The IRS reviewed its collection activities to see how it could provide relief for taxpayers who owe taxes but are struggling financially because of the pandemic. The agency is expanding taxpayer options for making payments and other ways to resolve tax debt.

Taxpayers who owe taxes always had options to get help through payment plans and other tools from the IRS. The new IRS Taxpayer Relief Initiative is expanding on those tools.

These revised COVID-related collection procedures will be helpful to taxpayers, especially those who have a record of filing their returns and paying their taxes on time.
 

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Here are the highlights of the Taxpayer Relief Initiative:

  • Taxpayers who qualify for a short-term payment plan may now have up to 180 days to resolve their tax liabilities instead of 120 days.
  • The IRS is offering flexibility for some taxpayers who are temporarily unable to meet the payment terms of an accepted Offer in Compromise.
  • The IRS will automatically add certain new tax balances to existing Installment Agreements, for individual and business taxpayers who have gone out of business.
  • Certain qualified individual taxpayers who owe less than $250,000 may set up Installment Agreements without providing a financial statement if their monthly payment proposal is sufficient. 
  • Some individual taxpayers who only owe for the 2019 tax year and owe less than $250,000 may qualify to set up an Installment Agreement without a notice of federal tax lien filed by the IRS.
  • Qualified taxpayers with existing Direct Debit Installment Agreements may be able to use the Online Payment Agreement system to propose lower monthly payment amounts and change their payment due dates.

Additional tools to assist taxpayers who owe taxes:

Temporarily delaying collection — Taxpayers can contact the IRS to request a temporary delay of the collection process. If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until the taxpayer's financial condition improves.

Offer in Compromise — Certain taxpayers qualify to settle their tax bill for less than the amount they owe by submitting an Offer in Compromise. To help determine eligibility, use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool. Now, the IRS is offering additional flexibility for some taxpayers who are temporarily unable to meet the payment terms of an accepted offer in compromise.

Relief from penaltiesReasonable cause assistance is available for taxpayers with failure to file, pay and deposit penalties. First-time penalty abatement relief is also available for the first time a taxpayer is subject to one or more of these tax penalties.

Many taxpayers requesting payment plans, including Installment Agreements, can apply through IRS.gov.

These types of relief are not automatic. Taxpayers need to request payment relief by contacting the number on their balance due notice or by responding in writing.

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