No matter what is happening in the world, you can count on one thing: taxes will be due. That’s certainly the case this year, with the April tax deadline quickly approaching.
If you owe taxes from previous years, this may be a time of year that’s particularly stressful for you. Failure to pay back taxes can just increase the amount you owe via penalties and fines. You might need to rely on some expert tax advice to get yourself out of this challenging situation.
Looking into the IRS Fresh Start program is an excellent idea if you need tax assistance. What exactly is Fresh Start, and how can you get enrolled? Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What is the IRS Fresh Start program?
For a long time, many Americans accused the IRS of offering no form of assistance or help to those who were struggling to pay their taxes. These individuals frequently found themselves falling deeper into a financial hole as penalties, fines, and fees added up over time.
It was only as recently as 2011 that the IRS made a significant change and introduced a system intended to help these struggling citizens. That change was the introductions of the IRS fresh start program, and it’s creation was a result of the problematic financial recession the country was going through at the time.
The main goal of the fresh start program was to introduce a way in which taxpayers with large debts could consolidate the money they owed on their taxes. The program does this by changing how the IRS considers tax linens, payment plans, and offers in compromise.
Not all the measures involved in the Fresh Start program will apply to all seeking tax relief. Different elements of the plan will be employed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the individuals who apply.
Advantages of the Fresh Start Program
The biggest aid the Fresh Start program introduced is how the IRS deals with tax liens. It used to be that if you owed back taxes that the government could put a lien out on your personal property. A lien is an indication that the government could seize particular property if you do not pay your taxes.
That could be your car, your home, or other significant assets in your possession.
Under the Fresh Start guidelines, the government will now only be able to put a lien out on a citizen’s property if they have accumulated more than $10,000 in back taxes.
The program also helps make it easier to pay off back taxes through the system of installment plans. The installment plans set up under the program help to limit the use of penalties and fees.
These plans allow an individual to pay off back taxes over many months without the threat of additional penalties.
Qualifying for the Fresh Start Program
How does one know whether or not they can take advantage of the benefits the IRS Fresh Start program offers? There is no true list of qualifications out there, and requirements might vary depending on the kind of relief you hope to access.
To qualify for any kind of tax relief, you’ll need to be able to prove that you don’t have the resources necessary to pay back your tax debt. You’ll have needed to submit your tax returns even if you’re unable to pay them. You also must not be involved in any sort of other forms of relief, such as filing for bankruptcy.
Certain forms of assistance and relief might have specific requirements. For example, there are some forms of relief where the amount you owe back to the government will need to be less than a certain amount.
You’ll need to find the application form for the form of assistance you’re hoping to apply for. All of these forms can be found easily on the official IRS website.
Tips for Navigating the Fresh Start Program
There are some key ideas to keep in mind when navigating the Fresh Start program. Keeping this information in mind can help you when you’re navigating the system.
For one, you need to remember to be realistic about your expectations. The IRS rarely, if ever, forgives tax debt. You likely will be able to stop the burden you owe from overwhelming you, but you won’t be able to get rid of your debt via the Fresh Start program.
If you owe a small amount of money, it’s also a good idea to try and handle this debt on your own if you can. See if there’s friends or family that might be willing to lend you the money. This way, you can pay them back instead of being in trouble with the IRS.
If you owe more money, it might be worth working with some professional tax services. It can be hard to get out of this kind of hole, and only an expert will be able to employ proper strategies to get you back on your feet.
Expert Tax Advice for the Fresh Start Program
Owing money to the government can be a very difficult situation.
You might need to rely on the above expert tax advice to get back on your feet. Applying for assistance via the IRS Fresh Start program can be very beneficial if you keep the advice mentioned in mind.
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