Introduced in 2008, the IRS Fresh Start Initiative helps taxpayers by allowing them to pay off their tax debt over time. It can also help taxpayers avoid the consequences of unpaid tax debt, such as tax penalties, interest, tax levies, tax liens, asset seizure, and wage garnishment.
Once referred to as the Fresh Start Program, the Fresh Start Initiative is actually an updated set of guidelines for pre-existing IRS programs that help more people qualify for some much-needed tax debt relief. The two most common repayment options under the Fresh Start Program are extended installment agreements and Offer in Compromise (OIC). With an extended installment agreement, if you owe $50,000 or less, you can make monthly payments over six years without worrying about additional penalties and interest. Under OIC, you can potentially settle your tax debt for less than you owe.
Do I Qualify for the IRS Fresh Start Initiative Program?
There are several tax relief programs offered through the IRS Fresh Start Initiative, and each has its own set of qualifications. In general, however, all taxpayers must meet these minimum requirements:
Self-employed applicants must provide proof a 25% reduction in income
Tax debt owed must not exceed $50,000 at the end of the tax year
All required tax returns must be filed
If you have any unfiled returns from previous years, those must be submitted before you can request any relief through the Fresh Start Program. To assist with the process, it’s a good idea to work with a tax professional, such as those at Tax Defense Network, to ensure you meet all the IRS Fresh Start guidelines. We can help you with unfiled taxes, as well as determining which program is best for you.
Tax Defense Network
“My wife and I found [the TDN team] to be thoroughly professional, enormously knowledgeable and uncommonly courteous. Our 30-year accumulation of tax-penalty-and-interest debt was overwhelming. TDN swiftly analyzed our situation, put together a plan and presented our case to the IRS, achieving for us in a remarkably short time an unexpectedly happy outcome: A Fresh Start. We thank God that after receiving solicitations daily from tax attorneys and advisers all over the country, we made exactly the right choice: Tax Defense Network.”
— Albert R.
Common Questions About IRS Fresh Start Initiative
Q:Is the IRS Fresh Start Initiative real?
Yes, the IRS started its Fresh Start Initiative in 2008. In 2011, it expanded the initiative to be even more beneficial to taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 in unpaid taxes. Its updated guidelines can help both individual taxpayers and business owners in paying back taxes.
Q:Can small business owners benefit from the Fresh Start Program?
Yes. Businesses who owe under $25,000 can set up a payment plan to pay off their tax liability over a two-year period.
Q:If I have a federal tax lien, can the Fresh Start Initiative help me?
Fresh Start increased the threshold to $10,000 for filing a notice of federal tax lien. Taxpayers may get a lien withdrawal once their balance is either paid in full, or their balance comes under $25,000 and they are in a Direct Debit Installment Agreement.
Q:How do I apply for the IRS Fresh Start Initiative?
Because the Fresh Start Initiative is not a single program, and the qualifications vary, you’ll want to speak to a tax debt relief professional who can walk you through the application process.
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