Does the IRS Fresh Start Program actually work? An overview.
by: Anthony Parent
The IRS Fresh Start Program isn't just for your benefit. It is for the IRS. The program is designed to help individuals and small businesses with overdue tax liabilities, and it also has the benefit of helping the IRS by removing taxpayers from its vast collection inventory. The IRS Fresh Start s a bit of a win-win --- the initiative makes it easier for individual and small business taxpayers to pay back taxes and also avoid tax liens (or get them withdrawn). In this article, we will give you the overview of how its been helping our clients.
In order to qualify for the IRS Fresh Start initiatives for debt settlement or lien withdrawals, you'll need a couple of things at a minimum: The first is that any missing or unfiled tax returns must be filed. The other thing that is typically required is that you are current with your estimated tax payments or your current withholdings are correct, and they have been so for the last 6 months.
If you did not file recent tax returns, chances are you only need to file the last six years --- this amnesty program is not part of any law, it is the official policy of the IRS.
Things get trickier with unfiled returns if there is foreign income or foreign assets involved. In that case, you may want to use one of the offshore amnesties -- even if you had no criminal intent. Why? Many of the forms for offshore assets and income have penalties that can easily exceed taxes due. By using one of the offshore disclosure amnesties, you limit your risk to these penalties.
So, what are the IRS Fresh Start Programs?
IRS Fresh Start Program #1: IRS Fresh Start Lien Program
The first IRS Fresh Start Program is the IRS Fresh Start Federal Tax Lien program. The IRS increased the threshold of tax lien filing from $5,000 to $10,000.
IRS Fresh Start Program #2: IRS Fresh Start Installment Agreements
Generally, if you owe less than $50,000 to the IRS, you can get into a repayment agreement by providing minimal financial information (if that number is under $25,000, you do not need to provide anything), and if you are able to fully repay the debt in five years, you can then request a lien be withdrawn.
IRS Fresh Start Program #3: IRS Fresh Start Offer in Compromise
This is actually the most helpful IRS Fresh Start program. Basically, this is how this IRS Fresh Start program works: the IRS changed reasonable collection potential calculations from multiplying your discretionary income by 60 down to 24 (when doing a period payment OIC). Essentially, it could have the following effect: in a case where your offer in compromise amount would have been $6,000 under the old rules, it could be $2,400 instead.
If you have a tax debt you need assistance with, contact us. We can help. Call us at 888-727-8796 or email email@example.com. Any information you share with us will be kept confidential.