How long can the IRS attempt to collect unpaid taxes?

October 01, 2020 by Richard L. Manies, MBA, EA, CTRS
Jar with coins in it that says Tax Pay

The IRS can attempt to collect unpaid taxes for ten years from the time the tax was assessed. During the ten years, the IRS can put tax liens on your property, which involves taking the property and selling it to pay your unpaid taxes. When you owe unpaid taxes, it can become public record and create many issues for you.

IRS tax liens and levies will hurt your credit rating because the IRS reports them to the credit bureaus. Once the IRS tax lien or levy is reported on your credit report, it can affect your ability to obtain loans and employment opportunities, or even result in the loss of professional licenses issued by your state. Also, if your tax balance due is more than $50,000, the IRS can share this information with the State Department, which may affect your passport or your ability to get one.

The IRS can take money out of any bank account with your social security number on the account. For example, the IRS can take all the money out of your bank accounts, jointly owned college savings accounts set up for your children, or savings accounts that elderly parents have set up for you. The IRS can also take money out of a business account, even if the money is not directly yours, such as a partnership bank account.

Also, the IRS can contact your employer to garnish taxes owed directly from your paycheck. This may leave you with a minimal amount of money to cover basic living expenses.

If you have not filed a tax return and you owe unpaid taxes for the year that you have not filed, the IRS has no statute of limitations on an unfiled tax return. Once the tax return is filed, then a tax will be assessed, and the 10-year statute begins to run. So, if you are ten years late filing a tax return, the IRS may have another ten years to attempt to collect the tax.

If you owe unpaid taxes, contact TaxAudit Tax Debt Relief Services. We can discuss your unpaid tax situation, review your tax debt solution options, and our tax professionals will help you resolve your tax debt problems.

Do you owe money to the IRS or State?

Get Professional Help Now!



Steve Banner, EA, MBA
Tax Content Developer


Steve Banner began his career in the field of income tax in 1977 and has since gathered business experience in a variety of countries and cultures. In addition to the United States, he has lived and worked for extended periods in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Sweden. Along the way he studied Adult Education and earned a Bachelor of Education, Master of Educational Administration, and MBA. He joined TaxAudit in 2016, where he is a Tax Content Developer.


Recent Articles

Woman looking in a parking space with her car missing
Since the government considers your vehicle to be just another piece of property, so is there a tax deduction for the theft of your car? Let's find out.
Private School Piggy Bank on a Calculator
There are some parts of the tax code that, in fact, can allow tuition fees to be fully deductible. However, in most cases you cannot deduct private tuition.
NOL form
If you suffered economic losses, you may have a net operating loss (NOL) on your taxes. Getting audited by the IRS for an NOL can be complicated.
You received an IRS notice CP162 in the mail. You are probably wondering why you received this notice and what it means – we are here to answer your questions.
This blog does not provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice. The content on this blog is “as is” and carries no warranties. TaxAudit does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the content of this blog. Content may become out of date as tax laws change. TaxAudit may, but has no obligation to monitor or respond to comments.