Solving Tax Issues

Tax problems can be solved. By staying calm and focused, it's possible to defend a tax return being audited or pay off tax debts. Here are some resources to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do you get tax help?

    You can download virtually any form or publication from You'll find a tremendous amount of information right at your fingertips, including FAQs, tax law changes, and planning calculators. It's not a substitute for talking directly with a tax expert, but the site can point you in the right direction when you need answers to basic tax questions. The IRS also provides toll-free numbers such as 800-829-1040 for questions related to personal taxes.

  • How do you get out of tax debt?

    In March 2020, the IRS eliminated its Expanded Installment Agreement program. In its place, the agency unveiled a non-streamlined installment agreement (NSIA). The NSIA allows taxpayers who owe between $50,000 and $250,000 to pay the balance owed before the collection statute expires, which is generally up to 120 months if the balance owed is for a current year. If you can’t afford the minimum payments, you can try selling assets to have cash ready, or asking for a deferment or requesting an offer in compromise from the IRS.

  • How do you settle tax debt?

    Offers in compromise allow taxpayers to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed. This program is available for those who need it, which means the IRS will assess your income, expenses, assets equity, and overall ability to pay your debt as it considers your offer in compromise.

  • Why is there a problem with my tax refund?

    Several issues could be holding up your refund, but some problems are more common than others. Some of the most common causes of tax refund delays include entering incorrect information or making math errors on your return, claiming certain credits, filing a paper return, having unpaid debt or taxes, or dealing with security issues such as identity theft.

Key Terms

Reasons Why the IRS would Remove a Federal Tax Lien: It was filed in error, the balance has been paid in full, a compromise has been reached, or the lien becomes unenforceable
Tips To Prevent and Remove Federal Tax Liens From Appearing on Your Credit Report
Woman reviewing tax forms at home and looking distressed, hand on her forehead
IRS Form 656
What to know about the IRS' tiebreaker rules Dependency exemption almost always goes to the parent who is given legal custody of the child by court order Assuming the child did somehow manage to spend exactly the same amount of time in each parent's home during the tax year, dependency exemption goes to the parent with the highest adjusted gross income If granted dependency exemption, file a tax return listing the correct dependents To prep for the subsequent audit, gather any records indicating that your child lived with you and when, like school and medical records
IRS Tiebreaker Rules for Multiple Taxpayers Claiming the Same Dependent
What Happens If I Don't File a Tax Return for a Few Years?
What Happens if You Don't File Taxes?
Male and female professionals studying paperwork together, the woman pointing at something in a document
Tax Information Privacy
A woman sits at her dining room table with laptop and tax paperwork
What Are Your Payment Options if You Owe the IRS?
Woman doing taxes online on a laptop at home
Filing a Late Tax Return and Protecting Your Refunds
Father greeting his children with open arms as they run to him at the front door
How To Avoid and Resolve IRS Audits Over Claiming Dependents
Rear view of a thoughtful man sitting at a desk with laptop in front of a window showing a city skyline
How To Request a Partial Payment Installment Agreement With the IRS
Headshot of Kristin Myers between illustrations of people, above the text "My Two Cents"
I Haven’t Paid My 2020 Taxes. What Do I Do?
A smiling person in red shirt sitting cross-legged while leaning on a brick wall using their laptop
You May Be Entitled to a Social Security Tax Refund
A couple is doing accounting at home.
Form 433-A
Couple paying bills
Installment Agreements for Paying Federal Tax Debts
young man paying bills at table
How to Pay Off Tax Debts to the IRS
what to do with an incorrect w-2: Contact your employer and request a new correct form Contact the IRS by phone Visit a Taxpayer Assistance Center If bankruptcy is the case, follow up directly with bankruptcy court
What to Do if You Receive an Incorrect W-2 Form
A young woman happily looking over her tax refund
Wondering When You Will Get Your Tax Return?
An IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
Simple Steps for Getting Your Tax Transcript
Two people look at a piece of paper.
You Don't Have to File Your Tax Return by April 15: Ask for More Time.
Woman with baby on her lap working on a laptop
Does the IRS Owe You Money?
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Currently Not Collectible
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Is It Too Late if You Forgot To Claim Your IRA Deduction?
Women discussing financial bills while using laptop at table at home
Why Debts Discharged in Bankruptcy Are Not Taxable Income
A woman sits at her dining room table with laptop and paperwork doing her taxes
What to Do When You Can't Pay Your Income Taxes on Time
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Tax Penalties for U.S. Citizen Overseas Unaware of Their Citizenship
Trying to get their finances in order
IRS Tax Audit
Woman laying on a bed using a calculator as she completes a federal tax return
Offer in Compromise
Serious-looking woman speaks on the phone while holding tax documents
How the Taxpayer Advocate Service Helps Taxpayers
Man working on laptop
Why Your Tax Refund Is Delayed

Page Sources

  1. Internal Revenue Service. "Internal Revenue Manual Part 5. Collecting Process."

  2. govinfo. "26 U.S.C. 6502 - Collection After Assessment," Download text.

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Form 656 Booklet Offer in Compromise," Page 1. 

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "Why It May Take Longer Than 21 Days for Some Taxpayers To Receive Their Federal Refund."

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "IRS Statement — Updated IRS Audit Numbers, May 26, 2022," Page 1.

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return 2021," Page 2.

  7. Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 418 Unemployment Compensation."

  8. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 1040-X." 

  9. Taxpayer Advocate Service. "90 Day Notice of Deficiency."

  10. Internal Revenue Service. "Offer in Compromise."

  11. govinfo. "26 U.S.C. § 6103. Confidentiality and Disclosure of Returns and Return Information."

  12. Taxpayer Advocate Service. "Currently Not Collectible."

  13. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 8606: Nondeductible IRAs."