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Five Tips | Tax Debt | Back Taxes | Flat Fee Tax Service

Updated: May 23, 2019

TAX DEBT TIPS - OWE TAXES - IRS TAX RELIEF

FIVE TAX DEBT TIPS - OWING BACK TAXES If you owe back taxes to the IRS, it may feel as though you’ve been cast adrift upon a sea of uncaring bureaucracy. Don’t get yourself down, you have real tax settlement options and rights! In fact, there is a new “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” that was recently adopted by the IRS. Here are some guidelines to help you find your way safely back to shore.

IRS Tax Relief - Back Tax Tip #1

If at all possible, you should try to pay the owed amount on time and in full. This will avoid costly interest and penalties. Once IRS penalties accrue, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to convince the IRS to abate them.

If you cannot pay the IRS tax debt, you may be eligible to settle with the IRS through an Offer in Compromise.

IRS Tax Relief - Back Tax Tip #2

You have the right to provide more information to the IRS if you can substantiate your claim that you owe less tax or have a basis for penalty relief. (There are very specific, qualified reasons for IRS penalty relief, including illness or military service.) The right to provide more information is particularly useful if the IRS prepared your tax returns, with or without your direct involvement, such as may occur for long-term non-filers.

The IRS has a mechanism called a "Substitute for Return" to handle "non-filers". When the IRS decides to complete tax assessment for longtime non-filers, they aren’t going to be aware of all the possible deductions or credits you may be entitled to claim. In fact, the standard procedure is for the IRS to prepare your Substitute for Return using the standard deduction, no dependency exemptions, no credits, and using “married filing separate” filing status for married taxpayers. This procedure typically results in a tax liability much higher than warranted, and has the desired effect of forcing the non-filing taxpayer to file a correct return and get back into compliance.

IRS Tax Relief - Back Tax Tip #3

You can negotiate a repayment schedule; however, interest and penalties continue to accrue during the repayment period.

Warning: the IRS is very intolerant about late payments once a repayment agreement has been negotiated.

Even one late or missed payment defaults a repayment agreement, and you will have to start over to resolve your problem. In addition, the IRS will now view you as unreliable when you attempt to negotiate a new repayment schedule. For more information, see "Online Payment Agreements."

RELATED: What Is a Tax Levy?

IRS Tax Relief - Back Tax Tip #4

If you owe taxes because of noncompliance by your spouse, you may be eligible for “Innocent Spouse Relief.” IRS Publication 972 and Form 8857 will give you more information about whether you may be eligible for IRS tax relief from joint liability arising, for example, from unreported income your spouse neglected to mention.

IRS Tax Relief - Back Tax Tip #5

Perhaps, most importantly, you have the right to competent tax relief representation. This means that in some cases your best tax defense option for saving money will be to hire a qualified tax resolution professional to argue your case for you.

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Finally, don’t assume that your strategy for dealing with the IRS will work for any state taxes you may owe. Federal and state tax regulations are not the same, and each state has its own rules and requirements. You will have to address your state taxes separately. You can find your state regulations on your state government website.

Our IRS tax professionals hope the above information has helped you. Should you need further tax relief help, please call us for your free and confidential consultation.

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