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Published: October 30, 2020   |   Last Updated: October 27, 2022

Currently Not Collectible

Due to Hardship

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Station Overview

You have a balance due on your tax account, which you agree that you owe the IRS, but you cannot pay the balance owing due to your current financial situation. If the IRS agrees that you cannot pay both your taxes and your reasonable living expenses, the IRS may place your tax account in currently not collectible (CNC) hardship status.

This notice or letter may include additional topics that have not yet been covered here. Please check back frequently for updates.

What does this mean to me?

  • The IRS determined that you cannot pay towards your tax debt at this time, as a result, the IRS has reported your tax account CNC hardship, or
  • You would like to request that IRS consider your request for your case to be placed in CNC hardship status.

If you have been advised by the IRS or have received a letter that your account has been placed in CNC   hardship status, it is important to know:

  • Certain collection actions are suspended until your financial condition improves;
  • Applicable interest and penalties will continue to accrue;
  • The IRS will keep your tax refunds and apply them to your debt;
  • You can still make voluntary payments;
  • The IRS shouldn’t your assets or income;
  • The IRS may file a );
  • The IRS may contact you to update your financial information to be sure your ability to pay hasn’t changed; and
  • When the IRS determines your financial situation allows you the means to pay towards your debt, you will receive notification that your account is no longer in CNC and you will need to contact the IRS to determine payment options.

How did I get here?

You have a balance due on your tax account, which you agree that you owe the IRS, but you cannot pay the balance owing due to your current financial situation. The IRS understands there may be times when you can’t pay a tax debt due to your current financial situation. If the IRS agrees that you can’t pay your taxes and pay your reasonable living expenses, it may place your account in CNC hardship status.

What are my next steps?

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Verify the return address

The first thing to do is to check the return address on the letter to be sure it’s from the Internal Revenue Service and not another agency.

If it’s from the IRS, the notice will inform you that the IRS has placed your tax account in CNC status. If you want more details about your tax account, you can order a transcript.


Note:  If you have received transcripts that show “Balance due account currently not collectible – not due to hardship”, this is different from CNC hardship.  If your case is CNC – not due to hardship, you will need to address your tax debt and determine payment options.

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toTo request IRS consideration to place your account in CNC hardship status, you should:

  • File tax returns for prior years (if you were required to file a tax return), even if you can’t pay the amount you owe right now.
  • Continue to file your tax returns on time even if you can’t pay. This will prevent late-filing penalties.
  • Gather your information to verify your income, expenses, and any debts you owe (loans, etc.). You may need to provide the IRS this financial information so it can decide whether to grant your request.
    • The IRS may ask you to complete Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals, or Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement, and/or Form 433-B, Collection Information Statement for Businesses, before making any collection decision.
    • The IRS may require documentation to support items listed on your Collection Information Statements.

To see if you qualify for CNC hardship status, you’ll need to contact the IRS. If you have received a notice concerning your tax debt, use the contact information included there. If you don’t have your notice or you have not received one, call the following toll-free number for individual taxpayer assistance at 1-800-829-1040 (or TTY/TDD 800-829-4059).

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If the IRS decides you can make some type of payment and you disagree, you may:

  • Request a conference with the IRS Collection manager. IRS employees are required to give you the name and phone number of their supervisor.
  • Though you do not have the right to appeal the denial of your request for CNC, other collection actions or proposed collection actions may qualify for appeal under the Collection Appeals Program (CAP).

Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you, your family, or your business, are experiencing financial hardship or are facing an immediate threat of adverse action.

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What if I still can’t pay in the future?

If your account is placed in CNC hardship status and the IRS sends you a notice about your tax bill, call the number on the notice to discuss your financial situation. The IRS will take your updated information and decide if you still can’t pay your IRS debt and meet your living expenses. Make sure you have all the information about your income and expenses before you call.  The IRS typically has 10-years from the date of the assessment to collect the balance.  Some actions can cause the timeframe to be extended.  Once the collection period expires, the debt is no longer collectible or legally enforceable.


You may prevent future tax liabilities by adjusting your withholding or making estimated tax payments

Where can I get additional help?

Understanding your notice or letter

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If you still need help

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.

Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Related Notices and Letters

  • Systemically Issued:
    • Letter 4624C, Case Closed — Currently Not Collectible; Lien Filing Notification on Currently Not Collectible
  • Field Collection Issued:
    • Letter 4223, Case Closed – Currently Not Collectible
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