Published: October 30, 2020 | Last Updated: October 27, 2022
Currently Not Collectible
Due to Hardship
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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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.