What if I can’t pay my taxes?

Don’t panic – you may qualify for a self-service, online payment plan (including an installment agreement) that allows you to pay off an outstanding balance over time. Once your online application is complete, you'll receive immediate notification of whether your payment plan has been approved without having to call or write to the IRS. Online payment plans are processed more quickly than requests submitted with electronically filed tax returns, even if the new tax is not yet assessed.

Online payment plans include:

  • Short-term payment plan – The payment period is 120 days or less and the total amount owed is less than $100,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest.
  • Long-term payment plan – The payment period is longer than 120 days, paid in monthly payments, and the amount owed is less than $50,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest.

If the IRS approves your long-term online payment plan (installment agreement), a setup fee may apply depending on your income.

If you already have a payment plan, you may also qualify to use the online payment plan option to revise your existing agreement. Changes you can make online include revising payment dates, payment amounts and banking information for Direct Debit Installment Agreements.

If you don't qualify for an online payment plan, you may also request an installment agreement (IA) by submitting Form 9465PDF, Installment Agreement Request , with the IRS. If the IRS approves your IA, a setup fee may apply depending on your income. Refer to Tax Topic No. 202 - Tax Payment Options.

If you request an IA, the time the request is pending pushes out, or suspends the running of, the initial ten-year collection period. An IA request is often pending until it can be reviewed, and an IA is established, or the request is withdrawn or rejected. If the requested IA is rejected, the running of the collection period is suspended for 30 days. Similarly, if you default on your IA payments and the IRS proposes to terminate the IA, the running of the collection period is suspended for 30 days. Last, if you exercise your right to appeal either an IA rejection or termination, the running of collection period is suspended by the time the appeal is pending to the date the appealed decision becomes final. Refer to Tax Topic No. 160 - Statute Expiration Dates.