Streamlined ("SLIA") and Fresh Start ("FSIA") Installment Agreements carry tremendous benefits, including prevention of levies, prevention of further lien filings, and in the case of a Streamlined, possible lien withdrawal.
Before you can get into a SLIA or FSIA, you will need to ensure that ALL of your tax returns have been filed, even if you will be getting a refund for some of the unfiled periods.
Ensure That Your Assessed Liability is Below the Appropriate Threshold
For a FSIA, your assessed balances must be below $50,000.00. For a SLIA, the assessed balances must be below $25,000.00. As a note, your total balance is not your assessed balance. Assessed balances are your balance per return or audit exam. They do NOT incorporate penalties and interest. You can call the IRS to request "Account Transcripts" which will show assessed balances for each period, or request Account Transcripts on the irs.gov website.
If Necessary, Pay Down to the Threshold
If your assessed balances are $26,000.00 or $53,000.00 (or just over the threshold in any form), you may wish to pay down to get into a SLIA or FSIA. Do not simply send the IRS a check. Prepare a check and a letter with explicit instructions all over both the letter and check directing the IRS to apply the payment to the assessed balances for the period in question. For example, send a letter and a check that both state "apply to assessed balances for 2008 tax period."
Prepare Form 433-D
Once your returns are compliant and your balances are where they should be, download and fill out form 433-D from the internet. This is an easily searchable form. If you are seeking lien withdrawal with a SLIA, you will need to make the agreement direct debit. Liens may be released after your third direct debit payment.
File Form 433-D
Once everything is in order, call the IRS at (800) 829-7650 and advise the agent that you would like to be placed into a SLIA or FSIA. In the alternative, you can file the form by mailing it in to the IRS. Mailing addresses will vary depending upon where you live. Consult the instructions for form 433-D for mailing addresses.
Additional resources provided by the author
You can always visit www.irs.gov or call the IRS at (800) 829-7650, but it is generally unwise to discuss your taxes with the IRS, unrepresented by an attorney or enrolled agent, before you are entirely prepared to file your 433-D.
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