As the date for some extensions on income tax returns draws near, it is imperative that anyone who needs to file understands an important point about filing. You must have your income tax form in the mail by October 15. Failing to file a tax return could lead to some serious problems for you.

If you are required to fill out an income tax return and don’t do it, you can face tax evasion charges. The IRS might not pursue a criminal case against you if you didn’t file because you can’t pay; however, that isn’t a chance worth taking.

The IRS conducts random audits to determine whether taxpayers are being honest in their returns. You might be targeted if you’ve filed previous years of tax returns and suddenly don’t have a return on file. This is also possible if you don’t have a return but did have income that was reported to the IRS.

You can also face criminal charges if you try to hide assets or income. This might happen if you have a side gig that has an income. This might be the case if someone who pays you for your side gig turns in a 1099-MISC or if the bank submits a 1099-INT for interest on an account.

It is always best to file tax returns on time and to be fully honest on them. If something happens and you are accused of tax evasion, don’t think the charges will go away. You can face time in jail and harsh fines if you are convicted. Take the time to learn about your defense options, so you can make decisions about how to proceed.