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Is it possible to arrange an installment plan with the IRS for owed back taxes

Marietta, GA |

My husband and I need to pay back taxes, some of which are from the year 2000 for the amount (now, with penalties and fees) of $22,000 give or take. I read on the IRS' website that they have 10 years to collect back taxes. We want to pay the debt - all of it - but are afraid that they will ask us to pay the entire amount before 2010. We want to set up an installment plan with them, but doubtfully can pay the entire amount by 2010 without substantial hardship for us. Will they allow us, when we call, to set up a plan longer than a year? Or, do we have until the end of 2010 (effectively 2 years)?


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Filed under: Tax return Tax law
Attorney answers 2


The statue of limitations on collections begins to run from the date of filing of the original tax return. So if you timely filed your 2000 tax return by April 15, 2001, the Service has until April 15, 2011 to collect the taxes. Depending on your particular financial circumstances, you cen either request an installment agreement designed to full pay the debt by the time the collection statute runs, or you can make an offer in compromise. The offer in compromise may allow you to pay the Service monthly until the statute of limitations ultimately run. Typically with an offer in compromise you do not fully pay the entire liability. If you fulfill the terms of the offer in compromise, the liability is fully satisfied, and any tax liens can be released.


Another option may be to voluntarily extend the IRS' collection statute end date (CSED) to allow for full payment of the debt through an installment agreement that goes beyond the initial Statute of Limitation (CSED). Although not definite, the IRS will refer unpaid accounts to the Department of Justice for the filing of a civil suit in efforts to convert the unpaid assessment to a judgment. The best thing to do is be proactive about resolution and not wait and hope that the CSED has expired.

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