Many people are surprised to find out that you can actually negotiate with the IRS if you owe back taxes. There is something called an Offer in Compromise, which means you negotiate your debt down and make one lump payment. There are also monthly payment plan options. These are the things we've learned from dealing with the IRS for thousands of clients on the best way to get a payment plan accepted.
#1 Understand how long this will take. The IRS's hold times are accurate. If the message says it's going to be 60 minutes, it's going to be at least that long. Don't be afraid to use the hold time to sit, relax, and enjoy the music. Be sure you allocate enough time. It can very well take two hours on the phone to set up a very simple payment plan for a very low tax balance.
#2 Calling the IRS early in the morning or later at night will yield shorter hold times. Be aware, the IRS offices are located all around the country. The best time to call is either early — like 8 am/5 am Eastern/Pacific, or late — like 7 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific.
#3 Be polite. Most of the representatives deal with people who want to yell at them all day. Be kind, make small talk, ask how the weather is where they are located. This is always helpful as agents will go out of their way for polite tax payers. They are not to blame for the long hold times.
#4 Be prepared. If you are trying to get into a repayment plan for under $25,000, you probably won't need financial information to prove your ability to pay. If you owe more than that you probably will. If you are calling a toll-free number, there's a good chance you should fill out Form 433-F before calling. Be aware, there are significant traps lurking in 433-F.
#5 Don't agree to repay something you know you just can't afford. Too many taxpayers feel bullied into taking a deal, but don't know their options. If you owe a lot in taxes and have a limited source of repayment, IRS tax debt settlement programs can really help, but it must be set up in your best interest.
#6 You have the right to appeal. If you have not defaulted on a tax payment plan in the past, you can request an appeal.
#7 You may be transferred. You may be transferred many times. And you may find out that you have been assigned a revenue officer for field collection, or you are transferred to the high-dollar unit. In either case, these are the most severe types of collections cases, and those are the types of cases in which tax attorneys like our firm tend to be able to provide value.
#8 Be sure you are current. The IRS will not accept a payment plan unless your withholdings are correct or you have been current with your estimated filings if you are self-employed.
So before you call the IRS about that tax payment plan…
Hopefully, you now know what you are up against. Calling the IRS to set up a tax payment plan is not one of the most comfortable things in the world. Some people are able to handle it themselves, others look to professionals to make sure the best deal is reached and that a sensitive issue is properly handled. If you need assistance trying to come up with the best plan of attack, contact us for a free consultation. We can help. Call us at 888-727-8796 or email email@example.com.
Many of our clients find that a good place to start is with our Total Tax Diagnosis. It's reasonably priced and will tell you exactly what the IRS thinks about you without raising any red flags. Click here for more information.