The Internal Revenue Service on November 2, 2020 announced in IR-2020-248 a number of changes designed to help struggling taxpayers impacted by COVID-19 more easily settle their tax debts with the IRS.
Taxpayers who owe always had options to seek help through payment plans and other tools from the IRS, but the new IRS Taxpayer Relief Initiative is expanding on those existing tools even more.
The revised COVID-related collection procedures will be helpful to taxpayers, especially those who have a record of filing their returns and paying their taxes on time. Among the highlights of the Taxpayer Relief Initiative:
- Taxpayers who qualify for a short-term payment plan option may now have up to 180 days to resolve their tax liabilities instead of 120 days.
- The IRS is offering flexibility for some taxpayers who are temporarily unable to meet the payment terms of an accepted Offer in Compromise.
- The IRS will automatically add certain new tax balances to existing Installment Agreements, for individual and out of business taxpayers. This taxpayer-friendly approach will occur instead of defaulting the agreement, which can complicate matters for those trying to pay their taxes.
- To reduce burden, certain qualified individual taxpayers who owe less than $250,000 may set up Installment Agreements without providing a financial statement or substantiation if their monthly payment proposal is sufficient.
- Some individual taxpayers who only owe for the 2019 tax year and who owe less than $250,000 may qualify to set up an Installment Agreement without a notice of federal tax lien filed by the IRS.
- Additionally, qualified taxpayers with existing Direct Debit Installment Agreements may now be able to use the Online Payment Agreement system to propose lower monthly payment amounts and change their payment due dates.
Installment Agreement options are available for taxpayers who cannot full pay their balance but can pay their balance over time.
The IRS Expanded Installment Agreement Options To Remove The Requirement For Financial Statements And Substantiation
In More Circumstances For Balances Owed Up To $250,000 If The Monthly Payment Proposal Is Sufficient.
The IRS also modified Installment Agreement procedures to further limit requirements for Federal Tax Lien determinations for some taxpayers who only owe for tax year 2019.
In addition to payment plans and Installment Agreements, the IRS offers additional tools to assist taxpayers who owe taxes:
- Temporarily Delaying Collection — Taxpayers can contact the IRS to request a temporary delay of the collection process. If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until the taxpayer's financial condition improves.
- Offer in Compromise — Certain taxpayers qualify to settle their tax bill for less than the amount they owe by submitting an Offer in Compromise.
- Relief from Penalties — The IRS is highlighting reasonable cause assistance available for taxpayers with failure to file, pay and deposit penalties. First-time penalty abatement relief is also available for the first time a taxpayer is subject to one or more of these tax penalties.
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