Close up of a post-it with writing "pay debt".When you owe money to the government, it can cause you significant stress and worry. Many people struggle to make ends meet in Texas and trying to pay a debt on time can be a significant financial hardship. Unpaid tax debt can be a big burden to carry.

If you are worried about unpaid tax debts,  contact an experienced debt attorney today. Debt collectors in Texas can be ruthless, and you must take measures to protect yourself against a debt lawsuit or potential jail time.

Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC

Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has what it takes to protect you against the unfair practices of debt collectors in Texas. He has been helping Texans with debt relief, court orders, paying taxes, debt issues, and tax-related crime for over 26 years. If a creditor issues a lawsuit against you, and you do not attend court, you could risk going to jail for unpaid debts.

Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC will do everything he can to protect your best interests and avoid any serious consequences of failing to pay back debt. He can help you set up a payment plan, negotiate with debt collectors or creditors, help you consolidate your debts, and ensure your legal rights are protected at all costs.

Do not waste any time with unpaid debts. Call our law firm today to schedule an initial consultation at 210-853-2135.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law set up to protect consumers from the unfair practices of third-party debt collectors. Some practices that are prohibited under this Act include phone calls to debtors outside of regular hours, harassment, abuse, or oppressive conduct, and using unfair methods to recover debts.

Texas also introduced the Texas Debt Collection Act, which applies to original creditors, third-party collection agencies, and attorneys collecting a debt. Under this Act, debt collectors cannot use misleading, fraudulent, or threatening information to recover a debt. If they do, they can face civil or criminal penalties for their abusive conduct.

Both Acts prevent debt collectors from threatening debtors with jail time for unpaid credit card debt or any type of consumer debt. They cannot legally make false statements regarding the debt, like claiming that you have committed a crime, that they are government representatives, or that you could go to jail for the debt.

When a debt collector illegally threatens you with jail time for a debt, they can be held accountable under the Texas Debt Collection Act. Your attorney can help you bring a claim against a debt collector for making false accusations to recover debt from you.

Can You Go To Jail For Unpaid Tax Debt in Texas?

Yes, in certain circumstances, you can face the possibility of jail time for unpaid tax debt, but it’s important to clarify the conditions under which this might occur. In general, most people who owe unpaid taxes do not go to jail for that reason alone. However, there are situations where failure to address tax debt can lead to legal consequences, including potential imprisonment. Here’s a breakdown of these situations:

  1. Criminal Tax Evasion: Intentional and willful attempts to evade paying taxes can be considered a criminal offense. Tax evasion involves deliberately underreporting income, inflating deductions, or engaging in other fraudulent activities to avoid paying the correct amount of taxes owed. Criminal tax evasion is a serious offense and can lead to criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment.
  2. Willful Failure to File: Not filing a tax return when you have a legal obligation to do so can be considered a misdemeanor offense. If the failure to file is deemed to be willful, you could potentially face fines and imprisonment.
  3. Contempt of Court: If you are ordered by a court to comply with tax-related matters, such as providing required financial information or cooperating with IRS requests, and you willfully disregard the court’s order, you could be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court can result in fines or imprisonment.

It’s important to note that the primary goal of the IRS is to collect taxes owed and work with taxpayers to resolve their debts through various means such as payment plans, offers in compromise, and other arrangements. The IRS generally prefers to resolve tax debt issues without resorting to criminal charges.

If you find yourself in a situation of unpaid tax debt, it’s recommended to take proactive steps to address the issue. Ignoring the problem could potentially lead to legal consequences. If you’re unable to pay your taxes in full, you can explore options like setting up a payment plan or negotiating with the IRS to settle the debt. Consulting with a Texas tax attorney can provide you with guidance tailored to your specific situation and help you navigate the best course of action.

Proactive Measures to Address Tax Debt

Proactively addressing tax debt is essential to prevent escalating legal and financial consequences. Whether you’re facing IRS tax debt in Texas or any other state, taking action to resolve the issue can help alleviate stress and pave the way for a more stable financial future. Here are some proactive measures to consider when dealing with tax debt:

1. Open Communication with the IRS:

  • Contact the IRS: If you’re unable to pay your taxes in full, it’s crucial to initiate communication with the IRS as soon as possible. Ignoring the issue can lead to increased penalties and interest,
  • Call the IRS Helpline: The IRS offers a toll-free helpline where you can speak to a representative and explain your situation. They may be able to provide guidance on available options.

2. Explore Available Tax Relief Options:

  • Installment Agreement: An installment agreement allows you to make monthly payments toward your tax debt. This can make the debt more manageable by spreading payments over time.
  • Offer in Compromise (OIC): An OIC is an agreement between you and the IRS to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed. This option is available if you can demonstrate that you’re unable to pay the full debt.
  • Currently Not Collectible (CNC) Status: If you’re facing financial hardship, the IRS may temporarily suspend collection efforts through CNC status. This gives you time to improve your financial situation.

3. Gather Documentation and Financial Information:

  • Organize Financial Records: Gather documents related to your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. This information will be essential when discussing options with the IRS.
  • Prepare a Budget: Create a detailed budget that outlines your monthly income and expenses. This will help you assess your ability to pay and negotiate payment arrangements.

4. Consult with Tax Attorneys:

  • Seek Professional Advice: Enlist the expertise of tax professionals or attorneys who specialize in tax matters. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and navigate the complexities of tax debt resolution.
  • Understand Your Options: Professionals can help you understand the full range of options available to you and recommend the most suitable course of action.

5. File Outstanding Tax Returns:

  • File Missing Returns: If you haven’t filed your tax returns for specific years, make it a priority to file them. Filing returns is a fundamental step in addressing your tax debt.

6. Prioritize Payment and Negotiation:

  • Allocate Funds: If possible, allocate funds from your budget to start paying off your tax debt. Even small payments show your commitment to resolving the issue.
  • Negotiate Realistically: When negotiating with the IRS, be realistic about your financial situation and what you can afford. Honesty can improve the chances of finding a viable resolution.

7. Stay Informed About Your Rights:

  • Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a taxpayer. The IRS has guidelines and protections in place to ensure fair treatment.

8. Act Promptly:

  • Avoid Delays: Promptly address your tax debt to prevent additional penalties and interest from accumulating. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of resolving the issue efficiently.

Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC Today!

When a debt collector threatens to bring you to jail for failing to pay a debt, it is extremely frightening. Although a debt collection agency cannot do this under state consumer collection laws, they still do it quite often. Unless you have received a court order or are dealing with state taxes, such as child support, you do not have to worry about going to jail.

If you have received a court order for debt, unpaid support payments, or been threatened by a debt collector with jail time, contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC as soon as possible. Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has been dealing with debt collection agencies and creditors for over 26 years. He has significant experience with local Texas and federal laws on debt collection and can help you avoid going to jail for debt.

Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has received recognition from the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association and has many professional and important accolades for his achievements. He is dedicated to fighting fiercely on behalf of his clients and will do everything in his power to get your debt relieved and help you set up a payment plan.

Call our firm today at 210-853-2135 to schedule a consultation.