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How Long Can the IRS Pursue Back Taxes?

How Long Can the IRS Pursue Back Taxes?

Once you file a tax return and it is accepted by the IRS, you may think that taxes for that year are now firmly in your past. However, the IRS looks at tax returns on a regular basis to identify whether there was an underpayment or not. If there was an underpayment, you can bet the agency will pursue any taxes owed with a variety of collection methods. Many people are shocked to receive collection notices years after they filed a tax return and they often ask whether there is any type of deadline when the IRS must stop trying to collect.

Like other types of legal actions, collections by the IRS do have a statute of limitations.1 However, there is not one simple answer to how long the agency has as there are many steps in the collection process. The following is a basic timeline of how long the IRS has to collect a back debt.

Three years from the date the tax return was filed or due (whichever was later) — Deadline for the taxes to be assessed, which means that an officer for the IRS determines and signs off on the amount of taxes owed on the return.

Six years from the date the tax return was filed or due (whichever was later) — Deadline for the taxes to be assessed if there was a significant omission on the returns (over 25 percent of income).

10 years from the date of assessment — Deadline to take action to collect the unpaid taxes.

No deadline — If a tax return was never filed, included false or fraudulent information or involved an attempt to intentionally evade taxes.

Find Out How an IRS Tax Relief Attorney Can Help You

It can be complicated to understand whether a collection attempt is within the IRS statute of limitations or not since the rules are not very straightforward. An experienced tax lawyer can carefully review your case and can advise whether the statute of limitations has expired or whether there are other ways to defend against collections. If you need help with an IRS collection or have any other tax-related issues, call Attorneys Tax Relief at (800) 261-6671.

1https://www.irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-006-001r-cont01.html#d0e4420

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