Does The IRS Forgive Tax Debt After Ten Years?

According to the Tax Code (5.1.19.1.1), “Each tax assessment has a Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED). Internal Revenue Code section 6502 provides that the length of the period for collection after assessment of a tax liability is 10 years.” But hang on.

There are some circumstances which allow the IRS to ignore the ten-year statute of limitations on tax debts. For example: If you weren’t residing in the United States at the time the Statute expired, then the IRS is granted more time to pursue the collection of the debt. How long they have is dictated by the tax code. You can also be exempt from protection under the statute of limitations if you filed for bankruptcy protection from the IRS before the statute expired.

On the IRS website, you can find this document. In it, the IRS lists the following situations which allow them to ignore the ten year statute of limitations:

“We can attempt to collect your taxes up to 10 years from the date they were assessed. However, there are ways this time period can be suspended. For example, by law, the time to collect may be suspended while:

• We’re considering your request for an Installment Agreement or Offer in Compromise. If your request is rejected, we will suspend collection for another 30 days, and during any period the Appeals Office is considering your appeal request.

• You live outside the U.S. continuously for at least 6 months. Collection is suspended while you’re outside the U.S.

• The tax periods we’re collecting on are included in a bankruptcy with an automatic stay. We will suspend collection for the time period we can’t collect because of the automatic stay, plus 6 months.”

There are a few other reasons, but these are the items with the broadest implications for your average citizen, in my assessment. Contact us for more detailed information based on your unique circumstances.

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