In our experience, when clients meet with us they are worried that they may go to jail for either not paying their overdue taxes, or not filling over a long period of time.
If you have overdue taxes, no, you will not be going to jail. This is because a crime has most likely not been committed. It is almost never a crime to fail to pay the tax when you file a return
If you have not filed your taxes, you have arguably committed a crime. However, your chances of being sent to jail are very slim. People who are prosecuted for willful refusal to file a return generally fall into two categories
The High Profile Taxpayer- High Profile Taxpayers are usually prosecuted to make a statement to the rest of us. These situations make headlines and scare others into compliance. Being the average American who neglected to file on a 30,000 a year income isn’t quite as grand.
The “In-Your-Face” Tax Protestor- These taxpayers or tax protestors rather, gain the attention of the IRS because they taunt the government. Their attitude is “the IRS doesn't have the guts to prosecute”. There is nothing that will make the IRS more resolute than a defiant tax protestor.