The fastest way to resolve your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) back taxes is to pay them in full. You will need to include any interest or penalties that have accrued on the IRS back taxes since they were originally assessed. These can add up quickly and account for thousands of dollars in IRS back taxes. However, most taxpayers do not have the available funds to fully repay their taxes and must resolve their debt through one of the IRS’s settlement programs.
If you can afford to pay all of your IRS back taxes, but not in one lump sum payment, then you should consider an Installment Agreement (IA) with the IRS. An IA is a monthly payment plan to the IRS based upon how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay. However, the IRS is only willing to enter into an IA once a taxpayer has filed all of his or her necessary federal income tax returns. Therefore before attempting to get an IA you should make sure all of your tax returns from previous years are files.
If you cannot afford to pay on your IRS back taxes at all, then you might be interested in being placed on the IRS’ Currently Not Collectible status. To qualify for this type of relief you need to prove to the IRS that your monthly income is exceeded by your monthly necessary living expenses. The IRS is typically only willing to place a taxpayer into Currently Not Collectible status once the taxpayer has filed all of his or her necessary federal income tax returns.
If you cannot afford to pay your back taxes at all, you may qualify for an Offer in Compromise (OIC). An Offer in Compromise is a form of IRS back tax resolution. It requires the disclosure of extensive financial information in order to prove to the IRS that could not collect the full amount of back taxes the taxpayer currently owes. Specifically, the Offer in Compromise requires proving to the IRS that it could not collect your full back taxes over four or five years even if the IRS forced the sale of all assets that you currently own. The IRS is only willing to accept an Offer in Compromise once a taxpayer has filed all of his or her necessary federal income tax returns.
If your owed back taxes are from a few years back you may not actually need to do anything to resolve your back taxes. This is because the IRS only has ten years to collect back taxes from the date on which they were assessed. Therefore, if your unpaid back taxes are from 1997 or before, the IRS may not be able to collect those taxes anymore. However, there are events that can occur that will extend this timeframe, such as bankruptcy. To best ensure that your back taxes have expired, you may want to hire a tax professional to review your tax account with the IRS on your behalf.
As a last resort you could resolve your back taxes through filing for bankruptcy. However, there are a number of factors that must be considered before back taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy. First, you need to qualify for bankruptcy. Second, you need to properly file the bankruptcy. Third, you need to examine the age and type of back taxes. In general, recently assessed federal income back taxes cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Additionally, business-related federal payroll back taxes generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. If you are considering filing bankruptcy you should speak with a bankruptcy attorney regarding whether your IRS back taxes can be discharged in a bankruptcy.