Home > Personal Finance > Help! I Owe Money on My Taxes & I Can’t Pay

Comments 0 Comments

If you know you owe taxes but can’t pay right away, don’t despair. There are options, although some are admittedly better than others. Here a few ways to take care of your tax debt so it doesn’t come back to haunt you. Failing to pay your taxes can lead to a tax lien on your credit reports, which can not only be costly, it can severely damage your credit scores.

Arrange an Installment Agreement 

Even Uncle Sam understands not everyone has readily available funds to put toward their taxes. If you’re unable to pay your tax debt immediately, you can arrange to make monthly payments through an installment agreement. If you ultimately pay your tax debt in full, you may be able to ditch the fee for setting up the agreement and other penalties or interest, depending on your specific agreement.

To apply for a payment agreement, you’ll need to file your tax returns. You must also owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest. If you’re ineligible for an online payment agreement, you can still pay in installments by completing and mailing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, and Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement.

Get a Personal Loan

A personal loan is another way to cover a hefty tax bill, though you’ll pay interest on the financing and the loan amount and your monthly payment record will be noted in your credit reports. Also, the loan application will count as a hard inquiry into your credit, which will temporarily lower your score.

Keep in mind, you need good credit to qualify for a personal loan at the best interest rates. (You can find tips for improving your credit here.)

You can strive to minimize loan applications by researching a lender’s minimum credit score requirements in advance; the idea is to choose a lender whose requirements are in line with your credit score. (You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

Pay With Credit Card

The IRS authorizes many companies to accept credit card payments on its behalf, but these companies charge major fees, starting at 1.87% of the amount paid and running as high as 2.25%. (Debit cards also are typically charged between $2.50 and $3.95 per transaction.) Paying with credit card can be convenient, but it can also be expensive, given that, in addition to the fees, any balance you carry from month-to-month is likely to accrue interest.

If you’re in a jam and won’t be able to pay the charges off right away, you can minimize the cost by using your credit card with the lowest interest rate to pay your taxes. You may also want to look into using a credit card that features a 0% introductory interest rate and paying your tax bill off before its promotional interest period ends. (You can learn more about the best balance transfer credit cards in America here.)

More on Income Tax:

Image: Creatas

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team