Paying taxes is one thing most Americans would gladly give up in a heartbeat if it were legal. According to figures from the Congressional Budget Office, an average of 937,514 Americans fails to pay their taxes, estimated to be $458 million every year. Most Americans usually wait until the last minute to file their taxes. Apart from the risk of being late, it leaves no time to deal with any irregularities that may arise. This usually results in taxpayers finding themselves in a position where they need competent IRS help.
The truth is that settling your debts with the IRS is complex and often requires a tax professional to help you through the process. In this article, I will share with you some tips on getting IRS help.
How to Get in Contact With the IRS
The IRS is accessible to the public in many ways. You can get in contact with the IRS through the following methods.
- Phone Calls: Although calling may not necessarily solve all your problems, it is a great way to seek clarification on fundamental tax issues. Be prepared to wait on the line, especially during tax season. Here are Toll-free IRS helpline numbers you can call:
- 1-800-829-1040 For queries regarding personal income taxes
- 1-800-829-3676 to order forms and instructions
- 1-800-829-4477 to listen to pre-recorded messages on various tax topics
- 1-877-777-4778 to get in touch with the taxpayer advocate.
- IRS Website: This is the fastest way to download all the forms and publications you need. Frequently asked questions and tax law changes are readily available on the IRS website. But you would still have to know where to look.
- IRS Offices: Schedule a visit to your local IRS office. You will likely have to deal with long queues. I would not recommend this, along with using snail mail and fax.
Before Paying: The IRS Helps Verify What You Owe
For those who have already set-up an online account with the IRS, checking your balance should be quite simple. Just log in using your phone or laptop and check your balance. I advise all my clients to take advantage of this service and sign up.
Taxpayers with no accounts can request their balances through the mail or by calling the customer service number 1-800-908-9946. It is not recommended to pay first and ask questions later. Request by mail usually takes up to 10 days. Comparing the dates on the notices to any payments you made recently can help you spot irregularities. Be aware that the notice may not be up to date. My advice is to seek IRS help from a tax expert if you cannot make sense of the numbers.
Set Up A Payment Plan
Settling your account with the IRS is essential, but not more important than food or rent. Ensure that you have taken care of other bills like rent, food, and insurance before paying your tax debt. While paying your tax balance once and on-time is commendable, if you can’t afford it, setting up a payment plan with IRS that works for you is a great alternative.
This is one of the easiest ways to get IRS off your back. Under installment agreements, the IRS helps taxpayers to clear their balances by making small manageable payments over a period of time. This does not in any way reduce the amount you owe. The process begins with the taxpayer filling Instalment Agreement Request also known as Form 9465. This option is only available to taxpayers who owe $50,000 or less and have updated tax returns for the previous year.
Currently, Not Collectible
Paying taxes is hard for everyone, but it is impossible if you can barely cover the basics. To qualify for this type of tax relief, the IRS looks at basic expenditures on food, clothing, housing, and utilities.
The above items are compared against the taxpayer’s income to determine if they qualify. The first step is mailing a Form 433-F or calling the IRS helpline. For one to be eligible for CNC, you must have filled all your tax returns from the previous years. If successful, the taxpayer is exempted from paying any taxes that year.
Apply for Offer in Compromise
This program allows the taxpayer to negotiate with the IRS on the best possible way of paying their debt. To initiate the process the taxpayer completes Form 656-B (**no B here, this should just be Form 656- B is for business only), accompanied with relevant documents like non-assets, income received and expenses.
The IRS evaluates the taxpayer’s non-cash assets, monthly surplus income, and their future income projections before arriving at an agreeable number. The amount is to be fully paid within two years. The most appealing part of OIC is that any other tax debt is forgiven, offering the taxpayer a fresh start.
Apply for Penalty Abatement
The biggest challenge to paying your back taxes is the penalty. Penalties can amount to almost 5% of the tax debt per month. Fortunately, the IRS has a penalty abatement program that can reduce these penalties. If you are lucky, the program can even remove all your penalties.
Avoid Paying Your Tax with A Credit Card
The convenience of paying your tax with your credit card may seem too good to pass up on. I warn my clients about the use of credit cards for tax purposes. For one, the rewards you stand to gain such as airline miles will mean nothing if you can’t afford food to eat.
Some of the rewards also come with restrictions. Using a credit card also means you end up paying more, the debt continues to accrue interest until you settle your credit card balance. Most companies charge a convenience fee which adds to your tax.
Get IRS Help from A Tax Professional
The Tax Code is composed of over 75,000 pages, making it one of the longest federal rules. It is also very complex and requires in-depth knowledge and experience. This is why you should let a tax professional like True Resolve Tax help you with your IRS problems. Tax experts are trained to help you reach a favorable settlement with the IRS. At True Resolve Tax, we offer a free consultation, and we can arrange a face to face meeting if you are from Denver.
Ignoring your tax problems will only get you in more trouble such as wage garnishment, bank levies, and tax liens. It is never too late to put your taxes in order. Call 720-262-2506 today and get professional IRS help.