Tax season is a stressful time for many individuals and businesses, especially when they are unable to pay their taxes in full. With penalties and interest accruing on unpaid balances, it can be overwhelming to navigate the tax code and determine how to proceed. However, there are options available to those struggling with tax debt that can help alleviate the burden. In this article, we will discuss expert advice on what you can do if you’re facing tax trouble.
Understanding Your Options
Before taking any action, it’s important to understand your options when dealing with unpaid taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers several programs aimed at helping taxpayers who cannot pay their balance in full:
A payment plan allows taxpayers to pay off their balance over time through monthly installments. This option provides flexibility as taxpayers can adjust payments based on their budget without accruing additional interest or penalties.
Offer in Compromise
An offer in compromise (OIC) is an agreement between the taxpayer and IRS where the taxpayer pays less than what they owe due to financial hardship or other circumstances. OICs require detailed documentation of one’s financial situation but could potentially provide significant savings in terms of reducing overall debt owed.
Currently Non-Collectible Status
Individuals who cannot afford payments even under a payment plan may qualify for currently non-collectible status which temporarily suspends enforcement actions including liens against property until their financial ability improves.
If you find yourself unable to pay your taxes by April 15th deadline here are some steps you should take:
Firstly try communicating with IRS proactively instead of waiting for them contact you about the balance owing or potential collection activity. The earlier communication helps alleviate stress around uncertainty surrounding one’s account and establish line of communication that may bring better resolution than ignoring escalating notices from IRS.
File your return on time
Filing a timely tax return, even if you can’t pay the full amount due, will help to avoid additional penalties for late filing. If possible, pay whatever you can afford as it would reduce the overall interest that IRS charges over time and shows effort towards honoring one’s tax liabilities.
Seek help from experts
If negotiating with the IRS seems overwhelming or out of your scope seek professional advice. Certified Public Accountants(CPAs) Enrolled Agents(EAs), Lawyers and Tax Coaches are professionals who could provide guidance in terms of options available to taxpayers under different scenarios based on their experience.
Avoiding Tax Trouble in Future
Learning from one’s situation is the best remedy for avoiding such situations in future. Here are some suggestions:
Budgeting & Saving
Building budget around taxes ahead of time would allow individuals be more prepared when it comes to paying taxes owed . Similarly Making small regular payments throughout year into savings account specifically set aside for payments toward federal taxing authority helps avoiding bigger lump sum payment plus penalty at once towards annual tax bill..
Keep Good Records
Maintain accurate financial records throughout year avoids surprises during later stages of preparing tax returns or estimated taxation options ensuring that nothing was missed .
When faced with owing more than you expected after completing your income-tax return things may seem like they cannot get any worse but there are solutions where relief is achievable through means like installment agreements, offers-in-compromise settled over shorter period instead of years out or currently non-collectible status which does not prevent collection activity only delays it while extending ones financial recovery goals allowing better opportunity towards resolving debt long term. Communicating early showing initiative by remaining compliant lowers anxiety ,and establishing lines of communication often bring better resolution then ignoring escalating notices from taxing authorities . In conclusion, don’t let unpaid taxes cause undue stress; take action to resolve them as soon as possible with knowledge from experts..
Q: What should I do if I can’t pay my taxes on time?
A: If you cannot pay your taxes on time, it is important to take action before the due date. You can file a tax extension using IRS Form 4868 to give yourself an additional six months to file your return. Additionally, you may be able to arrange a payment plan with the IRS by applying for an installment agreement or requesting an Offer in Compromise.
Q: What are my options if I receive a notice of federal tax lien?
A: A notice of federal tax lien (NFTL) indicates that the IRS has a legal claim against your property because of unpaid taxes. If you receive an NFTL, you have several options including paying off the debt in full or negotiating a settlement with the IRS through an Offer in Compromise or installment agreement.
Q: Can choosing not to file my taxes result in penalties and interest charges?
A: Yes, there are consequences for failing to file and pay your taxes on time, including penalties and interest charges that accumulate over time until the balance is paid off. It’s better to file and communicate with the IRS about repayment than avoiding it altogether as this can lead to further financial issues down the road.