The IRS is the biggest creditor in the United States; virtually every citizen in the country owes it money at some point in time. And, like any creditor, the IRS hears its fair share of excuses why a given taxpayer could not settle his bill on time: he didn't have the money, he had a serious medical condition, or (on the more innocent end of the spectrum) he accidentally sent a check which bounced.

In most cases, the IRS won't seek the death penalty for a bounced check, instead levying a relatively small penalty (only a few hundred dollars) on even large amounts owed. This, however, only applies to taxpayers who have stayed out of trouble up until the time of this minor indiscretion. If you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and have already been assigned an IRS revenue officer, a bounced check may well be taken as an indication of active fraud, rather than an honest mistake. (After all, it's very hard to bounce a check for $500,000 unless that was your intention all along!)

What's the worst the IRS can do to you if you bounce a big check for your back taxes? Well, the government will continue to hound you to the ends of the earth, and you also may find yourself under indictment for attempting to pass a bad check (the IRS probably won't really care if they can prove this charge, as long as it puts the fear of God in you).

The bottom line is bounced checks are bad enough when they are written out to family members or mom-and-pop stores; they're a huge mistake when you give them to the IRS.

Need more help with your tax questions? Call the Oklahoma tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC (800-721-7054) to learn more today!

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