Next Avenue: You owe taxes but can’t pay? What to do, plus two things you should not do.

by | Mar 3, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from With tax forms arriving in mailboxes, many older Americans are sweating this year’s April 18 tax deadline because they lack the funds to pay their bills in full. If you owe the almighty IRS and can’t pay, you have options. Whatever you do, don’t do zilch. You can run, but you can’t hide.

“The worst thing to do with the IRS is to do nothing at all,” says Nina E. Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights, a nonprofit organization in Washington. “You really do need to take some steps if you have debt and can’t afford to pay.” Over time, Olson explains, late-payment penalties and interest on the debt will accrue and, possibly, add up to more than the original tax debt. In the year ended Sept. 30, 2021, more than 10.2 million returns showed a delinquency, according to the IRS. The average amount owed was about $13,000; the agency does not break down the total delinquency of $133.4 billion by taxpayers’ ages. Don’t miss: ‘I will work until I die’: I’m 74, have little money saved and battle medical issues. ‘I want to retire so I can have a few years to enjoy life.’First step: Ask for help If you are among the millions who do owe the government and you’re starting to panic, know that a first step can be to call the agency’s 1040 toll-free line: 800-829-1040. Prepare for a long wait. The good news is that your honesty will pay off because acknowledging the lack of funds might spare you from more aggressive collection actions. I …

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