezer in the Tax Quips Forum with this question. “A client owes the IRS about $200 from 2011 taxes. He filed on extension and they sent him a notice for his balance due including penalty and interest, which is due Dec 10. I tried counseling him to pay what he could afford by April 15. Couldn’t do it.  By Oct 15.  No dice. Dec 10 is around the corner and he says he still can’t/won’t pay all of it. His attitude: What’s the worst that could happen? What are they gonna do to me? Are they going to throw me in jail for $200? If not, I’ll pay some of it and let them send me another bill.

How would you respond?”  

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Dear Eliezer,

We get so involved with our clients and want to help keep them out of trouble, often with great intensity.

But your client is right.  It’s his life and his problem.

So what IS the worst than can happen, if he pays a little bit at a time? Penalties and interest will accrue – and he’ll just have to pay more.

But my question is – why is $200 so much of a hardship for an adult? Is he living on Social Security? Disabled? Destitute? Very, very poor? Or just a very bad money manager?

Perhaps this is where you might be able to help him? Is he interested in having you teach him money management? Or should he be calling Dave Ramsey

To which, Susan Holtgrefe, EA in PA at http://erietaxprep.com/   responds by quoting Dave Ramsey – twice:  

“That stupid saying “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” is ridiculous. What you don’t know can kill you. If you don’t know that tractor trailer trucks hurt when hitting you, then you can play in the middle of the interstate with no fear – but that doesn’t mean you won’t get killed.”  ― Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace Revisited

“Stupid is not illegal.” ― Dave Ramsey 

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about bad decisions and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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