“Fresh Start”: Installment Agreements

Those with a tax debt are often reluctant to disclose their individual financial information to the IRS, and rightly so. The financial information that is normally required includes details about one’s income, expenses, assets, and accounts. The IRS often uses employment and bank information as levy sources; it’s the first place they go when taking enforced collection actions.

The IRS allows taxpayers to enter into installment agreements without disclosure of financial information as long as the balance due to the IRS is below a certain threshold. Previously that threshold was $25,000, excluding accrued interest and penalties. But the IRS announced yesterday that the threshold has been doubled — now $50,000. Also, instead of a 60-month payoff period, the IRS will now allow payments to be spread over a maximum of 72 months. The only catch is that the taxpayer must agree to a direct debit payment arrangement whereby the IRS is automatically wired payments each month from the taxpayer’s bank account. Those who owe $25,000 or less may still make payments by other methods, including manually writing a check and sending it in each month.

Yesterday’s announcement shouldn’t have been a huge surprise given the new Form 9465-FS that was released in December 2011, although with little fanfare.

For additional information, visit the IRS Newsroom.

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