Are you drowning in back taxes and unable to pay what you owe? Have you considered a tax settlement to help you get a handle on your finances?
While it’s true that the IRS appears to be a big, scary, all-powerful entity that could (in theory) take your money, your assets, and even your home, wage garnishment and tax levies are actually the last resorts to collect unpaid tax debt.
In reality, the IRS is often happy to reach an agreement that gives the agency a portion of the tax money owed and allows the IRS to close out your case. Such an agreement is called a tax settlement. (And the same goes for state tax debt. Your state tax organization is most likely willing to listen to a settlement offer, too.)
A tax settlement may allow you to settle your case for less than the original amount of money owed. You might also negotiate for a more favorable payment plan.
The bad news, however, is that it’s not easy to negotiate a tax settlement on your own. It’s hard to even reach the IRS by phone, and when you do reach them you will be only be able to talk to a customer service representative and the all the information you provide can be held against you.
So what’s a taxpayer in trouble to do? A number of tax relief companies and tax attorneys are ready and willing to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, potentially saving you money and giving you more time to pay your tax debt. Solvable is here to help you sort through your options.
There are a number of dangers inherent in not paying your tax debt or failing to negotiate a tax settlement if you cannot pay your taxes in full. The IRS can threaten (and take) legal action. The organization can garnish your wages, place a tax levy on your property, and even take away your passport so you lose the right to travel as you please. Keep in mind, avoiding your tax debt is a prosecutable felony that can cost you tens of thousands in legal fees to defend yourself.
Unlike other creditors, who all must get in line behind the IRS to collect what they are owed, the IRS can legally take your retirement funds, paycheck, home, car, and even your business.
Of course, if you can manage to dodge the IRS, there is a slim chance you can get away without paying your tax debt long enough that the statute of limitations (10 years) will expire. But the IRS continues to streamline their operations and processes and to add more staff each year, with the sole purpose of being able to collect unpaid tax debts more efficiently.
And who wants to live every day in fear that your tax debt will catch up to you? You could ultimately lose everything you own. In fact, you could face up to five years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and the cost of prosecution, not to mention the legal fees you’ll spend trying to defend yourself.
Tax Settlement: An Easier Alternative
Tax settlement, while not exactly painless, represents a much easier alternative. Not every taxpayer is eligible for a settlement, but it’s worth talking to a tax debt relief firm to see if you may qualify.
Tax debt relief programs aren’t easy to understand. They are based on complex tax laws and have strict requirements for qualification. Additionally, you’ll need to show the IRS just how much you can (and can’t) afford to pay. You’ll want to tax relief firm to negotiate an agreement that you can afford. And if you negotiate an installment agreement, you’ll want to ensure that it leaves you enough money to live on. You’ll want to be able to pay your rent or mortgage, buy gas for your car so you can get to work, and have money to eat and pay other bills, too.
Trying to negotiate a tax settlement by yourself could leave you with too little options, or could lead you to make an offer that the IRS rejects. A reputable, experienced tax debt relief firm knows how to negotiate with the IRS to reach an equitable agreement and may be able to save you tens of thousands depending on your situation.
If you’re considering a tax settlement with help from a tax relief firm, you should understand the steps.
If you fail to file your tax returns on time and you owe the IRS money, or if you fail to pay your taxes on time, penalties and fees will be assessed. The IRS will attempt to collect the debt you owe. Failure to file your taxes could even result in a fine of up to $25,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.
It’s always best to meet all IRS deadlines or file an extension and, if necessary, communicate openly about your inability to pay your taxes.
Business owners have many of the same options as individual taxpayers, including negotiating a settlement agreement, an offer-in-compromise, a penalty abatement, or a 45-day extension. A tax attorney or tax debt relief firm that specializes in business taxes can help you.
An installment agreement is a payment plan for your tax bill. It’s an agreement you reach with the IRS that permits you to pay your tax bill in equal monthly installments over a period of years. In order to qualify, you must owe less than $50,000 in combined tax debt, interest, and penalties. If you owe business taxes, you must owe less than $25,000.
You must also be up to date on all your tax filings and, if you are a business owner, you cannot be behind on payroll taxes.
Your installment agreement is based on your income and the amount of taxes owed. A professional can help you negotiate a fair arrangement.
You can file for “Innocent Spouse Relief” using IRS form 8857 and the IRS may determine that you are not responsible for your spouse or ex-spouse’s back taxes. The paperwork to file is complex, and your spouse or ex-spouse will be notified that you filed the form. It’s best to seek professional tax help before endeavoring to apply for innocent spouse release.
An offer-in-compromise is another agreement you can reach with the IRS. This option is even more favorable, because it could actually lower your tax bill.