Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
I’ve seen thousands of cases where the IRS grabs tax refunds from taxpayers. In most cases, there is one cause for this irritating IRS practice: The taxpayer didn’t respond to the IRS’s letters.
It’s as simple as that.
When you have a balance or a new assessment due, the IRS sends out a notice that gives you two ways to respond—by telephone or by mail.
To avoid the IRS keeping your refunds, all you need to do is respond and find out why there is an assessment. Sometimes the IRS made a mistake with your taxes and you owe nothing—by simply responding, you can make the new assessment go away. Or, you can correct whatever error caused the issue and resolve the problem that way.
When you actually owe the assessment
Sometimes, though, you may contact the IRS only to find that you do owe money. In these cases, things may get more complicated, and you may need to get a tax professional involved. Contact an enrolled agent, CPA, or tax attorney to help you identify the problem and solve it.
You may be facing an IRS balance for one of the following seven reasons:
What you can do to get your refund
At this point, it’s too late for preventative steps—you already owe money. So, what is the cure? How can you get your tax refund?
Let’s look at solutions by the numbers above.
1 and 4: Call the IRS and set up a payment plan, called an installment agreement. Schedule the payments to come directly from your bank account. The IRS will stop grabbing your refunds or your paycheck.
If you can’t afford to pay the bill, see if you qualify for an offer in compromise. Not everyone does, so don’t pay thousands of dollars to a company that says it can help you get one. It will likely just make things worse.
2: File a tax return for the year in question. You might still owe money, but it will be a lot less than the balance the IRS made up on your behalf.
3: Go back and dig out the notice or source of the assessment. You still have time to fix the problem if the IRS was wrong, but you’ll probably need a tax pro.
5: If you believe you should not be held liable for the taxes of your spouse or former spouse, you may have an innocent spouse case. Pursue it.
6: Identity theft is one of the biggest problems the IRS is facing this year. It has an area of its website devoted to helping you. Use this resource, immediately, to figure out your next steps.
7: When it comes to other debts, the IRS is powerless to help you. You must resolve the balances due directly with the agency.
While you may owe money to the IRS, ignoring its notices won’t make the problem go away. It will only delay the solution.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com, where your tax questions are answered. She is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.