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Back taxes and tax debt

If you’re getting letters from the IRS about tax debt, you probably have a lot of questions about what to do next and how to handle paying the IRS. We have answers.

What is tax debt?

Guide to tax debt and relief

When you owe back taxes, it can be overwhelming. We can help you better understand everything so you can get back on track.

Tax File Minute: Answers from a Tax Insider

3 Levels of Back Taxes & Tax Debt

Back taxes

How to pay back taxes you owe to the IRS

If you’re getting letters from the IRS about your tax debt, you probably have a lot of questions about what to do next and how to handle paying the IRS. We have answers! Read on to learn more about your options and where you can turn for help when paying your back taxes.

How much do I owe the IRS? How to find out if you owe back taxes

Back taxes are simply money that you owe to the Internal Revenue Service. When you don’t pay your taxes or pay the wrong amount, you owe “back taxes.” If you continue to miss payments, you have “tax debt” that the IRS will try to collect.

How to file back taxes without records

If you're missing records that you need to file your taxes, this can complicate and delay the process of catching up on your tax returns. Here's what you can do if your records are missing and you want to file your back taxes with minimal delays.

Can you get a mortgage if you owe back taxes to the IRS?

In short, yes, you can. Having tax debt, also called back taxes, does not preclude you from qualifying for a mortgage by sheer virtue of having it. The long answer is that whether or not you will get the mortgage has less to do with the IRS, and more to do with the lender's guidelines.

How do I contact the IRS?

You can contact the IRS by phone, mail, or walking in/making an appointment at a local Taxpayer Assistance Center. The IRS typically does not email taxpayers.


Five steps to take if you owe taxes and can’t pay

It’s a terrible feeling. You’ve entered all of your information on your annual income tax return and find that you owe the Internal Revenue Service—and not just a little, but more than you can afford to pay.

Resolving Tax Debt

What happens if the IRS sends you to collections?

When you receive a tax bill, it’s important to take some form of action regardless of whether you agree with the assessment or have the means to pay. Ignoring the bill is never a good idea because the IRS starts the countdown for their collections process.

How to apply for tax debt relief or forgiveness from the IRS

The good news? Tax debt relief is possible. The not-so-good news? Not everyone qualifies for a settlement, but there are several options to explore and consider. The IRS offers a variety of tax debt relief programs and a lot of online tools and forms to make it easier to apply for them.

IRS fixed term payment plans (36-month, 72-month, full-pay)

Each year, millions of taxpayers set up an IRS payment plan when they cannot pay what’s owed upon filing their returns. IRS statistics show that over 70% use one of these payment plans.

How to settle tax debt for less

You might have heard about how it is possible to settle your IRS tax debt for less than the actual amount you owe. While it is not possible to get the IRS to let you off easily, there are some circumstances where you might be able to work out an Offer in Compromise (OIC).

What is the IRS “Fresh Start Initiative”?

Many taxpayers who owe back taxes to IRS still hear about the IRS “Fresh Start” Initiative on the airwaves. Many advertisements also tout Fresh Start as an opportunity to settle back taxes with the IRS.

How to get an IRS tax levy released

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a variety of options to satisfy delinquent debts owed by taxpayers. Some of its more infamous options include federal liens, wage garnishment, refund offsets, and levies.

What is Innocent Spouse Relief and how do I qualify?

For richer and for poorer? Absolutely, and when it comes Innocent Spouse Relief, even divorce and a court decree may not stop the IRS from pursuing unpaid taxes.


How to setup an IRS payment plan or installment agreement

Identifying the best installment payment plan and qualifying for it can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the basics of what these plans are and how they work.


The “real” cost of an IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC)

When taxpayers cannot pay their tax bill with their assets and monthly income, they may qualify for the IRS’s Offer in Compromise (OIC) program. The OIC for “Doubt as to Collectibility” allows taxpayers who are unlikely to be able to pay the IRS before the collection statute expires to settle their tax bill for less than the full amount.

What Is an IRS Offer In Compromise

An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is an IRS program that allows taxpayers to settle their outstanding debts for a lower amount than they owe. The IRS may reject the offer if it doesn’t meet their approval threshold, leaving taxpayers no option but to file an appeal or look to another IRS collection alternative (payment plan, currently not collectible status, extension to pay).

How Does the IRS Calculate My Reasonable Collection Potential for an Offer in Compromise?

A taxpayer may qualify for an offer in compromise (OIC) if the taxpayer cannot pay their tax bill with equity in assets and monthly installment payments before the collection statute of limitations expires. In an OIC, they can potentially settle their tax bill by offering the IRS their “reasonable collection potential” or “RCP.” 


Passport revocation or denial for severe tax debt

Having delinquent tax debt can have harsh consequences. This makes it important for you to understand the consequences and how to resolve these issues. One of those consequences is the government can stop you from getting, or seize, your passport.

Why Jackson Hewitt®?

We see you

Our Tax Pros will connect with you one-on-one, answer all your questions, and always go the extra mile to support you.

We got you

We have flexible hours, locations, and filing options that cater to every hardworking tax filer.

We fight for you

We won't stop until you get every dollar you deserve, guaranteed. It's what we've been doing for over 35 years.