Taxes Are Due: What Happens if You Can’t Pay the IRS?
Earlier this month was much of America’s least favorite day of the year: Tax Day. And while millions of Americans sent a check to the IRS, plenty more found that they were unable to pay their tax bill. There are plenty of reasons why this could happen, such as – failing to withhold enough money during the year, failing to anticipate how much you’d owe, or experiencing financial duress in various forms.
What should you do if you owe money to the IRS, but can’t afford to pay?
If you get nothing else from this article, please understand this: the worst thing you can do is simply ignore the situation!
Trust me, failing to address your IRS debt won’t make it go away, it will only make matters worse. And you do have options. The IRS now accepts payments via credit cards and they are generally willing to enter into installment payment agreements with taxpayers.
A recent Fox Business article breaks down the details of the installment options that are available:
If your tax bill is too large for a credit card, the IRS will take monthly payments. You even get to pick your monthly payment amount and the day it will be due.
In fact, when a taxpayer has previously filed — and paid — taxes on time and the tax bill is $10,000 or less, the IRS usually grants installment payment requests even if taxpayers have enough money on hand to pay their bills in full.
To get the program going, attach Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, to the front of your tax return. Or, if the total amount you owe is not more than $50,000, you can ignore Form 9465 and request an installment agreement online at the IRS website.
Financially strapped taxpayers also can use an installment plan to make partial payments of tax liability. The IRS previously had allowed partial installment payments but stopped the practice in 1998 when an IRS attorney raised questions about the IRS’ authority to accept such payments without statutory authority. Congress officially granted the IRS the power to resume partial payment installment agreements as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.
Regardless of whether you pay your tax bill in full or partially via an installment agreement, keep in mind that paying over time, even to Uncle Sam, will cost you more. The IRS charges a one-time fee of $120 unless you arrange to have your installment payments made via direct debit from your bank account.
As you can see, a variety of options exist for taxpayers who can’t pay their IRS bill. And while it’s never pleasant to owe money to the IRS, its far better to make arrangements to pay your debt than it is to ignore the situation. If you’d like to learn more about your options, we can help. Our team focuses exclusively on helping taxpayers overcome IRS disputes and get back to enjoying their lives. Contact us today to learn more.