Your options if you can't pay the tax you owe

Don’t hope that the IRS will go away; they won’t. If you can afford to pay the amount you owe, pay it as soon as possible to limit penalties and interest. If you haven’t yet filed back tax returns, that should be done immediately; we’d be happy to help.

If you cannot afford to pay your tax debt, you have three options.

Option #1: Enter into an installment agreement

The first option is to enter into an installment agreement with the IRS, which is accomplished by filling Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, or by going through an online process. You’ll find the link for that online process on our Helpful Links page.

Option #2: Offer in compromise

The second option, which is quite a bit more difficult, is an offer in compromise. This option is available to those taxpayers who do not and will not have the financial resources to eventually pay their tax debt. This is where you need professional assistance. Also, please be aware that the “pennies on the dollar” claims you see in the media are fraudulent. The IRS has issued a consumer alert advising taxpayers to beware of such claims.

Option #3: Currently not collectible

The third option is to be placed in CNC, or Currently Not Collectible, status. This option is available to taxpayers who do not have the financial resources to pay their tax debt, but may have those resources in the future. Again, professional service is usually required to pursue this avenue.

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