IRS to Help Struggling Tax Payers

Thursday, January 8th 2009, 11:18 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Tax season is fast approaching, but this year, the sluggish economy may keep many people from paying their debt to Uncle Sam.

In light of the economic crisis, the IRS said it will be a little more lenient with struggling taxpayers.

Every year around tax time, procrastinators rush to mail off their returns before the midnight deadline. But this time, many of those envelopes won't contain checks.

"We have several clients that are in a position where they're not able to pay the full tax and penalty and interest owed," said Certified Public Accountant David Greenwell, with Cole and Reed PC.

With a recession underway and two million people out of work, the IRS is addressing the tough economic climate.

"We're doing things that we can within the IRS to help taxpayers that are in financial distress," IRS spokesman David Stell said.

Among them are adjusting the amounts taxpayers owe and even suspending their debt all together, but each case is different.

The IRS compiled a list of steps you need to take if you're in a financial bind. Step one is to file your taxes anyway, even if you owe and can't afford to pay.

"Even if you don't send in one cent on your tax return, file it on time. That avoids a late filing penalty," Stell said.

Step two is to request an installment payment plan.

"If the bottom line shows that they owe but they can't pay, we're going to work with the taxpayers to help them get that paid as soon as possible," the IRS spokesman said.

And lastly, keep the IRS informed of any changes in your financial situation.

"Let us know what the whole financial picture is and perhaps we can take the necessary action to make it easier on that taxpayer," Stell said.

The IRS said it also makes allowances for those affected by a natural disaster. And an additional help is that stimulus checks do not count as income and therefore are not going to be taxed.