Can’t Pay Your Taxes? Don’t Panic — Here’s What to Do

Tax Day is fast approaching.

If you owe the federal government cash and can’t pay, do not panic.

There are different alternatives readily available to you, said Kathy Pickering, chief tax officer with H&R Block.

“Don’t freak out,” she said. ” Take a breath, decrease [and] understand that everybody gets into this scenario eventually in their lives.”

In truth, 37% of taxpayers stated they do not have the resources to pay 2019 taxes this year, according to a June survey from TaxAudit. The survey of 1,051 respondents was performed via SurveyMonkey from May 22 to May 23.

The Treasury Department postponed the April 15 due date to July 15 this year, providing taxpayers more time to submit their federal tax return and pay any taxes owed for 2019. Nevertheless, in spite of some earlier rumblings, the federal government opted not to extend it any even more.

If you still haven’t done your paperwork, you might discover the tax bite isn’t as bad as you thought it would be.

“A great deal of individuals are surprised to discover the number of deductions and credits they are qualified for,” said Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax professional with TurboTax.

“You may not owe as much as you believe.”

For example, there is an earned earnings tax credit for those who qualify, along with a child tax credit and dependent care costs credit.

Almost 140 million individuals had submitted their tax returns as of June 26, and the Internal Revenue Service has paid out $259.7 billion in refunds. H&R Block approximates that more than 50% of those who haven’t submitted yet will be getting a refund.

For those who can’t get their documentation in on time, they can get an extension up until Oct. 15. However, if you stop working to file and do not seek an extension, you’ll be slapped with a penalty of 5% of the unsettled tax you owe.

However, an extension to file doesn’t indicate an extension to pay. You’ll still owe taxes on July 15. If you do not pay, you’ll get a 0.5% penalty by the IRS.

“It is far much better to submit an extension or submit a tax return, even if you owe cash and can’t manage to pay,” Pickering stated. “You can work out your payment alternatives after that.”

It is best to settle your taxes completely, specifically since it will cost you money if you do not.

Nevertheless, if you can’t develop the funds, go to the Internal Revenue Service website to see what’s readily available and choose a payment strategy. Here are your options.

Short-term payment plan

There is no setup cost for a payment strategy of 120 days or less. However, you’ll pay accrued charges and interest until the balance is paid in full.

The IRS can take the payments directly from your monitoring or savings account, or you can pay by check, cash order, or debit/credit cards. Nevertheless, you’ll be charged a charge if paying by card.

Installment agreement

If you require more time to settle your taxes, you can establish monthly payments for as much as six years, Greene-Lewis said.

There is a $31 setup fee for automatic withdrawals from your bank account, which is waived for those who certify as low-income. You’ll also pay accrued penalties and interest till the balance is settled.

If you pay monthly and it isn’t directly debited from your bank account, you’ll pay a $149 setup cost plus charges and interest. Low earnings taxpayers go through a $43 setup cost that might be repaid if certain conditions are fulfilled.

‘Last resort’

If you are facing a big tax bill and won’t be able to pay it off, even with paying monthly installations, you may have the ability to work with the IRS to lower your payment. It’s called an offer in compromise and isn’t as easy to get as a payment strategy.

Picking called it an “alternative of last resort.”

“If you enter into a really bad scenario where you are just not going to have the ability to pay it, then this is a bit more of a lengthy process,” Pickering stated.

“You have to, in result, share some much deeper financial information with the Internal Revenue Service to prove that you are not able to pay this.”

Also, beware of late-night TELEVISION commercials that assure debt relief, she cautioned.

The IRS considers your ability to pay, your income, your expenditures, and property equity when making an eligibility decision.

The agency’s website states that it may accept a deal in compromise if there is doubt regarding liability (a dispute as to the existence or amount of the right tax due), doubt regarding collectibility (if the taxpayer’s properties and earnings are less than the total of the tax liability), or if needing the payment incomplete would develop an “economic difficulty or would be unfair and inequitable because of exceptional scenarios.”

If the IRS identifies you can’t pay any of your taxes, it might momentarily postpone collection up until your monetary condition authorizes. You’ll be charged charges and interest and the IRS may submit a notice of federal tax lien against you.

Other options

If you have the capability to borrow from a family member without paying interest on the loan, that might be an option to pursue rather of an Internal Revenue Service payment plan, Greene-Lewis recommended.

And do not rule out the plastic.

If you have offered credit, think about using your credit card to pay your taxes, Pickering recommended. Nevertheless, there are fees involved, which are laid out on the IRS’s website. Plus, you’ll pay your card’s going rates of interest on the debt.

Get help

What alternative you selected will depend on your personal situations.

“If you are in the scenario where you are a bit overwhelmed, we would strongly suggest that you work with a tax expert so they can help you navigate through the various choices and find out which is the very best for you,” Pickering stated.

“There is no one answer that is best for everyone.”

Costs for a tax expert differ. The typical fee for someone to send your federal and state return without any itemized deductions is $176, according to the National Society of Accountants, however can add to an average $457 with itemization. For an “easy” tax situation, expect to pay $69 for a federal return and $59 for a state at H&R Block. Rates increase for more intricate returns.

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