How to Get Help with Tax Debt

Dealing with tax debt can be overwhelming, but there are various avenues for assistance. This guide provides actionable strategies and resources to help you manage and resolve tax debt effectively, ensuring financial stability and peace of mind.

Understanding Tax Debt

What is Tax Debt?

Tax debt occurs when individuals or businesses owe unpaid taxes to the government, typically from income taxes or payroll taxes.

Consequences of Tax Debt

  • Interest and Penalties: Accrue on unpaid taxes, increasing the total amount owed.
  • Legal Action: IRS or state tax authorities may take legal action, such as liens or wage garnishment.
  • Credit Score Impact: Unresolved tax debt can negatively impact credit scores and financial health.

Strategies to Get Help with Tax Debt

1. Assess Your Tax Situation

Review your tax records and assess the total amount owed, including penalties and interest. Understanding your debt is crucial for developing a strategy.

2. Contact the IRS or State Tax Authority

Initiate contact with the IRS or relevant state tax authority to discuss your situation. They may offer installment plans, penalty abatement, or other options based on your financial circumstances.

3. Seek Professional Assistance

Consider hiring a tax professional, such as a certified public accountant (CPA) or tax attorney, specializing in tax debt resolution. They can negotiate with tax authorities on your behalf and provide expert guidance.

4. Explore Tax Relief Programs

Research tax relief programs, such as Offer in Compromise (OIC) or Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status, offered by the IRS. These programs provide options for reducing or postponing tax payments based on financial hardship.

Resources for Tax Debt Assistance

IRS Payment Plans

IRS offers various payment plans, including short-term and long-term installment agreements, tailored to your ability to pay.

Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

TAS helps taxpayers resolve issues with the IRS and advocates for fair treatment when facing financial difficulties.

Local Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)

LITCs provide free or low-cost legal assistance to taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS or need help with tax debt resolution.

Common Questions About Tax Debt

Can tax debt be settled for less?

Yes, through programs like Offer in Compromise (OIC), taxpayers can settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed if they meet specific criteria.

What happens if you can’t pay your tax debt?

If you can’t pay your tax debt immediately, contact the IRS to discuss payment options, such as installment agreements or temporary delay of collection.

How long does tax debt stay on your credit report?

Unpaid tax debt can stay on your credit report indefinitely if unresolved, impacting your credit score and financial credibility.


Managing and resolving tax debt requires proactive steps and informed decisions. By utilizing the strategies and resources outlined in this guide, you can effectively address your tax obligations, alleviate financial stress, and achieve long-term financial stability.

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