IRS Debt Relief Programs FAQ & Signs of a Scam

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If you owe back taxes, state or federal, there are several debt relief program options available to you.

The biggest problem is that if someone tells you they can get all of your tax debt forgiven, it’s likely because they are trying to scam you.

Here are some tips for avoiding a potential scam artist when looking into IRS debt relief programs and FAQ you may want to know before applying for the IRS debt relief program.

How does the IRS determine who qualifies?

The first thing to note about working with an actual government agency proposing legitimate debt relief is that there are specific qualification requirements necessary before being accepted into any program.

These requirements include income levels and which type of debt is owed. 

For instance, the Fresh Start Program only applies to certain types of debts while others apply to people with low-income.

When applying for an actual IRS debt relief program, it’s your responsibility to provide proof of income and copies of financial statements.

If any evidence is required by the governing agency then no third party can complete this process for you, not legally anyway.

The same applies if they guarantee that your application will be accepted before submitting the application.

A reputable company must give all their customers access to the IRS site so that each individual can apply themselves instead of depending on someone else to fill out this paperwork for them.

Is There an IRS Debt Relief Program?

There are several types of official IRS debt relief programs available, each with different requirements to meet before you can be accepted.

If you explore these options yourself, it should take no more than an hour or two to fully understand the qualifications and how to apply.

It may seem daunting at first but there’s really nothing complicated about it if you have access to a computer and an internet connection.

As long as you take your time and gather all the evidence required by the government then filling out this paperwork is not too difficult.

The real problem is that a lot of scammers take advantage of people who don’t know what they’re doing, especially if their English skills aren’t very good either because they’re from another country or because they’re struggling with literacy.

How Do You Get Your IRS Debt Forgiven?

That’s the big question, isn’t it?

If someone tells you they can guarantee that you’ll have all your debts forgiven then there is a very good chance that they are trying to scam you.

This is not something that any government agency would ever promise because it’s simply not possible for them to do so without first having their own investigation into your case.

No two cases are alike and there are very strict guidelines set out by Congress at the federal level as well as state laws that must be followed before anyone can officially forgive tax debt.

Neither side may waive these requirements even if your case seems more complicated than usual.

Is the IRS Forgiving Debts?

No, they are not.

The only debts that the IRS may be willing to forgive on a case-by-case basis are those which were incurred through tax evasion.

Since the IRS cannot accept false information on your returns then it is also illegal for anyone else to do so as well, including third parties who offer debt relief services.

If someone does guarantee that you’ll have your back taxes forgiven then they are either trying to scam you or simply don’t know how this process works–or both.

Be wary of anyone who claims there is an easy solution–there isn’t any except for taking the time to fill out all of the proper paperwork yourself and following whichever guidelines apply to your case.

Again, if you cannot complete this process yourself then get help, but only from someone who isn’t asking for any money upfront.

A reputable company will be happy to educate you on the debt relief process while also offering their services at a fee once your application is accepted.

If that’s what they’re doing, then it doesn’t matter which agency you’re dealing with because all of them provide the same range of options for resolving tax debt issues.

No two cases are alike so it would be impossible for anyone or any program to guarantee results ahead of time because there simply aren’t any guarantees when it comes to government agencies.

However, if someone tries to convince you otherwise–then walk away and find out more about how this process works for yourself.

IRS Debt Settlement Program (IDSP)

Since the IRS cannot simply waive debts, what they can do is negotiate repayment terms with taxpayers who either don’t have the money to pay their full tax debt or those who are struggling to make ends meet and would need a longer period of time to repay what they owe.

This program allows people to qualify for this type of repayment plan rather than facing complete financial ruin caused by back taxes that simply cannot be paid off in one lump sum.

Before your application can even begin processing you must first gather all the evidence required and complete each step as outlined by the IRS itself so it’s important not to jump ahead and skip any steps no matter how easy you think a task may be.

To find out more about what the IRS Debt Settlement Program is all about and how you can qualify, visit

There’s no need to wait until your back taxes are so far behind on filing deadlines that you risk penalties plus interest charges every single day.

If you want to resolve your case, then take action now by working directly with the agency responsible for collecting taxes in the first place which also happens to provide options for those who simply cannot pay off what they owe at once or within regular repayment terms.

Keep in mind that any third party offering debt relief services must first register as a tax preparer and this is something else they don’t tell people who can’t afford representation when they call in desperate for help, so be very careful when it comes to this subject.

How to Qualify for IRS Fresh Start Program

To be eligible for the Fresh Start Program you must meet all of the following criteria:

You must make less than $104, 000 per year. This is the limit that applies to most taxpayers who are filing singly or as head of household.

Married couples filing jointly will need to make less than $150,000 combined and both spouses must provide proof of income before filing with this option.

If your current tax bill is less than $50,000 then it’s possible to pay 50% upfront and spread the remainder over three years.

If you owe more than $50,000 in back taxes, then they cannot help unless you consider borrowing money from friends or family which may not always be an option if your case involves large sums.

In some cases, depending on the financial circumstances of the taxpayer, it can be possible to negotiate a settlement of up to 25% which is a lot better than nothing.

However, keep in mind that if you do this then all future refunds will be applied directly to your debt until it’s satisfying and while interest may no longer apply, collection fees could still accrue at a rate of 25%.

Your best option is always going to be settling with the IRS for less than what you owe, but if they refuse this request then start making payments as requested so all penalties and fees are covered along with any other charges associated.

If you cannot afford representation from an attorney or tax professional, then get help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service free of charge. 

This is a government agency that’s been around ever since the 1970s when it was established to assist with difficulties when filing tax returns.

They have helped countless people resolve their cases in a way that saves them thousands of dollars and in most cases, this is all they need to do to qualify for the IRS debt relief program without having to pay any upfront

How Does the IRS Debt Relief Program Work?

There are currently three different types of IRS debt relief programs, including Fresh Start, the Collection Due Process Program, and Currently Not Collectible.

The first option is for people who don’t qualify for Fresh Start or any other program yet still have a low-income level so they can apply to reduce or cancel their tax debts.

If you’re unable to pay your taxes but have a low income then another type of program may allow you to negotiate a settlement with the government agency that’s holding your debt.

Finally, if neither program applies then you probably live in one of at least nine specific states where federal law prohibits creditors from taking certain actions against you as long as you owe back taxes. also includes an automatic stay on any and all collection efforts.

For most people who need to take advantage of this program, the first step is to show proof of income and copies of financial statements–both for your business and personal tax returns.

Then you just fill out the online application form that’s found on official government websites such as or

How Do I Sign Up For An IRS Debt Relief Program?

The majority of tax relief programs use a point system where any individual can earn points by providing certain evidence to prove their eligibility for reduced debt or complete forgiveness.

A potentially reputable company should provide access to these applications so each person can apply directly without having someone else do it for them illegally because they don’t know what they’re doing.

This program only applies to people with low income that can prove their status through tax returns or any other official document required by the IRS.

For example, if you earned less than two times the national poverty level then you’re likely eligible for this program even if your application is rejected at first because of a missing piece of evidence.

However, it’s your responsibility to provide all necessary documents so don’t let anyone else apply for you either online or directly because they could be committing fraud instead of helping you stay out of trouble.

How Long Does It Take for the IRS to Forget About My Debts?

If your tax debt doesn’t qualify for an actual IRS relief program then there’s another way you might be able to prove your low-income status to the agency.

The government recently created a form called Form 911 that can exempt you from paying taxes for up to three years if you meet certain criteria–including being unable to pay living expenses because of a medical condition or disability as well as not earning enough money from work due to natural disaster, military service or other forms of hardships.

This form proves someone’s inability to pay their tax debts because they have an extremely low-income level and/or no assets that could be taken by creditors, but it isn’t easy to complete at first glance either.

That’s why scammers take advantage of people who don’t know what they’re doing and charge them a lot of money without ever getting them relieved from their tax debts.

Note: It’s important to understand that tax relief is not a quick fix and there are no immediate benefits for an individual who applies and gets accepted into the program. Although the process can be completely free, it could take several months –or even years–before you’re finally relieved from your tax debt over time if they approve your application.

5 Signs of Debt Relief Scam You Need to Be Aware Of

When you are trying to get your taxes done, the last thing you want to have to worry about is being cheated by a scam artist.

But sadly there are many scammers out there who prey on people just like you who are stressed out and willing to do anything for some financial relief. The best way to avoid these scammers is simply knowing what to look for.

There are many signs of a scam, but here are the five major ones along with some tips on how to stay safe.

#1) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

No legitimate organization is going to offer you quick financial relief without expecting something in return.

No matter how desperate you are, remember that the only way to get out of debt is by paying your dues.

#2) If they insist on taking a large up-front fee, it’s probably a scam.

Legitimate IRS Debt Relief firms do not need or want a lot of money upfront. 

They understand that dollars are tight and they can’t expect you to be able to pay for their services when you haven’t even filed your taxes yet.

#3) If they claim not to be working with the IRS, it’s probably a scam.

The IRS is continually working with debt relief firms to help their clients get some relief. If they weren’t, they would be out of business very quickly.

#5) If you are asked to pay your taxes via gift card, it’s probably a scam.

One major sign that something is amiss with an IRS Debt Relief firm is if they want you to pay them with gift cards instead of money orders or checks.

The IRS has never accepted store-bounded payment methods like Gift Cards and will never do so in the future.

Next time you need expert advice on how to handle your tax problems remember these basic rules about avoiding scammers and you’ll always stay safe!

Why are scammers so prevalent now?

Many people are unaware of what tax relief options are available because they never had to use them in their lifetime.

This is another reason why scammers can be so successful because they are offering something that seems too good to be true.

If you owe back taxes, contact the IRS immediately or seek help from a tax relief agency listed with the Better Business Bureau.

What should you watch out for?

If someone promises that they can erase your back taxes or any other debt owed to the federal government, then it’s likely a scam.

These schemes will often try to get their customers to pay an upfront fee first, which is never necessary when applying for legitimate relief programs.

If someone asks you for money before you’ve even applied for assistance, this should be your first sign of trouble because there are no exceptions made by the IRS or any other branch of the federal government.

Also, beware of anyone who asks to be paid via wire transfer because these are difficult to trace and could mean your money is being sent abroad instead of toward your debt relief program application process.

How the IRS Debt Relief Scam Usually Works

The scam itself is fairly simple: con artists make money by taking a percentage of the fees for themselves and not actually submitting the paperwork to the government.

If you pay them before they submit your application, there’s no way to refund that money because it was never submitted in the first place.

The scammers still get their cash but you’re left with nothing more than an empty promise.

You’ll have spent several months or years under the impression that you were becoming debt-free but all of that time will be wasted.

Any reputable company working with a real IRS debt relief program does not require payment until after your application has been accepted and approved so there should be no risk involved for you at all if this is how they do business.

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