The stress alone of owing back taxes to the IRS is enough to drive you crazy. When you add in the fact that you have to eventually pay your balance, it’s difficult to imagine a way out.
However, even if you don’t have the money to pay your balance in full, there are steps you can take to satisfy the IRS and put your mind at ease.
Here are some of the most common ways to pay back taxes:
- Installment agreement: Also known as a payment plan, it allows you to repay the money you owe over the long term. The type of agreement you secure is based largely on how soon you can begin payments and the amount that you owe. Generally speaking, an installment agreement is best for situations in which you can’t pay the balance in full within 120 days.
- Request an extension: Should you be confident in your ability to pay your balance within 120 days, you can request a short-term extension from the IRS. While there is no fee for doing so, there is a 0.5% penalty per month on the balance.
- Offer in compromise: This is a way to settle your tax debt with the IRS for less than the balance. If you can prove that you’re unable to repay your liability through other means, such as an installment agreement, you may be able to negotiate an offer in compromise. It’s a way to escape your tax debt for less than the full amount.
- Use a loan or credit card: It’s not the right choice for everyone, especially because the IRS has several reasonable options, but you may decide that it’s best to owe money to someone else as opposed to the IRS. In this case, a personal loan or credit card may be the best route. Once you pay the IRS, they’re happy. Now, you can turn your attention to making payments on your loan or credit card.
The best way to avoid complications is to never fall behind on your tax payments. However, since this is easier said than done, you may have to learn more about your options and legal rights at some point.