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Published: September 18, 2020   |   Last Updated: October 13, 2022

Taxpayer Calls IRS to Discuss Collection Alternatives

View our interactive tax map to see where you are in the tax process. It could help you navigate your way through the IRS.

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Station Overview

You received a notice or letter from the IRS requesting payment and you are contacting the IRS to discuss payment option.

What does this letter or notice mean to me?

If you have a balance on your tax account, you’ll get a notice letting you know how much you owe, when it’s due, and how to pay.  If you are able to full pay the balance owed, see Payments for the various ways you can pay your IRS debt.

If you can’t pay the full amount determine what payment options might work for your situation, such as a payment plan. Proactively addressing the tax debt may help you avoid penalty and interest charges and IRS action to collect the balance. For specifics, see I got a notice from the IRS.

If your notice indicates you have missing tax returns, file the missing returns as soon as possible. See Filing Your Taxes for more information on how to file your return.

For additional information on your correspondence, seeUnderstanding your IRS Notice or Letter.

How did I get here?

The IRS mailed letters or notices concerning your balance owed and you are now contacting IRS to discuss your options.

What are my next steps?

If you received correspondence from the IRS, follow the instructions on the letter or notice about how to respond. Call the phone number or visit the website listed on the notice or letter for additional information, this is usually located at the end. If possible have your tax and income documents (such as cancelled checks, tax returns, etc.) ready when you call. If you disagree, contact the IRS. If you want more details about your tax account, you can request a copy of your transcript.

If the correspondence is not from the IRS, you’ll need to call the sender to discuss the issue.

If you think you are not responsible for some or all of the tax, see Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest if You Don’t Agree.

If you can’t pay the full amount by the due date, you will need to determine what payment options might work for your situation, and contact the IRS to set up a payment plan or discuss other ways to address your balance. Being proactive in addressing the tax debt may allow you to avoid additional penalty and interest charges and may prevent the IRS actions to enforce collection, such as a levy.

You may qualify for penalty relief if you tried to comply with tax laws but were unable due to circumstances beyond your control.  To request penalty relief, follow the instructions in the IRS notice you received.  Some penalty relief requests may be accepted over the phone.

You may need to submit Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, along with a signed statement to the IRS explaining your reasons. For specific instructions, see the Penalty Relief page on IRS.gov or Notice 746, Information About Your Notice, Penalty and Interest

Where can I get additional help?

Understanding your notice or letter

Get Help Topics

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 Letters and Notices

Where am I in the tax system?

Taxpayer Calls IRS to Discuss Collection Alternatives

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