I have represented taxpayers all across the country for years. The one thing they all have in common is fear. A little bit of fear is a healthy thing if it gets you to take action and to solve your tax problem. If you owe the IRS back taxes, then you should be concerned about them taking your money or your things. They have the ability to garnish your bank accounts, your wages, your commission’s checks etc… They have the ability to take your assets, and they can do these things quickly. This is why I recommend that people take action to solve their problem before the problem gets worse. You are better off solving your problem before they garnish your wages.
However, for most people who owe back taxes the fear of going to jail is an unrealistic fear. In other words, if you simply owe back taxes, because you did not pay enough in tax or because the IRS disallowed some of your deductions, or because you had forgiveness of debt which constituted income and then additional tax, the IRS is not interested in sending you to jail. The folks who have to be concerned about potential jail time are those who intentionally evade paying income tax. The most common example of this is simply hiding income. If you have not intentionally evaded paying income taxes, then your concern should be to solve your tax problem before the IRS takes your money. Even if you have intentionally evaded income tax, your best solution is to deal with the problem now before the IRS comes after you.
None of my clients have ever gone to jail (at least not for income tax problems). In fact, I’ve never even had an IRS Agent threaten to send my client to prison. Of course, in every instant, I am working with the IRS to solve the problem. This goes a long way in avoiding trouble with the IRS.
If you have an IRS problem, seek out a professional who deals with the IRS every day and deal with your problem NOW.