Tax Relief During COVID-19: How taxpayers struggling with tax debts can benefit.
If you are struggling financially because of the pandemic you should tap into the IRS’ newest program – the “Taxpayer Relief Initiative” – with its expanded taxpayer options for making payments and alternatives to resolve balances owed.
On November 2, 2020 The Internal Revenue Service announced a number of changes designed to help struggling taxpayers impacted by COVID-19 more easily settle their tax debts with the IRS by establishing a new program called the “Taxpayer Relief Initiative”. This program follows what was previously established by the IRS earlier in 2020, specifically the “People First Initiative”.
Taxpayers who owe always had options to seek help through payment plans and other tools from the IRS, but the new IRS Taxpayer Relief Initiative is expanding on those existing tools even more.
The revised COVID-related collection procedures will be helpful to taxpayers, especially those who have a record of filing their returns and paying their taxes on time.
Among the highlights of the Taxpayer Relief Initiative:
- Taxpayers who qualify for a short-term payment plan option may now have up to 180 days to resolve their tax liabilities instead of 120 days.
- The IRS is offering flexibility for some taxpayers who are temporarily unable to meet the payment terms of an accepted Offer in Compromise.
- The IRS will automatically add certain new tax balances to existing Installment Agreements, for individual and out of business taxpayers. This taxpayer-friendly approach will occur instead of defaulting the agreement, which can complicate matters for those trying to pay their taxes.
- To reduce burden, certain qualified individual taxpayers who owe less than $250,000 may set up Installment Agreements without providing a financial statement or substantiation if their monthly payment proposal is sufficient.
- Some individual taxpayers who only owe for the 2019 tax year and who owe less than $250,000 may qualify to set up an Installment Agreement without a notice of federal tax lien filed by the IRS.
- Additionally, qualified taxpayers with existing Direct Debit Installment Agreements may now be able to use the Online Payment Agreement system to propose lower monthly payment amounts and change their payment due dates.
Additional details on the Taxpayer Relief Initiative
The IRS offers options for short-term and long-term payment plans, including Installment Agreements via the Online Payment Agreement (OPA) system. In general, this service is available to individuals who owe $50,000 or less in combined income tax, penalties and interest or businesses that owe $25,000 or less combined that have filed all tax returns. The short-term payment plans are now able to be extended from 120 to 180 days for certain taxpayers.
Installment Agreement options are available for taxpayers who cannot full pay their balance but can pay their balance over time. The IRS expanded Installment Agreement options to remove the requirement for financial statements and substantiation in more circumstances for balances owed up to $250,000 if the monthly payment proposal is sufficient. The IRS also modified Installment Agreement procedures to further limit requirements for Federal Tax Lien determinations for some taxpayers who only owe for tax year 2019.
In addition to payment plans and Installment Agreements, other solutions for taxpayers who owe taxes include Temporarily Delaying Collection Actions, applying for an Offer in Compromise and Relief from Penalties through penalty abatement.
An Opportunity For Taxpayers Who Owe The IRS
Do not think that if you owe the IRS your tax problem will disappear because of the measures being considered by the government. Instead you should be utilizing this valuable time to get yourself prepared so that when activity in this nation regains momentum, you are ready to make the best offer or proposal to take control of your outstanding tax debts.
As a prerequisite to any proposal to the IRS, you must be in current compliance. That means if you have any outstanding income tax returns, they must be completed and submitted to IRS.
Also, if you are required to make estimated tax payments, you must be current in making those payments. Fortunately, as we are now at the end of 2020, taxpayers who expect to owe for 2020 should have their 2020 income tax returns done as early as possible in 2021 so that the 2020 liability can be rolled over into any proposal and the requirement to make estimated tax payments will start for 2021.
Remember that COVID-19 does not alter the tax laws, so all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do.
Also, the IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In instances where statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period and a taxpayer is not agreeing to extend such, the IRS will issue Notices of Deficiency and pursue other similar actions to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statute.
If you are having a tax issue, don’t go silent. Don’t ignore the notice arriving in your mailbox. Tax problems don’t get better with time.
What Should You Do?
You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Diego County (Carlsbad) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you. And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.