A Short Beginner’s Guide to the Fresh Start Initiative

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An estimated 51% of Americans do not view the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an especially favorable light. When thousands of people don’t fully understand their taxes or end up owing money to the federal government every year, it’s not hard to see where these frustrations stem from.

If you are one of the many people struggling with tax debt, you have a few different options for relief. One of them is the Fresh Start Initiative. Here, we’ll provide a brief primer on this program, complete with some key facts you need to know.

What is the Fresh Start Initiative?

The Fresh Start Initiative is often referred to as a program, when in reality it is a series of changes made to Internal Revenue Service collection policies and procedures. It’s meant to help individuals in debt with the Internal Revenue Service who cannot pay their way out of it without facing liens or fees.

Small businesses can also enroll in this initiative to settle things like overdue tax liabilities. This initiative simplifies the process of paying off large tax debts and eliminates many of the drawbacks typically associated with paying off debts to the IRS.

The original Fresh Start Program was implemented in 2008 to help Americans in tax debt. While it’s been available for about 10 years, it underwent some changes in 2012 that made enrolling easier for citizens struggling with unemployment or falling on hard financial times. It also underwent a name change, officially being renamed as the Fresh Start Initiative.

What are my options?

There are three basic options for tax debt repayment under the Fresh Start Initiative. The first is called an extended installment agreement. Designed for people who owe less than $50,000 to the IRS, it allows a repayment period of up to six years. There are no additional fees or interest rates, and this option stops IRS collections like wage garnishing and seizure of assets. If you’re interested in a wage-based repayment program, this is a popular option.

The second option is called an Offer in Compromise (OIC). It’s one of the rarer choices, but it’s possible for just about any taxpayer to achieve. Under this option, a taxpayer essentially makes an offer to settle their debt. This offer is often lower than the total debt, which means you’ll need some sound legal and financial advice before pursuing this path.

The final option is called a tax lien withdrawal. Selecting this repayment option isn’t advisable unless you have the money to pay off your total tax debt on-hand. It is incredibly important to have a team of tax professionals working with you if you want to pursue this direct debit repayment path.

Do I need professional help for the Fresh Start Initiative?

The short answer is yes. Working with a professional is necessary if you want to ensure everything is done correctly and on time. There will be forms to fill out and necessary documentation will need to be provided, as well. Along with this, the Internal Revenue Service can choose to reopen your case if you fail to follow through on any of the agreed upon terms. There is no doubt that working with an expert is an excellent way to ensure you do not miss a thing.

Still Have Questions?

If you find yourself overwhelmed with the legal aspects of this process, then depend on a team of reliable tax attorneys. Reach out to the experts here at Silver Tax Group with any and all of your IRS questions. The relief you need is just a phone call away.

Managing Partner of Silver Tax Group, author of the book “Stop the IRS”. Practicing a variety of tax issues, regulations, laws and rights. Specializing exclusively on tax matters involving IRS audits, negotiation, settlements & compromises.

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