Tax | Taxation

This tax season, the IRS feels your pain

File Brace yourselves: Tax season is here.

With the country mired in a recession and Americans facing loads of financial uncertainty, the thought of filing a tax return might be a bit ... well, taxing to some taxpayers.

This year, though, relief is coming from an unlikely source -- the IRS itself.

The IRS is giving its agents the authority to work with struggling taxpayers to help them pay their back taxes. In special "hardship" cases, taxpayers may be able to adjust their payments, avoid defaulting and possibly defer collection action by the IRS.

In "How bad is economy? IRS feels sorry for you," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman tells the Associated Press that the program is geared toward taxpayers who have a history of paying their taxes on time but who are struggling to make ends meet during this economic crisis.

"However," the article states, "(Shulman) cautioned that those seeking help will have to demonstrate their inability to pay. Those who fail to file tax returns, or who simply ignore collection notices, will not be eligible for help. ... 'This is not a free ride for people who can actually pay their taxes,' Shulman said."

There also are several new tax breaks available to taxpayers this year, and the IRS is encouraging taxpayers to take advantage of them -- and to file electronically so that they'll get their refunds as quickly as possible.

Find out more about the IRS's new program here. And don't miss these other tax season resources:

  • The MACPA's tax listserve: Ask questions and share resources and advice with hundreds of MACPA members.
  • 1040 Central: The IRS's tax-filing resource center.
  • CCH tax guides: The best-selling guides are available to MACPA members at 30-percent discounts.
  • Tax resource center: All of the MACPA's online tax resources in one place.
  • Money Management columns: Free columns that offer great advice for taxpayers.
  • Tax seminars: All of the latest tax developments from the MACPA. Pick "Taxation" under "Fields of Study" in our online catalog.

How are you preparing for tax season?


Bill Sheridan