The IRS encourages taxpayers to pay the full amount of their tax liability on time, and it imposes significant penalties and interest on late payments. Thus, if you are unable to pay the taxes that you owe, it is generally in your best interest to make other arrangements to obtain the full funds to pay your taxes so that you are not subjected to the government’s penalties and interest. Here are a few options to consider.
- Family Loan – Obtaining a loan from a relative or friend may be the best bet because this type of loan is generally the least costly in terms of interest.
- Credit Card – Another option is to pay by credit card by using one of the service providers that works with the IRS. However, as the IRS will not pay the credit card discount fee, you will have to pay that fee. You will also have to pay the credit card interest on the payment. Caution: Depending on the amount owed, it may be less expensive just to pay the IRS penalties and interest rate on the unpaid balance rather than the normally higher credit card interest rates.
- Installment Agreement – If you owe the IRS $50,000 or less, you may qualify for a streamlined installment agreement that allows you to make monthly payments for up to six years. You will still be subject to the late payment penalty, but it will be reduced by half. In addition, interest will also be charged at the current rate, and you will have to pay a user fee to set up the payment plan. By signing this agreement, you agree to keep all future years’ tax obligations current. If you do not make payments on time or if you have an outstanding past-due amount in a future year, you will be in default of the agreement, and the IRS will then have the option of taking enforcement actions to collect the entire amount that you owe. If you seek an installment agreements exceeding $50,000, the IRS will need to validate your financial condition and your need for an installment agreement through the information you provide in the Collection Information Statement (in which you list your financial statements). You may also pay down your balance to $50,000 or less so as to take advantage of the streamlined option.
- Tap a Retirement Account – This is possibly the worst option for obtaining funds to pay your taxes because it jeopardizes your retirement and because the distributions are generally taxable at the highest bracket, which adds more taxes to the existing problem. In addition, if you are under age 59½, such a withdrawal is also subject to a 10% early-withdrawal penalty that compounds the problem even further.
Whatever you decide, don’t just ignore your tax liability, as that is the worst thing you can do. If you find yourself in this situation, please give us a call to discuss your options. You can request a complimentary accounting consultation or contact us at (616) 642-9467.