Handling taxes can be overwhelming or confusing for anyone to deal with, and as we grow older we might not have a choice but to do them ourselves. This is why it’s important to understand the paperwork involved and deadlines you may need to meet. Throughout this read you’ll be introduced to filing and debt assistance, and provided information you may have not even realized could help you be successful each tax season Though you may have to do them yourself, everyone deserves a little help with their taxes. Keep in mind there is limited time on these forms of assistance, so let’s jump straight into it.
If You Didn’t Make The IRS Deadline, Then You Can Do Something
If you are having trouble with filing your taxes or if it is too complicated for you, then there is a way for you to find assistance. There are programs from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that can help you out when it comes to filing taxes. These programs have eligibility requirements that you need to meet so that you can get support. Some of these programs include Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
The IRS is responsible for this program to help qualifying seniors that are at least the age of 60. However, IRS partners operate the actual program sites. The best thing about this IRS program is that it offers free assistance in tax counseling! As mentioned in the name, eligible senior citizens can receive tax support on topics like:
- Planning for retirement
You should keep in mind that the staff that offers tax counseling are volunteers with an IRS certification. They have a background in working with non-profit organizations that receive funds from the IRS. To find out when you can access this program, you can find it during the normal time frame to file income tax returns. That would be from January 1st to April 15th on an annual basis. However, this program offers tax assistance throughout the year!
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Similar to the TCE, the IRS manages the VITA program, but the partners of the IRS operate the actual program sites. This tax assistance program has been around for a long time, where it offers tax support for free! However, you will need to qualify to get free tax assistance. Furthermore, the staff that offers tax counseling are volunteers with IRS certification that have a past with non-profit agencies that received IRS funds. Who can get free tax support from the VITA program? That would be those that normally earn a maximum annual amount of $60,000, don’t speak English well, and/or have a disability.
Tax Debt Assistance From The IRS
Did you know that there is about $527 billion worth of tax debt in the United States? One of the main reasons that people go into debt is because they owe more than they expect. However, there is an IRS program that offers support on tax debt, which was launched in 2011. This program is the Fresh Start Program that is split into four different support options to help countless people. These options would be: Offer in Compromise (OIC), Currently Non-Collectible (CNC), Installment Agreement (IA), and Penalty Abatement. We’re going to give you a general idea on each of these options and how you can benefit from them.
Offer in Compromise (OIC)
This support option can help those that want to settle their tax debt for a less amount than they actually owe. However, the application can be a bit wordy and complicated, which is why you should contact a tax professional. They can help you with your application and support you throughout the process. Since taxpayers with delinquent taxes would find this option useful, the IRS only accepts less than half of those that apply per year.
Currently Non-Collectible (CNC)
To qualify for this program, there are certain eligibility requirements that you need to meet, including:
- The IRS and State recognizing you (which is when your monthly gross income is less than their allowable expenses, according to the national standard)
- Showing that you are not able to pay back your tax debt without going into financial hardship
The best people to benefit from this support option would be those that owe money to the IRS and cannot pay it back. So, how can this support option help you? The CNC stops debt collectors from collecting your tax owed!
Installment Agreement (IA)
This support option offers benefits that are in its name, which is allowing people to pay back their debt in installments. Furthermore, those that cannot pay their tax debt upfront can find this opportunity useful! However, you will need to show that you cannot repay your debt or get funds from a lender, along with staying updated on your tax returns, so that you can qualify.
One of the things that make tax debt super stressful are the penalty fees that come with it. When you are going through the application process, you should consider reaching out to a tax expert. There might be a lot of technical information in the application, which is where the tax expert comes in handy. Since these penalties add to your debt and make it harder to manage, you can always look towards this program for support. Your IRS penalties can be lowered or removed from your tax debt from the penalty abatement program.
IRS deadlines are important but if you just so happen to miss them, now you know what to do. Assess your situation and figure out which option best suits your needs or someone you may know. Through the different support opportunities your debt situation could be resolved in due time. However keep in mind the different qualifications for each area of opportunity. Regardless of which support option you choose to apply for, you should look towards asking for assistance from a tax expert, especially if you find the information confusing. They should be able to help and guide you throughout the whole process.