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5 common mistakes people make with IRS installment agreements

Navigating the intricacies of IRS installment agreements can be a challenging task. Many individuals inadvertently make mistakes that can lead to financial consequences.

Understanding these pitfalls is important to ensure a smooth and successful resolution with the Internal Revenue Service.

1. Underestimate monthly payment ability

One common error people make is underestimating their ability to make monthly payments. When setting up an installment agreement, individuals must realistically assess their financial situation to avoid committing to payments that become burdensome over time. Failure to accurately gauge affordability may result in missed payments and potential penalties.

2. Neglect to update financial information

Life circumstances change, and failing to update the IRS about significant financial changes is another misstep. Whether it is an increase in income or unexpected expenses, keeping the IRS informed is necessary. Failure to update financial information promptly may lead to inaccurate payment agreements and, in some cases, a default on the installment plan.

3. Ignore communication from the IRS

The IRS communicates important information through various means, including letters and notices. Ignoring or neglecting to respond to these communications is a serious mistake. Individuals should stay vigilant, promptly address any inquiries and comply with requests for additional information to maintain a positive relationship with the IRS.

4. Miss deadlines for payments

Timeliness is key when it comes to IRS installment agreements. Missing payment deadlines can result in penalties and interest accrual. Individuals should set up reminders and ensure that they make payments on time, preventing unnecessary financial strain and complications with the IRS. For example, in 2023, the IRS released estimates of an annual tax gap of $688 billion for 2020 and 2021.

5. Fail to understand terms and conditions

Before entering into an installment agreement, thoroughly understand the terms and conditions. Some individuals make the mistake of not carefully reviewing the agreement, leading to misunderstandings about interest rates, penalties and the overall duration of the arrangement. Clear comprehension of the terms ensures compliance and prevents future complications.

Avoiding these common mistakes is necessary for a successful and stress-free experience with IRS installment agreements.