Failing to pay back taxes can result in IRS audits, interests and penalties on back taxes, IRS wage garnishments and many more tax debt issues. But, the good news is that you have different options for dealing with your back taxes and tax debt, one of which is the IRS Payment plans. If you are unable to pay the owed tax amount, you have the option to apply for the IRS payment plan. A reputable tax relief company can help you setup IRS payment plans.
IRS payment plan is an agreement between the IRS and the taxpayers that allows you to pay the federal tax bill in monthly payments over a certain period of time. But, is it the right option for you? To determine this, you need to know about the Pros and Cons of IRS payment plans:
Pros of Signing Up for IRS Payment Plans
If you are going through financial hardships, you need to be honest with the IRS. You don’t have to panic. Pay what you can, file the returns by the deadline, and contact the federal agency for discussing the IRS payment plan. Here are the benefits of this route:
1. You might get an extension
If you don’t owe a lot of amounts and are sure that you can pay the taxes soon, the IRS can offer you a short-term extension. With this extension, you won’t have to worry about paying your taxes by the April deadline. Also, you will be able to avoid interest and some penalties. This way, you won’t have to take out a loan or put your taxes on a credit card. You will have enough time for paying back the owed amount.
2. The penalties might be waived
In some cases, the IRS might agree to waive the failure-to-pay penalties. However, the interest charges will remain as it is. You can still save a lot of money on the tax bill by getting rid of the penalties.
3. You will know exactly what you owe while setting up an IRS payment plan
When you are in an IRS payment plan, the IRS will tell you exactly what you owe and when it is due. If you sign up for direct debit, making the payments will be very easy. What you need to do is make the right budget. This way paying back the debt doesn’t put you in a financial crisis.
4. You might get an Offer in Compromise
If you are not able to pay your taxes because you have a low income, the IRS might offer you an offer in compromise to forgive your debt. This is a tax resolution option that allows you to pay less than what you owe. However, this option is available only to the people who are facing genuine financial hardship. When you apply for an offer in compromise, the IRS checks your expenses, income, ability to pay, assets, etc. You have to make a reasonable offer which is equal to or more than what the IRS expects to get back over a certain period of time. Only then, the IRS will agree to it.
However, before you apply for the OIC, you have to try an IRS payment plan first. To check if you are eligible, you can check the Offer in Compromise Pre-qualifier tool provided by the IRS. You will have to submit a non-refundable fee of $186. After that, you will have the option to either make periodic payments or make a lump sum payment. Taxpayers who meet the guidelines of the low-income certification don’t have to pay the initial payment of the application fee. While the IRS is evaluating the offer, you don’t have to pay the monthly payments anymore.
Cons of IRS Payment Plans
There are several cons of the IRS payment plans as well.
1. Back taxes Interest and penalties
Even with the IRS payment plan, the additional penalties and interest will be applied for each month until you pay off the complete debt. This means that ultimately, you will end up paying more than the actual owed amount by the time you finish making your monthly payments.
2. The IRS might still file a tax lien against you
If the IRS has a tax lien against you and you are not able to pay back your taxes, it gives them the right of seizing your property. The IRS will serve you a notice of lien. The notice will state that if you don't make immediate payments, the IRS will seize your assets. If even after receiving the notice of lien, you are not able to pay, then your assets like your house, vehicles, etc. can be sold for satisfying the debt.
3. Paying the sign-up fees
Until and unless you can pay your tax debt in less than 120 days, there is a fee associated with signing up for the IRS payment plan. The fee amount varies for taxpayers depending on their income. For low-income applicants, it costs $43 while for regular applicants of the IRS payment plan might have to pay as much as $225.
As you can see, the worst con of having an IRS payment plan is the interest and penalties that are accrued to the owed amount. So, the most significant disadvantage of having an IRS payment plan is that they are expensive. Also, if you miss a payment, it can damage your credit. Lastly, to apply for an IRS payment plan, you must have filed all the past year’s returns.
Clearly, the pros of the IRS payment plan far outweigh the cons. It makes paying off the debt more manageable. You won’t have to pay off the whole tax debt at once and avoid any collection actions from the IRS. Whether you are an individual taxpayer or a business owner who can’t pay off their debt, signing up for an IRS payment plan is the best option for you.
So, if you are one of the millions of Americans who can’t pay their tax bill, don’t panic. And definitely don’t hide. Be upfront about your situation instead of ignoring it and hoping it goes away. The IRS payment plan is the best option for people who are behind on the current year’s taxes and can't pay it within the deadline. However, you shouldn’t rely completely on this. The best pathway for you is to hire a tax resolution service. They have tax experts who can determine the best strategy for you.