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IRS Eases Rules on Property Liens for Delinquent Taxpayers

March 7, 2011

IRS eases rules on property liens for delinquent taxpayers
The amount of back taxes a person can owe before facing a possible lien will be doubled to $10,000. Small firms with up to $25,000 in delinquent tax bills will be eligible for two-year payment plans.

Associated Press
February 24, 2011, 2:21 p.m.
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The Internal Revenue Service says it’s trying to help people who are struggling to pay delinquent tax bills, so it’s reducing the number of property liens and easing rules for small businesses to enter into installment agreements.

As the economy has soured, the agency has filed an increasing number of liens on property owned by delinquent taxpayers. The IRS filed nearly 1.1 million liens in the fiscal year that ended in September, compared with 426,000 in 2001.

The steps announced Thursday will double the amount of back taxes a person can owe to $10,000 before facing a possible lien. Previously, taxpayers who owed at least $5,000 and ignored numerous IRS notices would get an automatic lien placed on their property.

The change will make it easier for people to have liens withdrawn once tax bills are paid or they start paying under certain installment plans. More taxpayers can settle their tax debt for less than they owe, if they meet certain income and debt requirements.

Small businesses with larger delinquent tax bills will be eligible for 24-month payment plans. Previously, the tax bill had to be less than $10,000; now it’s up to $25,000.

The agency believes the changes “will help people trying to get right with their taxes and we think it strikes the right balance to protect the interests of the government,” said Doug Shulman, the IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said.

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