Statistically, only about one out of six dollars owed to the federal government through taxes will actually get paid. The rest of that money rarely gets back to the government, which contributes to the growing deficit.
While it’s not good that the government’s underfunded, this statistic might spark some hope in citizens that owe the government right now. If you fall into that category, then rest assured that tax relief is not only possible but also achievable.
Are you wondering what your tax relief options are, whether you qualify, and how to apply to a tax relief program? If so, then you’re in the right place! Learn everything you need to know about your tax relief options below.
What is Tax Relief? Understanding Your Options
Do you owe back taxes? If you haven’t been paying taxes over the past few years and you make a significant amount each year, then there’s a very good chance that you owe money to the government, whether you realize it or not. More likely, though, you’ve received notices from the IRS about your tax situation.
At this point, they may even be threatening to penalize you if you don’t settle your tax debt. That’s because the IRS knows how much you owe, whether you file your taxes or not.
The good news is that you can reconcile your tax debt. If you can’t afford to pay off your entire balance right away, then don’t be scared away from taking action. Instead, learn more about your tax relief options and decide how to move forward.
If you know you can’t pay what you owe, consider communicating with the IRS about creating an Offer in Compromise (OIC) agreement. This tax relief option offers an overall reduced tax bill that you can pay over time and helps you avoid a significant amount in fees. Installment Agreements (IA) are similar plans that allow you to pay back the IRS in small payments.
When you’re really struggling financially, you may need to consider filing for Currently Non-Collectible (CNC) status. If you’re eligible to file under CNC, then the IRS will stop attempting to collect from you. Penalty abatement is another type of tax relief option that can help you reduce the overall amount you owe to the IRS in late fees.
Who Qualifies for Tax Relief?
Most Americans that owe back taxes qualify for tax relief, because most people who haven’t paid their taxes either cannot reasonably pay that amount without causing themselves financial hardship. There are exceptions to this, though, including Americans that decide not to pay their taxes for reasons other than financial distress.
For instance, Americans who don’t file or pay taxes because they don’t want to likely will not qualify for penalty abatement, OIC, or CNC. It’s possible that tax evaders may qualify for an installment plan, but that decision will need to be evaluated by the IRS.
Are you sure you weren’t evading your taxes on purpose? If so, then your eligibility to apply for tax relief will depend on:
- Whether you filed all your returns
- If you made estimated tax payments
- Your overall income and ability to pay
- Asset equity
To qualify for tax relief in the form of an OIC, you must have filed all your returns and received at least one bill for your tax debt. You’re not eligible to apply if you have an open bankruptcy case; on top of that, only about 40% of those who apply for OIC get approved.
To qualify for IA tax relief, you must owe less than $100,000 in taxes, penalties, and interest. You also must have filed all your tax returns. For most Americans, this is the best option. The IRS says that about 90% of individuals seeking IA are eligible to apply.
To qualify for CNC status, you must legitimately not be able to pay back your tax debt. You’ll need to prove that paying back your tax debt would create an unfair economic hardship. Your financial situation will be analyzed by the IRS to determine if you’re eligible.
To qualify for penalty abatement, you must prove to the IRS that you made a legitimate effort to comply with paying off your taxes, but you couldn’t financially do it.
How To Apply for Tax Relief
Do you think that you meet the eligibility requirements above? If so, then you’re likely wondering how to apply for tax relief and what the tax relief application process looks like. Below, we’ll go over the steps you should take.
Tax Relief Application Process:
Step 1: Collecting Your Documents
First, you’ll need to ensure that your finances are in order. Verify that you’ve filed all your tax returns from previous years, and then go about collecting documents that will prove your average income and expenses. If you have big assets, then it might be a good idea to get them valued as well. Depending on your situation and the reasoning behind why you didn’t pay taxes before, you may also want to collect documentation or proof that demonstrates your financial hardship. For instance, if you have an ill family member that you pay medical expenses for, then be sure to explain that to the IRS and provide proof.
Step 2: Speak With a Tax Consultant
Next, it’s a good idea to bring your documents and plans to a tax consultant to verify that you’re making the right moves. A proper tax consultant won’t blindly allow you to apply for any tax relief program and call it a day. Instead, they’ll take the time to understand your financial situation and reasons for not paying. They’ll also help you ensure that you’ve got the documentation to prove your claims.
From there, they’ll help you file your application and hopefully get your tax relief claims approved.
Step 3: File Your Application
As if filing your taxes wasn’t complicated enough, you’ll have to navigate the tricky process of locating the proper forms to fill out to apply for tax relief. If you hired a tax consultant in the previous step, then they’ll be a huge help here. If not, then you’ll need to find the proper forms through the IRS website.
Keep in mind that there is often a non-refundable application fee that goes along with filing for tax relief. This fee is substantial, too. To apply for an OIC agreement, you’ll shell out about $205 for the application fee alone.
Fill out your forms to the best of your ability, provide copies of your documented proof, and then mail everything off together directly to the IRS.
How Long Will it Take For My Tax Relief Application to Get Approved?
Due to the current pandemic situation, it’s not clear how long it will take for your tax relief application to get approved. You will get a notification about your application’s status by mail when it does get approved, though.
If you do receive an objection, it’s time to consider your options. Your fight may not be over yet—talk with a tax consultant about your situation and discuss your options for appealing the rejection. You have 30 days from receiving the rejection to consider filing an appeal.
Benefits of Filing for Tax Relief
The most obvious benefit of filing for tax relief is getting rid of back taxes for good! No longer will you have to worry about whether the IRS will penalize you by garnishing your wages, levying your accounts, or adding more fines to your overall balance. Once you’re approved for tax relief, you can rest easy knowing that you’re in good standing with the IRS, even if you owe a significant amount.
Another advantage of choosing to file for tax relief is having the option of paying less over time. Unless you can come up with a massive lump sum payment, then there’s a good chance you’ll be paying off the IRS over months or years. By filing for tax relief, you may end up paying less than you would in a lump sum, especially if you file for penalty abatement.
Do You Need Fast and Reliable Tax Relief Help?
In 2021, finding legitimate tax relief can feel a lot like swimming with sharks. This is especially true when you’re looking for solutions on the web. Despite that, real and fast tax relief is possible if you qualify and take the necessary steps required to apply for relief. Depending on your situation, it may also be in your best interests to hire a tax consultant to help you navigate the complicated process.
Due to the current pandemic situation, filing for tax relief and getting a consultant’s help can all take place online. We don’t recommend that you hire just anyone, though. Be sure to vet the tax consultant or company before you hire them.
Here at Tax Group Center, our tax consultant experts are standing by 24/7. When you’re ready to move forward with your tax relief claim, then don’t hesitate to give us a call directly at (800) 264-1869. If you’d prefer, leave your contact information on our online form, and we will reach out to you ASAP.