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IRS collection guidance and resources

Access resources to help set up payment arrangements and respond to collection notices from the IRS.

IRS procedures regarding the collection process is subject to intermittent deviations. For the latest developments, check out the latest news from The Tax Adviser.

Overview

Taxpayers who owe taxes to the IRS may be unable to immediately pay the liability. Use this toolkit to understand all the procedural aspects of the IRS collection process and identify if a payment arrangement could potentially be reached.

AICPA guidance

Guides, quick reference charts and more

Contacting the IRS FAQs

Access answers to frequently asked questions about corresponding with the IRS in the most efficient and effective manner.

How to use the IRS Online Payment Agreement Tool

The Online Payment Agreement (OPA) is an online tool for applying for a payment plan.

IRS Collection Appeal Options Quick Reference Chart

Differentiate between the different collection appeals procedures: IRS Collection Appeals Program (CAP), Collection Due Process (CDP) and Equivalent Hearings.

IRS first-time penalty abatement guidance

The first-time penalty abatement (FTA) waiver is an administrative waiver that the IRS may grant to relieve taxpayers from penalties if certain criteria are met.

IRS Hotlines Quick Reference Chart

Access contact information for various IRS departments to help you resolve client IRS tax matters swiftly.

IRS Payment Agreements Guide

Access high-level guidance about various types of IRS payment agreements, such as installment agreements, short-term extensions and offers in compromise.

IRS Penalty Abatement Templates

Request penalty abatement for your clients by mail or letter with these template letters on first-time penalty abatement and reasonable cause criteria.

IRS third-party authorization guidance

A taxpayer’s representative must have authorization to receive confidential tax information from the IRS and perform certain actions on the taxpayer’s behalf.

IRS letter templates

IRS Letter to Request Case Transfer from Private Collection Agency

Request an IRS third-party collection agency to move a client’s case back to the IRS Collection Division.

IRS Letter to Request Installment Agreement and Appeal

Request an installment agreement and, if necessary, a Collection Appeals Program (CAP) hearing prior to additional IRS collection activity (lien or levy).

IRS Letter to Request Reinstatement of Installment Agreement and Appeal

Request that a client’s terminated IRS installment agreement be reinstated and request for a Collection Appeals Program (CAP) hearing, if needed.

IRS guidance

Forms

Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals, and Instructions
Use to obtain financial information for a wage earner or self-employed taxpayer (often only used if specifically requested by a Revenue Officer; Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement, is usually the preferred form).

Form 433-B, Collection Information Statement for Businesses, and Instructions
Use to obtain current financial information to determine how a business can pay a tax debt.

Form 433-D, Installment Agreement
A business may use this form to request an installment agreement.

Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement
Use to obtain current financial information necessary to determine how a wage earner or self-employed taxpayer can satisfy outstanding tax debt. Note: Not all agreements require a collection information statement.

Form 656 Booklet
Use to understand and apply for an offer in compromise.

Form 9423, Collection Appeal Request
Use to appeal various collection actions, such as a lien or levy.

Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, and Instructions
An individual taxpayer may use this form to request an installment agreement (often attached to a balance-due return).

Form 12153, Request for Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing
Use to appeal various collection actions. Note: Evaluate the use of a CAP hearing versus a CDP hearing.

Form 12277, Application for Withdrawal of Filed Form 668(Y), Notice of Federal Tax Lien
Use to request that the IRS withdraw a lien.

Form 13711, Request for Appeal of Offer in Compromise
Use to appeal a rejected offer in compromise.

Form 14134, Application for Certificate of Subordination of Federal Tax Lien
Subordination means the IRS gives another creditor the right to be paid before the tax lien is paid; use this form to request subordination.

Form 14135, Application for Certificate of Discharge of Property from Federal Tax Lien
The IRS may discharge a tax lien from an asset to allow a sale to occur; use this form to request a discharge.

Publications

Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process
This provides general information about collection notices and enforcement actions.

Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency
The IRS contracts with private collection agencies to assist them in collecting overdue tax accounts.

Tools

E-Services
This suite of web-based tools allows practitioners and taxpayers to complete certain transactions online; it is often most valuable to practitioners to request and receive client transcripts.

IRS Automated Chat Bot
This IRS chat bot assists taxpayers with information on paying their taxes, collection alternatives, general collection FAQs, common collection notice information and other useful links on collection topics. To initiate the chat bot, scroll down on the page until the application pops up on the bottom right-hand corner of your computer screen with the option to “start a conversation.”

Offer In Compromise Pre-Qualifier
Use to see if a taxpayer may be eligible for an offer in compromise; enter financial information and tax filing status to calculate a preliminary offer amount.

Online Payment Agreement Tool
Use to request certain types of payment agreements, such as a monthly payment plan.

Your Online Account
Use to determine a client's payoff amount and the balance for each tax year/period.

Other resources

Collection Financial Standards
Use to help determine a taxpayer's ability to pay a delinquent tax liability; this includes national standards for food, clothing and allowable living expenses and other expenses.

Internal Revenue Manual Part 5. Collecting Process
The official manual of the IRS containing procedures for field collection procedures, case processing, offers in compromise, notices and levies, installment agreements and more.

IRS videos
Delve into IRS lien information and the collection process with IRS detailed videos.

Private Collection of Overdue Taxes
This IRS video explains to taxpayers how to know when contact from a private collection agency is legitimate.

Private Debt Collection
This IRS guidance page offers information about the IRS's program that authorizes certain contractors to collect, on the government's behalf, outstanding inactive tax debt.