IRS Debt Relief: How to Stop the IRS Collection Process Timeline

Understand the actions you can take to delay the IRS collection process—and resolve your tax debt.

Smiling professional

Got an IRS Tax Bill?

The sinking feeling you experience when you get an unexpected tax bill can quickly turn to fear if you realize you can’t pay the amount due.

You likely have a thousand questions, starting with:

  • Can the IRS send me to collections?
  • Can they take my assets?
  • Will they garnish my wages or seize my bank accounts? 
First you need to know: What happens next?

A qualified tax professional understands the IRS collection process and timeline. We can help you quickly address your situation and determine how to settle your IRS tax debt.

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IRS Debt Relief Is Available

When you’re faced with a large tax bill, navigating the ins and outs of the IRS can feel overwhelming. Start by talking with a qualified tax expert who can help you understand the communications you’re receiving. When you know where you stand, your tax professional can help you take appropriate steps to resolve the debt.


What are the stages of the IRS tax debt notifications process?

The IRS follows an established protocol for tax debt notifications. Your tax professional can help you identify where you are in this sequence—and what will come next.

  • IRS notice of balance due—This first notice will inform you of the amount of tax due, plus penalties and interest, and demand payment in full.
  • Second notice—If the IRS doesn’t receive payment after the first notice, they send a second.
  • Notice of Intent to Levy—This letter lets you know that the IRS intends to take direct action to obtain the amount owed. It is typically followed by a Final Notice of Intent to Levy.
  • Notice of Federal tax lien—This notice informs you of a legal claim against your current and future property, assets, and income.
  • Assigned to a revenue officer—In serious cases, an individual IRS officer will be assigned to the collections case. The IRS can also enlist the help of private debt collection agencies.
Concerned woman reading IRS letter

Get tax debt help quickly to stop IRS collections

Even if you aren’t able to pay the tax debt in full, it’s important to respond to any tax bill or letter from the IRS.

If you ignore the situation, it rapidly gets worse. The IRS uses technology solutions such as the Automated Underreporter Program and Automated Substitute for Return Program to enable faster, more accurate tracking of missed tax filings and assessment of back taxes. Penalties are also calculated automatically—and interest is compounded daily.

Even if you’ve already received notice of Intent to Levy, it’s not too late. A qualified tax professional knows what to do, who to contact, and the actions to take to suspend the collection process—and give you time to find a solution.

Regardless of your situation, we have the experience to deal with it —and we can help you find the right path to resolve your tax debt.

Learn More About How to Deal with Your Tax Debt

What You Need to Know: Overcoming Obstacles to Get IRS Debt Relief

When your attempts to contact the IRS are met with long hold times, dropped calls, and repeated redirections—but no answers—it’s tempting to give up. But you’re not alone. Professional tax relief services can remove the burden of dealing with the IRS and help you get control of your situation.

Due process

Your right to due process: An established path to tax settlement

As a taxpayer, you have a constitutional right to due process. Although the IRS will work diligently to collect your tax debt, they also want to avoid resource-intensive actions such as an IRS levy or seizure of property. They work methodically through an established collection process.

During that process, you have time to determine how to pay the balance due, set up an IRS installment agreement, or make other arrangements to settle the debt.

10 Years of IRS collections

Tax relief services help you shorten the time to tax debt resolution

If you’re like most people, it’s important to relieve the stress of tax debt so that you can get on with your life.

However, working through the process can be tedious and time-consuming. You may have to provide extensive documentation, work through requirements of filing numerous forms to set up an appeal, and then … wait as your case makes its way through the bureaucracy of the IRS system.

A qualified tax professional can streamline the process because they know immediately what steps to take and how to follow up. They will be able to tell you exactly where your case stands at all times. And they will dramatically reduce the frustration of finding a resolution.

Two men discussing options to stop an IRS Levy

You DO have options to stop an IRS levy.

A qualified tax professional can provide a realistic assessment of the options available to you for preventing an IRS levy—and help you find an alternative for settling your tax debt.

Request a Collection Due Process Hearing—If your request is filed within 30 days of the Final Notice of Intent to Levy or Notice of Federal Tax Lien, the IRS cannot levy your account until the hearing is completed. If you do not agree with the hearing determination, you can then appeal in Tax Court. Next, your tax professional will work with the IRS to establish a solution that will prevent or remove the IRS levy:

  • Installment Agreement—To reduce the hardship of paying your tax debt, your tax professional can help you set up affordable monthly payments to pay all or part of the debt.
  • Offer in Compromise—Under specific qualifying circumstances, the IRS may accept an offer to pay less than the full amount of the debt.
  • Currently Not Collectible—If the IRS determines that you can’t pay the amount due without impacting your basic living necessities, it will temporarily suspend collections activities and payment requirements—and release any levies. This step doesn’t remove your responsibility to pay, and penalties and interest continue to accrue until the debt is paid.
Woman inquiring about tax debt forgiveness

Can you get tax forgiveness? Understand the full picture of your tax debt situation.

Many taxpayers hear advertised promises of “pennies on the dollar” and hope that they can find a way to get the IRS to “forgive” or eliminate their tax debt. The truth is, the IRS will attempt to collect as much of your back tax debt as they can.

It’s true that there is a potential to settle your IRS tax debt for much less than what you owe—a solution called Offer in Compromise—but the settlement is based entirely on the IRS’s determination of your ability to pay.

A tax professional will work with you to evaluate the full scope of your tax debt situation. You’ll gain a realistic understanding of how much your debt may be reduced—and what type of resolution will provide the best outcome for you.

We’ve worked with tax authorities for over 30 years.

Proven tax relief services from a seasoned tax professional can put you back in control of your financial situation.

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Tax Debt Relief Experts

We Have Tax Debt Help Down to a Science

For over three decades people have turned to TaxAudit when they have tax issues. We speak the language of the IRS and state tax authorities, we understand their processes, and we implement solutions through a proven approach that gets results.

Because we know what it will take to resolve your issue, we provide a fixed-price quote so that you can get your finances back on track. No surprises.

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