I often have taxpayers come into our Richardson TX Tax Office who have heard about the IRS Fresh Start Program. They often hear of it advertised as a new IRS program that made it much easier to resolve their debt with the IRS. While the IRS Fresh Start Program did make some improvements in resolving tax debt, in reality, it’s neither new nor is it the game changing program that taxpayers are sometimes led to believe. Today, I’ll give a quick overview of the IRS Fresh Start Program and what it is and is not.
The IRS initiated its Fresh Start Program back in 2008 and expanded it in 2012 so it is not exactly new. The Fresh Start Program isn’t really a Program. It created changes to some guidelines of existing IRS programs that in some cases, made it easier, to qualify for previous programs.
Some of the major areas where guidelines were impacted by Fresh Start include:
- Streamlined Installment Agreements were expanded to taxpayers who owe up to $50,000 and can pay within 72 months by direct debit. Since then, the IRS has expanded these even further to $100,000 and 84 months by direct debit.
- With Tax Liens, the Fresh Start Program increased to $10,000 the maximum amount that a taxpayer can owe the IRS before the IRS will generally file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against the taxpayer.
- With Offers-In-Compromise, the IRS made some changes to the program, allowing more taxpayers to qualify.
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