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San Jose, CA tax law attorney for IRS installment agreementsCompliance with tax laws is a requirement for people and businesses in the United States, but some taxpayers may struggle to pay the taxes they owe. A person who has unpaid taxes may worry that they will be subject to collection actions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) such as wage garnishment or tax liens. Currently, this is a major concern for those who have experienced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its ongoing efforts to address these issues, the IRS has given taxpayers more options for paying the taxes they owe through installment agreements.

Installment Agreements Under the Taxpayer Relief Initiative

Taxpayers with outstanding tax liabilities have the option to pay off the amount they owe over time by making regular payments to the IRS. To qualify for an installment agreement, a taxpayer will need to have filed all required tax returns and tax forms. To address the financial issues that many people have experienced due to the COVID-19 crisis, the IRS has created a Taxpayer Relief Initiative that has expanded people’s ability to use installment agreements. The changes made under this program include:

  • While installment agreements had previously been available to individual taxpayers who owed up to $50,000 in taxes, penalties, and interest, this option is now available for certain individual taxpayers who owe up to $250,000. These taxpayers may be able to set up installment agreements without the requirement to provide financial statements verifying their monthly income and without the need for the IRS to file a federal tax lien.
  • The time limit for paying off tax debts through short-term installment agreement plans has been increased from 120 days to 180 days.
  • For taxpayers who have existing installment agreements, the IRS will automatically add certain types of taxes owed in subsequent tax years to their balance rather than causing them to default on their agreement.
  • Taxpayers who use direct debit to make payments in an installment agreement can use the IRS’s Online Payment Agreement system to request changes to their agreement, such as lowering the amount of their payments or changing the payment due dates.

The Taxpayer Relief Initiative also provides several other options for those who owe taxes. In some cases, taxpayers may request that the IRS delay collection of taxes until their financial situation improves. Taxpayers may also be able to negotiate offers in compromise with the IRS to pay taxes owed, or they may qualify for penalty abatement relief if they can show reasonable cause for failure to file tax returns or failure to pay taxes.

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San Jose tax lawyer for IRS debt reliefThe coronavirus has dramatically impacted people’s lives in the United States and across the globe. Many individuals have been temporarily or even permanently laid off from work or have been forced to reduce their work hours significantly. The financial consequences of the virus itself and the attempts to curb the spread of the virus have left many families wondering how they will pay their bills. In a move to provide financial relief to struggling taxpayers in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented a new program called the “People First Initiative.” The program provides relief for individuals and businesses through extended filing deadlines, postponed payments, and limited enforcement actions. The deadline for filing federal tax returns has been extended to July 15 and many states, including California, are also offering extensions for state tax returns.

Existing Installment Plans and Offers in Compromise

The IRS offers several options for taxpayers who cannot fulfill their tax obligations. One of these options is to pay their tax bill in installments over time through a payment plan called an installment agreement. Another option that is available in some situations is an “offer in compromise” (OIC). An OIC is an agreement between the IRS and a taxpayer with a tax debt that settles the debt for less than the original amount owed. Individuals who are paying off tax debt through an installment agreement may postpone payments until July 15 of this year. The IRS has also announced that it will not default on installment agreements during this time period. However, interest on the unpaid amount will continue to accumulate.

If you have a pending application for an offer in compromise, the IRS is increasing the amount of time you have to provide any requested documentation or information. The agency has also promised that it will not close any pending OIC requests before July 15 unless the taxpayer agrees to close the request. Those currently making OIC payments have the option to suspend payments until July 15, but interest will continue to accumulate. Furthermore, the IRS has stated that it will not default on OICs for individuals who are delinquent on their 2018 tax return during the relief period.

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