The Cascading Impact of Missing Tax Filings

tax seasonAs Ben Franklin penned in 1789, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

As caregivers, those two events are challenging to navigate for very different reasons. I don’t think I need to say more about death, but the annual taxes is a sleeper issue for many families. If you are not living near mom and dad, you may not know that they have failed to file their taxes. The organization and project management can be overwhelming to those battling fatigue as well as mild cognitive impairment.

I have one case where the person who is trustee can’t recall her dad’s social security number, and has no idea where the prior taxes are located. She has never gone through the process to become the Representative Payee with Social Security (SSA) or the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) so they won’t talk with her until she follows their approval process.  They do not recognize Durable Powers of Attorney. We at least know the name of the accountant to we can request a copy of the last tax filing they prepared.  Before we can even begin, we have two major milestones to overcome with SSA and OPM.

In another case, medical expenses escalated and consumed all of the couples liquid assets. While my client owns a business interest, home and commercial property, they have limited cash flow that can’t cover their current monthly expenses. Without last years taxes, we can’t apply for a loan to bridge them through the next few months until one of the properties can be sold.

This is on top of all the emotions and energy around dealing with failing health. While skipping the taxes might seem like a simple solution to catch your breath, it just might knock you down a year later.

Just sharing a reminder NOW, so you have time to get in the 2017 taxes. Encouraged.  

2 thoughts on “The Cascading Impact of Missing Tax Filings

  1. Thank you for this very timely reminder – it has to be done!

    One other topic I would love to see you address is what, if any, liability insurance a loved one with dementia should carry. My father’s policy has recently changed to exclude property damage or bodily injury that “would have been expected by the insured based on a reasonable person standard.” and no one can/will tell me what that really means.

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