How to Get Rid of Tax Debt

Tax debt occurs when you fail to pay the appropriate amount on your taxes. This happens a couple of ways.

First off, you may miscalculate the amount of taxes you owe and therefore pay less than you really should. This is one of the hazards of preparing taxes yourself.

Another problem that contributes to tax debt is inadequate record keeping. If you claim deductions and later are questioned and cannot prove that the deductions are legitimate, you may incur tax debt.

A further cause of tax debt is being overextended in other areas of personal finance which may lead to inability to pay all taxes due.

The following steps will help you pay off tax debt.

How to Get Rid of Tax Debt

Own up to the fact that you have tax debt. Pretending it doesn't exist won't make it go away.

Contact a Tax Professional. A tax professional can help you avoid tax debt in the first place, and if you find yourself in a tax debt situation can provide advice and resources to help you manage it. Since tax debt is a serious problem, you shouldn't attempt to handle it without professional help.

Gather all receipts and any other paperwork the tax professional requires.

File an Offer in Compromise (OIC) using the IRS Form 656 obtainable from the IRS. This is a partial payment option that can only be done under certain circumstances. Your tax professional can help you determine if you qualify and help you fill out the form.

Negotiate payments with the IRS. If you owe more than you can conceivably pay immediately, you may qualify for a payment plan.

Take steps to reduce your monthly living expenses and increase your income to better your overall financial situation and to free up money to pay toward the debt.

Make your payments consistently, without missing a single payment. In due time, your tax debt will be completely paid off.


  • Don't ignore tax debt. Tax debt carries with it more severe consequences and penalties, so pay it first, before paying other debts. Don't send in partial payments unless you've received permission to do so. Don't ever falsify any records or documents.