How Long can the IRS Collect Back Taxes? | IRS Collections

May 07, 2024 by Charla Suaste
Man worried about money

If you have unpaid taxes that are due to the IRS, how long can they continue to attempt to collect them?

Per the collection statute expiration date, the IRS generally has 10 years from the date they assess your tax balance to collect taxes owed. This means that, after 10 years, the IRS must write off your debt as bad debt and they are no longer entitled to collect the balance from you. This happens more often than most people think!

It is important to note, however, that certain actions extend (called tolling) the 10-year collection period. Some of these actions may include filing for bankruptcy, requesting a collection due process hearing, requesting an installment agreement, or filing an Offer in Compromise. These are just some actions that toll the collection period, so please visit the IRS website here to see what other actions may impact your particular situation.

Several other unique factors could play a part in how long the IRS has to collect a debt. For example, for individuals on Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status, the statute period continues to run while you are in CNC status and, if you remain in that status until the ten-year period expires, the IRS will write off the debt. Another example is payroll tax liabilities where the IRS did not assess a trust fund penalty and the business is not able to pay off the debt. In these cases, we often see that the IRS has to write off the debt as a bad debt.

How do I know if I have unpaid taxes due?

The IRS will always send you notices to let you know that you owe them additional tax. If you ever receive any type of notice from them, it is always important to hold onto these for your records – and, when possible, to respond to them by the deadline listed on the notice. This will save you additional heartache in the future. If you believe you may owe the IRS additional tax but do not have any notices or have lost or misplaced them, you can always check the status of your account by checking your transcript on the IRS website or calling the IRS at 800-908-9946.

What if I am unsure about the information the IRS is providing me?

If you have an old tax debt, we recommend that you reach out to the IRS to find out how much time is remaining on the collection statute. Unfortunately, the IRS can make errors when calculating their collection statute expiration date, so you want to verify the notices you’ve received have accurate information. Calculations from a study done by TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) estimated that the IRS makes errors in their collection statute expiration close to 40% of the time – so when calling the IRS, ask them to walk you through their computations.

What if I don’t want to deal with the IRS alone?

This is where our Tax Debt Relief team can come in. If you owe the IRS tax debt and are unsure where to start, please reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation so we can look at your unique case. After that, we can offer you a comprehensive assessment and discuss the best course of action for your particular situation.

For more information, please check out the video below, visit our website, or reach out to our Customer Service team at 800.922.8348 and they will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Do you owe money to the IRS or State?

Get Professional Help Now!

Tags: collections, debt, IRS



Charla Suaste
Communications Content Developer


Charla Suaste joined TaxAudit back in 2007 and, over the past 14 years, she has worked in a variety of different roles throughout the organization, including as a Customer Service Representative, Case Coordinator, and Administrative Services Assistant. She now serves as the Communications Content Developer and is passionate about writing, editing, and making even the most complex concepts easy to understand. Outside of work, Charla enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts, and spending time in her garden.


Recent Articles

Double Taxation written on notepad
Most states that have income taxes offer a credit for taxes paid to another state on the same income, although how that credit is calculated is not identical.
File Cabinet with Documents
IRS notice CP05A is sent by the IRS to inform taxpayers that they need more information about the submitted income tax return before a tax refund can be issued.
Father and son baking cookies
You received an IRS CP87A because someone else filed a tax return and claimed the same dependent or qualifying child that you claimed on your tax return.
Man worried about money
Per the collection statute expiration date, the IRS generally has 10 years from the date they assess your tax balance to collect taxes owed.
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.