Even the best of intentions does not always materialize. You completed and filed your federal income tax return, but suddenly you realize that you do not have the money to pay the tax amount due. Now what?! Do you not file the tax return? Do you send the tax return without money? Lucky for you, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has several options for you to pay the tax amount owed and file your tax return on time. 

One of these options is the Installment Agreement. If you cannot pay the full tax amount owed to the IRS in less than 120 days, the IRS allows you to pay your debt down into monthly installments. This allows you to pay down your tax debt while incurring less penalties and interest since the amount owed would be smaller. It also allows you to avoid wage garnishments, bank levies, tax liens and collections. Furthermore, paying against your tax debt will demonstrate your “good faith” to the IRS.

The IRS allows you to determine the amount your minimum monthly payment will be based upon what you can afford. However, they do encourage you to pay as much as possible to avoid additional fees, penalties, and interest. If you offer the IRS an offer that they believe is too low or if you neglect to inform them of the amount you wish to pay monthly, they will simply take the total amount of tax due and divide it into 72 monthly payment installments. 

If you meet certain IRS criteria for an installment agreement, you or your business may be guaranteed eligibility for an installment plan. Even better, the IRS does not require you to complete a financial statement or verification for a Guaranteed Installment Agreement.

Here are some of the criteria you must meet for a guaranteed installment agreement:

  • You have filed all required tax returns.
  • You agree to file and pay all future tax returns on time.
  • You owe $10,000 or less in tax debt.
  • You agree to allow the IRS to use all future tax return refunds to pay down your tax debt.
  • You agree to pay off your installment agreement within 72 months or less.

If you owe $50,000 in tax debt or less and do not qualify for a Guaranteed Installment Agreement, you may be eligible for a Streamlined Installment Agreement. Typically, this type of plan does not require you to complete financial statements or submit verification. The criteria for this type of plan are:

  • You have filed all required tax returns.
  • You owe $25,000 to $50,000 in tax debt.
  • You agree to file and pay all future tax returns on time.
  • You agree to pay off your installment agreement within 72 months or less.

The IRS has installment agreements for small businesses too. An In-Business Trust Fund Installment Agreement is best for small businesses that owe $25,000 or less in tax debt. Typically, this type of plan does not require you to complete financial statements or submit verification. The criteria for this type of plan are:

  • You have a small business with employees.
  • You have filed all required tax returns.
  • You agree to allow the IRS to use all future tax return refunds to pay down your tax debt.
  • You owe $25,000 or less in tax debt.
  • You agree to file and pay all future tax returns on time.
  • You agree to pay off your installment agreement within 24 months or less.

Each installment agreement discussed here have certain requirements, so it is best to consult a tax professional. Call today so that we can help you navigate the complex criteria. Our next blogs will further discuss options for dealing with the IRS and your tax debt so please visit us again.

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