Find ways to get help with taxes, including income, property and others.
There are programs that can provide assistance for paying taxes. Professionals can provide advice on how to complete them accurately. Resources can also help clients with reducing the amount of money that they owe to the government. When it comes to direct financial aid for paying back taxes, this can be found as well.
Many different types of programs exist. This will depend on what entity is owed the money, but some of the main categories are as follows.
- For assistance with income taxes, read below. Resources can help with local, state, and federal government obligations.
- Many homeowners need support as well. If you need assistance with paying real estate taxes, we provide some ways to get help with property tax bills.
- Free preparation services are also arranged. Find how government sponsored assistance programs can provide you with free tax returns and answer questions on filing them.
Assistance for state and federal government income taxes
When it comes to any money that is owed for income taxes, some families are able to get relief on their own. In general, people may be able to resolve their income tax debts on their own if they owe less than $10,000 to the government. Many experts will in fact recommend note hiring another organization for those relatively smaller dollar amounts.
If you have not filed your taxes yet, you will be in a more advantageous position when requesting assistance. What this means is that if you think you may struggle to pay them in the future, ask for support early. The longer that someone waits to ask for help, the less likely they will be successful. The reason being is that if you ask for advice early, you can still take deductions that you may have missed or are legally entitled to. This will help lower your tax bill and reduce the amount you are responsible for paying.
However, if you need help paying between $10,000-$25,000, you should consider hiring a tax professional for guidance. These individuals can provide suggestions. Often they work on a contingency basis, so the client is not required to pay the professional unless they save you money. If you owe more than $25,000 in total back taxes, you should definitely consult a tax professional for help and you should work one-on-one with them. Find what to look for when hiring a tax professional.
If you have already filed your taxes, you need to have your professional (if you decided to use one) quickly review those tax returns to ensure that they are accurate. There is a window of time in which something can be re-filed. But once again, it is very important to do this as quickly as possible.
The professional will review your state and/or federal returns. They will look for any tax deductions you may have overlooked. The rules and regulations are complicated, so even the most knowledgeable person can make a mistake. If they find an overlooked deduction, this will help lower your overall tax bill.
Amending a tax return does require a substantial amount of paperwork as well as time to do. What needs to occur is a thorough review of what was filed in the past, and all errors need to be found and fixed. This is a time consuming process. Also, be aware that amended tax returns must be accurate and contain lots of supporting documentation, or else the IRS may audit you. If that were to occur, then the individual may be in worse shape than they started off on.
One approach is that you will want your tax professional to obtain a complete set of tax forms you filed and additional documentation from the IRS. So this process will allow the consultant to see what the government has on file for that particular year. They will then compare that information to the tax documents you already filed or have. This is how irregularities are found.
After a thorough review of the taxes you filed and your overall financial situation, the tax professional needs to advise you whether it makes sense to file an amendment or revision. There are instances in which this will not help. But in other cases, re-filing can help a household lower their tax bills. The professional can also advise you on other actions to take. All of this will provide the individual with help on their taxes.
Tax debt strategies
For those that owe money, there are five ways to get out of tax debt. They include everything from applying for financial help to entering into payment plans, filing bankruptcy, and more. Some of the strategies that can be used to get help with paying off back tax bills are as follows.
Installment agreement: The client will set up a monthly payment plan for paying off the debt that is due. Note that the IRS needs to agree to this deal. A professional can help someone negotiate the terms and conditions, or the family can off course propose their own agreement. When hiring someone to negotiate this type of deal, this is usually easy to implement and the costs are typically low, less than $100.
Similar to above are partial payment installment agreements: This is a fairly new debt management program with the IRS. It not only eliminates some of what is in arrears, but it also provided the client more time. They will have a long term payment plan that will pay off the IRS debts and bills at a reduced dollar amount. The difficulty level for entering into this type of program this is average.
Offer in Compromise is a program that allows you to settle your unpaid tax bills. In this case, the government will agree to a deal in which the client pays off less than what they owe. This will require that you make a short term or lump sum payment plan to pay off the IRS at a reduced dollar amount. This type of program is not common. It will be average to high difficulty to enter into, and a tax professional is recommended for this.
Not currently collectible: This is a government program where the IRS will voluntarily agree not to pursue or collect on the tax debt for a period of time. The time-frame for the deal varies, but it can range from a year to much longer. This is an option if you are experiencing serious financial hardships and have no ability to pay your taxes.
Last, but not least, is filing bankruptcy. This is always an option of last resort. It may help in that you can discharge your tax bills, thus eliminating your need for paying them. It reduces debts owed under the strict rules of a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing.
These are the main methods of getting out from under the IRS' increasingly aggressive debt collection tactics. Each takes time to process. But they will be effective under certain situations.
Free tax returns
The government has created the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Local community action agencies often administer the resource. It mainly supports senior citizens as well as more lower to moderate income households. Another beneficiary of the program is for immigrants who are filing for the first time.
The VITA Program will offer low and moderate income families free tax help, advice, preparation services and help in completing their annual returns. Click here to learn more. The service is generally offered to families and individuals who cannot afford to pay for or prepare their own tax returns.