Options for taxpayers who need help paying a tax bill

IRS Tax Tip 2024-31, April 10, 2024

Taxpayers who can't pay their tax bill by the April 15, 2024, deadline shouldn't panic – the IRS is here to help. There are several options to help taxpayers meet their obligations.

It's important for taxpayers to file their tax return or request an extension of time to file at IRS.gov/extension by the April 15, 2024, deadline – even if they can't pay their full tax bill. This will help them avoid a failure to file penalty.

This extension applies only to the filing deadline, not the payment deadline. Except for eligible victims of recent natural disasters who have until Oct. 15 to make various tax payments, taxpayers who can't pay the full amount of taxes they owe by April 15 should file and pay what they can. Making a payment, even a partial payment, will help limit penalty and interest charges.

Help for taxpayers who can’t pay in full

The IRS has options available to help those who owe a tax obligation and can't pay all or part of it. Those struggling to meet their tax obligation may consider these options to resolve their tax bill.

Online payment plans

Taxpayers who owe but can’t pay in full by April 15 don't have to wait for a tax bill to set up a payment plan. They can apply for a payment plan at IRS.gov/paymentplan. These plans can be short- or long-term.

  • Short-term payment plan – The payment period is 180 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 180 days, paid in monthly payments, and the amount owed is less than $50,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest.

Offer in compromise

An offer in compromise lets taxpayers settle their tax debt for less than the full amount they owe. It may be an option if they can't pay their full tax liability or doing so creates a financial hardship. The IRS considers a taxpayer's unique set of facts and circumstances when deciding whether to accept an offer.

Taxpayers can see if they're eligible and prepare a preliminary proposal with the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier Tool.

Penalty relief to eligible taxpayers

Taxpayers may qualify for penalty relief if they tried to comply with tax laws but were unable due to circumstances beyond their control.

Penalties may apply

Taxpayers who owe tax and don't file on time may be charged a failure to file penalty. This penalty is usually five percent of the tax owed for each month or part of a month that the tax return is late, up to 25 percent. The failure-to-pay penalty applies if a taxpayer doesn't pay the taxes they report on their tax return by the due date.

Interest is based on the amount of tax owed and for each day it's not paid in full. The interest is compounded daily, so it’s assessed on the previous day's balance plus the interest. Interest rates are determined every three months and can vary based on type of tax -- for example, individual or business tax liabilities. More information is available on the interest page of IRS.gov.

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