Depending on whether one owes taxes at the end of the year or is expecting a tax return, tax season can be a dreaded or anticipated time for Las Vegas residents. Filing taxes may be especially complicated for those who own their own businesses or work as independent contractors. It is up to the self-employed, who do not receive a W-2 form from employers, to accurately handle their taxes in a timely manner before April 15.

Filing taxes is often such a hassle that some people choose simply not to file. They may hope that the IRS does not notice, or feel like it is not worth their time to file a tax return if they do not owe anything. Failing to file taxes, however, may result in unexpected consequences, some of which may be serious. Those who end up owing may be hit with a 5 percent penalty each month for taxes they do not pay, states U.S. News & World Report. Those who deliberately and consistently avoid filing taxes may have their wages garnished, liens placed on their properties, assets seized and even face arrest.

Will those who stand to receive a return be penalized for not filing? According to Intuit, the IRS typically does not take action in these cases. However, not filing a tax return can result in a refund being forfeited, if the filer waits longer than three years after the original filing deadline. Those who are self-employed may lose Social Security retirement credits for not filing their taxes. In some cases, the IRS will prepare a substitute return on a person’s behalf. This may result in losing valuable credits and deductions that could have increased a tax return or reduced the amount of tax owed.

It is advisable to stay current on taxes and file before the deadline. Since tax law may be complex, consulting a professional tax preparer or business attorney may prevent many of the undesirable consequences of avoiding tax time.