6 Things You Can Do If You Owe The IRS
By Steven A Leahy
My office helps businesses and families fix their IRS problems fast. What you need to know is there are only Six Things you can do if you owe the IRS.
The first thing you can do is – pay the IRS. Generally, I recommend that taxpayers pay the IRS any way they can. Borrow from family and friends, even credit cards, better to owe anyone else but the IRS. You can still apply to abate any penalties after you pay. But, it is best to resolve your IRS problem as quickly as you can.
The second thing you can do if you owe the IRS money is to enter into an installment agreement. There are several different kinds of installment agreement: Guaranteed Installment, Streamlined Installments; Partial Pay Installments and Full pay installments. Determining what your monthly payment should be is more an art than a science. If you enter into an installment agreement and default, you will find yourself right back where you started. So, be careful! Don’t let the IRS force you into an agreement you can’t afford.
The next thing you can do if you owe the IRS is an Offer-in-Compromise. An Offer-in-Compromise is a reduced amount the IRS will agree to accept “in compromise.” The recent IRS Fresh Start Initiative changed some of the parameters of this program, making it easier for taxpayers to qualify. Historically only about 18% of applications were approved. So all of those commercials you hear about “paying the IRS pennies on the dollars” actually very rarely occurred. It may take a year or longer before you find if your offer is approved or denied – once the offer is denied you may find yourself right back where you started.
The fourth thing you can do is have the IRS declare you Currently Not Collectible. If you can prove to the IRS that you don’t have enough money at the end of each month to pay your reasonable and necessary expenses and pay the IRS. The IRS will agree to leave you alone for a time – not forever. But they will give you time to recover, without worrying about the IRS garnishing your wages of levying your bank accounts. If your income increases, the IRS may ask you to re-establish your currently not collectible status, or work out an installment agreement. Often, this is a good alternative. People often panic because they know they owe the IRS and know they can’t pay them – so they bury their head in the sand. Instead, address the problem and prove you can’t pay.
You can also file bankruptcy if you owe the IRS – that’s the fifth thing you can do. Taxes in bankruptcy can be very complicated, and not all taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy. But many taxes are dischargeable, and we have helped many taxpayers walk away from their tax obligations. Because taxes in bankruptcy are complicated, make sure you find an attorney who understands tax issues and not just bankruptcy. Not all bankruptcy attorneys do.
The final thing you can do if you owe the IRS money, and this is what many of my clients do before they hire us to help them, is nothing. You can stick your head in the sand, pretend the IRS will forget about you and worry day and night about freezing bank accounts, garnishing wages and taking away your assets.
While there are only six things you can do if you owe the IRS, there are unlimited ways to mix these options to achieve the best results for you. So, if you have IRS problems, you should work with a local law firm. Better, you should give me a call – Opem Tax Resolutions & The Law Office of Steven A. Leahy, PC (312) 664-6649. I want to help! Call NOW to set up your FREE Consultation.