Due to the current economic climate, more taxpayers are finding themselves with significant outstanding tax debt. Many taxpayers owe both the Internal Revenue Service and their state (or states) for multiple years. Some taxpayers are simply overwhelmed by the numerous IRS Notices and Letters from the IRS that they receive. In actuality, there are numerous ways to resolve outstanding tax liabilities. However many taxpayers chose the worst choice of action; which is to do nothing. Taxpayers that simply do not respond to attempts to collect outstanding debts debt find themselves the subject of increasingly more aggressive collection efforts by the IRS and State tax agencies. Eventually the IRS and State tax agencies will resort to filing tax levies and tax liens on bank accounts and properties or start a wage garnishment in attempt to collect the outstanding tax debt. Unfortunately due to the amount of time that has passed since the initial notice, many taxpayers are shocked to find that the balances owed may have increased by 50% or more due to the various penalties and interest assessed.
A fairly new and less used IRS tax settlement option is the Partial Payment Installment Agreement. The IRS implemented this additional payment option, on January 17, 2005, specifically for taxpayers who have outstanding federal tax debt. The legislation includes language amending Internal Revenue Code and allows the IRS to enter into installment agreements that result in full or partial payment of the tax debt. What is so different is that prior to enactment of this 2004/2005 legislation, taxpayers who could not fully pay their outstanding tax liabilities could only enter into an installment agreement with the IRS for full payment of the liability. For those with limited monthly cash flow, this left some unable to meet the repayment plan criterion and put them at risk for default.
For those with an inability to pay the full balance of a tax debt, prior to the partial payment installment agreement, the only option to settle a tax debt was the Offer in Compromise. The process of submitting an offer in compromise is generally more involved than the partial payment installment agreement. Of course both tax settlement options are carefully reviewed by the IRS and acceptance is limited to taxpayers that can clearly demonstrate the inability to settle tax liabilities in full.
Taxpayers who are being considered for a partial payment installment agreement to settle an outstanding tax debt must be able to provide complete and accurate financial information that will be carefully reviewed and verified. Taxpayers will also be expected to use equity in assets to reduce or fully pay the amount of the outstanding tax debt liability.
In addition, taxpayers granted partial payment installment agreements will be subject to a complete financial review every two years. As a result of this review, the amount of the installment payments could increase or the agreement could be terminated, if the taxpayer’s financial condition improves.
While the partial payment installment agreement has drawbacks, it does provide taxpayers with another tax settlement option. A qualified tax settlement firm can help you evaluate your specific situation and present you with your options to revolve your outstanding tax debt.