By Andres Jaquez, Leslie Spires
March 11, 2019
If you’re dealing with tax debt, you’ve no doubt heard radio or TV ads touting the Fresh Start Initiative. But those ads don’t tell you what’s involved or what’s available in the way of help and representation. Read on to learn more about the IRS Fresh Start Initiative and who can qualify.
What Is the Fresh Start Initiative?
The Fresh Start Initiative is not new. In fact, if you search for Fresh Start Initiative on the IRS’s website, it gives you nothing on the topic. In part, that’s because the Fresh Start Initiative goes back to 2011 when these newly designed rules focused on taxpayers who owed back taxes but had no federal tax liens filed against them.
The IRS Fresh Start Initiative was designed to give taxpayers laden with first-time tax debt a second chance to do things right, and it included:
In 2012, the IRS expanded the Fresh Start Initiative, making it available to even more taxpayers. Revisions included:
These changes saw the IRS taking a more common-sense view of taxpayers struggling to pay their bills. While the program was still based on specific formulas, the IRS worked to include real-life situations—the things that typically cause people to fall behind on their taxes—in their determinations.
Who qualifies for the “Fresh Start” Initiative?
Individual taxpayers who will accept paying their tax debt over time through an installment agreement with a direct payment structure can benefit from using the Fresh Start Initiative when:
If a taxpayer can qualify for the Fresh Start Initiative, certain bonus items can also come into play:
For businesses, the Fresh Start regulations are applicable when:
In addition, as a bonus for qualifying, the business may qualify for the abatement of specific penalties.
As with most IRS matters, there are procedures to follow that are beyond the information presented in this article. If you want to explore the possibilities of the Fresh Start Initiative, without commitment, contact our IRS Dispute Resolution and Collections team. We can help you determine the best strategy to bring you the tax debt relief you deserve!