Collecting back taxes are one of the greatest points of consternation for those who work at the IRS. Most people rarely ever end up in a situation where any backup taxes are ever owed, but amongst those individuals with which it happens they tend to come from one of three situations.

The first situation that a cause back owed taxes, and is actually most common, is whenever income taxes are calculated and owed, the taxpayer simply does not have the funds to pay them at that point. More often than not, the IRS will process the return and will generally work out some form of a payment arrangement. If a payment arrangement is set up with the IRS and then not kept, severe penalties can result. Once a payment arrangement goes into default, and the larger the aback amount owed is, the less amicable IRS will be in making any further payment arrangements. In addition, more often then not, interest will be added to the back owed IRS income tax. 
The second category of taxpayers suffering from backup IRS income tax is those individuals who have processed and even paid an income tax return but failed to report all their accountable income. Usually the IRS will catch this during audits and inform the taxpayer. If it is a genuine mistake, or error, then most taxpayers get a generous window within which to repay their back obligation to the IRS. However, if it is found that the taxpayer was purposefully evading, or repeatedly having “little errors” on their annual report then the IRS will look deeper into the taxpayers past income tax claims as well. Most taxpayers request the services of a good tax attorney at this point. In the case of legal matters and attorneys, it is always better to have one and not need them than to need them and not have them.

The third category that many taxpayers are aware of is when a person does not file an income tax return at all then the IRS may file a “Substitute for Returns.” This substitute is usually calculated at a higher value than if the taxpayer had at least filed their own. These back taxes, if unpaid, can accumulate, and grow to a burdensome figure. All of this happens before the penalties and interest is even applied. In situations such as these, again, a reputable tax attorney would be most helpful. Most income tax attorneys are actually former employees of the IRS and can often negotiate a reasonable agreement in regards to your back tax returns.
All three of these describe backup income tax obligation situations that could be easily prevented by simply filing early and honestly, even on years that you think nothing is owed. You are always better off working within the system then ever trying to beat it. 

George Edmondson is an accomplished writer on IRS income taxes. For more information about IRS income taxes, you can visit