Owe a lot in back taxes? Nervous the IRS or state is going to take all your money and leave you with nothing for expenses like food, housing, cars, insurance, etc.?
Tax Resolution or Tax Debt Settlement can be confusing topics that often seems overwhelming to the person who has a delinquent tax debt. However, the first thing I like to tell everyone is – that no matter what part of the process you are in, hiding under a rock from the IRS and/or state or just recently defaulted on your taxes or just wanting to get this burden off your shoulders – relax.
So Relax… Did you know the IRS and/or state can’t take more money than you can afford to pay? What is the definition of what you can afford to pay? Each taxing authority defines this slightly differently, but the general principles are the same for the IRS and all states. You have to be allowed to pay for housing, food, medicine, cars, insurance, etc. These costs are classified as your “Allowed Living Expenses”.
Your Income minus your Allowed Living Expenses will give you the amount of money the IRS and/or state can claim – also known as disposable income. Your goal is to lower your disposable income to the lowest amount possible thereby reducing the amount you will be required to pay back. If you don’t have any disposable income, then the IRS and/or state cannot take any of your income. The key is – let them know you don’t have any disposable income. Do this by completing the correct forms and by using the IRS and/or state repayment calculations.
While how much you owe does play in a role of how much you have to payback, it plays a smaller role than what you are able to afford to pay back. The United States has laws and you have rights that protect you from paying back more of your delinquent tax debt then you can afford to pay. Again, minimize your disposable income and minimize your repayment.
The IRS or state can force you to liquidate assets as well. Typically they won’t require you to sell the family home or the family car but if you own other types of assets (non-owner occupied real estate, boats, motor homes, etc.) the IRS will want the equity from these items. If you can either prove to the IRS that these assets don’t have equity, you need that asset for work, or you are able to make monthly payments toward your tax bill that will allow you to pay your complete balance within the timeframe allotted you, then many times you will be allowed to keep that asset.