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IRS Updates

New IRS Fresh Start Initiative Helps Taxpayers Who Owe Taxes

1. Installment agreements An installment agreement is a payment option for those who cannot pay their entire tax bill by the due date. The Fresh Start provisions give more taxpayers the ability to use streamlined installment agreements to catch up on back taxes and also more time to pay.

The new threshold for requesting an installment agreement has been raised from $25,000 to $50,000. This option requires limited financial information, meaning far less burden to the taxpayer. The maximum term for streamlined installment agreements has been raised to six years from the current five-year maximum.

If your debt is more than $50,000, you'll still need to supply the IRS with a Collection Information Statement (Form 433-A or Form 433-F). You also can pay your balance down to $50,000 or less to qualify for this payment option.

With an installment agreement, you'll pay less in penalties, but interest continues to accrue on the outstanding balance. In order to qualify for the new expanded streamlined installment agreement, you must agree to monthly direct debit payments.

You can set up an installment agreement with the IRS through the On-line Payment Agreement (OPA) page at www.irs.gov

2. Offer in Compromise Under the first round of Fresh Start in 2011, the IRS expanded the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed.

The IRS recognizes many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills so the agency has been working on more common-sense changes to the OIC program to more closely reflect real-world situations.

Generally, an offer will not be accepted if the IRS believes that the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer’s ability to pay.

If you would like assistance in making an Offer in Compromise, call for an appointment.

3. More information A series of eight short videos are available to familiarize taxpayers and practitioners with the IRS collection process. The series "Owe Taxes? Understanding IRS Collection Efforts," is available on the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

The IRS website has a variety of other online resources available to help taxpayers meet their payment obligations.

Links:

YouTube Video:

Fresh Start - English