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What are your options when you can’t pay your taxes?

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Tax time has come and gone, and many Missouri residents now wonder how they will pay the amounts they owe. No one wants to pay taxes, but ignoring this civic responsibility comes with dire consequences. If you are among the many who cannot afford to immediately pay the amount owed, you may be searching for a solution to this problem.

You don’t want the IRS to start garnishing your wages, levying your bank accounts or putting liens on your property. Instead, you want to find a way to deal with your balance that satisfies the obligation without much, if any, impact to your credit or your life.

The options

Fortunately, the IRS offers several options to pay your taxes depending on your circumstances, as indicated below:

  • Most people know about installment agreements, which put you on a payment plan if you cannot pay your full balance within 120 days. You will need to apply for this option and can choose from allowable payment methods.
  • You may qualify to receive an additional 120 days to pay the full balance if you just need a bit more time to get the funds together. You must pay the full amount owed by the deadline.
  • You might qualify for an offer in compromise, which gives you a certain amount of time to pay an agreed upon and reduced amount of your tax obligations.
  • Under certain circumstances, the IRS will delay attempting to collect any amount you may owe, at least temporarily. If your financial situation meets the requirements for this option, you will not have to pay until your financial situation improves, but interest and penalties may still accrue during this time.

The important thing to remember is that you should never ignore a notice from the IRS. The agency has a substantial amount of power when it comes to collecting taxes from those who owe them.

The next step

How do you know which of the above options you could make use of in your situation? The only way to know is to ask questions. The IRS cannot tell you what path to take, however. Instead, you would more than likely benefit from consulting with an experienced tax attorney to gain an understanding of the qualifications for each option, an understanding your rights in your contact with the agency and assistance in achieving the results you need and want.

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