Tax time rolling around can become a very stressful time for many Americans. Not only can they be complicated to file in some cases, but many people may also find them behind on their taxes, owing money to the IRS due to an inability to pay in the past.
While struggling with taxes can feel like a difficult problem that you need to take on alone, that isn’t actually the case. Things like the IRS fresh start program helps taxpayers be able to manage and reduce their debts.
However, not everyone will immediately qualify and be eligible for the program. While this isn’t a completely exhaustive list, let’s go through four of the biggest eligibility requirements for qualifying for the IRS Fresh Start Program.
1. You Have Kept Up With Filing Tax Returns
The first requirement is that you are filing your taxes regularly, even if you are not making tax-related payments. Specifically, you need to have properly filed all tax returns in the previous three years in order to be eligible.
If you don’t file taxes for years, the IRS may not have a lot of interest in helping you get out of debt. If you struggle with filing your own taxes for one reason or another, consider reaching out to an expert who can help you out. They are generally quite affordable and can help ensure that all of your paperwork is organized and filed correctly.
2. You Must Not Owe More Than $50,000
The amount you owe also comes into play when determining your eligibility for this program. To qualify, your total amount owing to the IRS needs to be less than $50,000.
The IRS considers any tax debt over $50,000 to be serious, and they will take their collection efforts to the next level to ensure they can get their money. While having more than $50,000 in tax debt may eliminate you from being able to enroll in this program, there are other resolution options you can still consider like an installment agreement, so don’t feel like this program is your only option.
3. You Must Agree to Pay Back What You Owe in 6 Years
In order to be eligible for this program, you also need to show a willingness to pay back what you owe. The IRS wants to see effort and progress on your end, so you need to agree to pay back the total amount you owe (or whatever you and the IRS settle on) in six years.
4. You Must Have Never Been Involved With Tax Evasion or Fraudulent Activities
Of course, the IRS also requires that you haven’t been involved with tax evasion or fraudulent activities like filing a false return, failing to report all income received or flashing claiming deductions or credits.
If you have been involved with these sorts of things in the past, you likely aren’t in the best graces with the IRS to begin with, and they may not be as willing to help you.
We hope that this article has been able to help you see whether or not you are eligible for the IRS fresh start program. Keep in mind that being eligible doesn’t mean you instantly join the program, as you still need to apply.