The IRS typically resorts to a lien system when it has difficulty collecting taxes from individuals for a long period of time. These liens can make it hard for a person to qualify for insurance, housing, or even find a job. In effect, a lien gives the IRS access to a person’s property if the person owes enough in back taxes. This process can destroy a person’s credit rating. Since the country is working to recover from a recession, it is important that individuals have access to these opportunities to create more income. The IRS has agreed to change its lien methods so that there will be less pressure on the already strained economy.
Reducing Number of Liens
The first step in reducing the number of liens that the IRS is using is to change the amount of taxes owed that causes a lien to be placed. Until this year, a lien was put in place if an individual owed $5,000 or more in back taxes. This year, a person must owe at least $10,000 before the IRS will put a lien in place. That change alone will allow thousands of individuals to continue to make payments on their taxes without the additional pressure that a lien can cause. It will also help keep the economy moving forward because more people will be able to find work and purchase large ticket items.
Easier Lien Withdrawal
The IRS is also willing to be more flexible with individuals who are already paying on liens that were imposed previously. It is easier for someone to establish a payment plan so that they can have their lien withdrawn by the IRS. Having a lien withdrawn will immediately begin to repair the person’s credit rating so that he or she can take the necessary steps to begin paying off the tax obligation without suffering from the severe penalties a lien creates.
Delayed Payment Options
There are some ways that individuals can avoid a lien altogether. The IRS is becoming more vocal about payment options that could keep people out of serious trouble. The first step is to file your tax return on time, even if you cannot afford to make your tax payment right away. Once your return is filed, you can begin negotiating with the IRS for different payment options. The IRS will allow most tax payers to delay their payments by 30 or even 60 days in most cases.
If a short delay in payments is not enough to help you pay the amount that you owe, you can establish an installment plan with the IRS. You will need to talk with an IRS agent about your options for the plan, and you will have to pay additional fees if you must create an installment plan. Keeping an open line of communication with the IRS and cooperating as much as possible will reduce your odds of being actively pursued for the taxes that you owe. The IRS has created many ways for individuals to pay their taxes so that they do not have to resort to liens.
Jessica Bosari writes about personal finance for Billeater.com, a site that offers money-saving tips, advice and information. Visit Billeater for more ways to save.
- Options For 2011 Taxpayers (goarticles.com)
- Tax debt: Getting help with debt on IRS payments (2010tax.org)