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IRS Interest Rate Increases for Q4 2023

IRS Interest Rate Increases for Q4 2023

As the fourth quarter of 2023 unfolds, taxpayers across the U.S are faced with an important development – an increase in IRS interest rates. The IRS periodically adjusts its interest rates, and these changes can have significant implications for individuals and businesses. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the IRS interest rate increases, how they impact taxpayers, and what individuals and businesses can do to navigate this change effectively. 

About IRS Interest Rates 

The IRS sets interest rates to determine the amount of interest that accrues on unpaid taxes, late payments, and overpayments. Interest rates can vary by quarter. They are based on the federal short-term rate plus an additional 0.5 to 5 points, depending on the type of underpayment or overpayment. It’s also crucial to note that IRS interest rates compound daily. This means that the interest charged is based on the previous day’s tax balance, plus the interest. 

What are the new IRS interest rates for Q4 2023? 

The interest rates imposed by the IRS as of October 1, 2023, are as follows: 

  • Individual Tax Underpayment: 8% 
  • Large Corporation Tax Underpayment: 10% 
  • Individual Tax Overpayment: 8% 
  • Large Corporation Tax Overpayment: 7% 
  • Portion of Large Corporation Tax Overpayment Exceeding $10,000: 5.5% 

When does underpayment interest begin? 

The IRS begins charging interest on balances owed beginning on the due date. Your balance will continue to accrue interest until it is paid in full. It’s important to note that tax extensions are not extensions to pay – only to file. This means that if you file for an extension in April, you will have until October to file your taxes. However, your balance will continue to accrue interest until it’s paid in full. That said, if you don’t file your taxes or don’t pay your balance, you’ll also be subject to failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalties. You can also be penalized for underpaying estimated tax, making a payment with insufficient funds, or failing to file an accurate return.  

When does overpayment interest begin? 

Overpayments happen when you paid the IRS more than you owed in taxes. In these cases, the IRS will owe you a tax refund. The IRS generally has 45 days to issue your refund. If they exceed that time frame, they will typically pay overpayment interest. The interest will begin from the later of the following events: 

  • The tax deadline 
  • The date your late tax return was received by the IRS 
  • The date the IRS received your tax return in a sufficient format 
  • The date a payment was made 

Impact on Taxpayers 

The Q4 2023 increase in IRS interest rates will have several implications for taxpayers: 

  • Increased Costs: Taxpayers who owe money to the IRS will face higher interest costs on unpaid taxes, potentially making it more expensive to resolve their tax liabilities. 
  • More Attractive Savings: On the flip side, taxpayers who are owed refunds or have overpaid their taxes may benefit from higher interest rates on their refunds, making it more attractive to save or invest their tax refunds. 
  • Prompt Payment Encouragement: The higher interest rates can serve as an incentive for taxpayers to pay their taxes promptly, as delaying payments can lead to accruing additional interest charges. 

What You Can Do 

In light of the IRS interest rate increases in Q4 2023, there are steps that individuals and businesses can take to navigate this change effectively.

  • Pay Taxes Promptly: To avoid higher interest charges on unpaid taxes, make sure to pay your tax liabilities on time. 
  • Apply for a Payment Plan: If you cannot afford to pay your balance in full when it’s due, you should contact the IRS immediately to set up a payment plan. Doing so can help lower some of your penalties. 
  • Request Penalty Relief: There are a few instances where you may be able to get your penalties waived, such as being a first-time offender, acting with reasonable cause, or other statutory exceptions. 
  • File an Amended Return: You may be able to reduce your tax balance or penalties by filing an amended return.  

Tax Help for Those with Tax Balances 

Tax laws can be complex, and it’s advisable to consult a tax professional who can provide guidance on tax planning and managing your financial obligations efficiently. It’s essential for taxpayers to stay informed, plan wisely, and consider professional advice to navigate these changes in IRS interest rates effectively. By doing so, individuals and businesses can manage their financial responsibilities in an ever-evolving economic environment. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over a decade of experience helping taxpayers with tough tax situations. 

If You Need Tax Help, Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation 

Ask Phil: Mitigating & Removing IRS Penalties & Interest

Today, Optima Tax Relief’s Lead Tax Attorney, Phil Hwang, discusses penalties and interest again, but this time gives tips on how to mitigate and even remove them.  

Penalties and interest can quickly get out of hand. The best way to mitigate them is to pay your tax liability. We understand that this may not be an option for everyone. If you can’t pay your tax bill in full, you can set up an installment agreement with the IRS. This will reduce your penalty from a 0.5% accrual per month to 0.25% per month.  

Removing Penalties and Interest

If you’re looking to remove your penalties and interest, you have some options. The IRS offers penalty abatement for reasonable cause and first-time abatement. To request penalty relief for reasonable cause, you must prove to the IRS that you tried to file or pay but could not. Examples can include fires, natural disasters, inability to obtain records, death, serious illness, system issues, and some others. It does not include a reliance on a tax profession, lack of ignorance, errors, or lack of funds. 

The IRS also offers penalty abatement by administration waiver, more commonly known as first-time abatement. You can request a first time abate if you failed to file, failed to pay, or failed to deposit. To qualify, you must have a good history of tax compliance and did not have any penalties during the prior 3 years, or a penalty was removed for good reason other than a first-time abatement. 

While interest cannot be removed from your account, it can be adjusted if penalties are abated. Only the interest related to the abated penalty will be reduced or removed. 

Don’t miss next week’s episode where Phil will discuss the Employee Retention Credit. See you next Friday!  

If You Need Help Removing Your IRS Penalties, Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation 

How IRS Installment Agreements Work

how irs installment agreements work

When most people first examine tax relief options, they might have their hopes set on an offer in compromise – or their tax debt settled for less than what they owe. Unfortunately, OICs are more often denied by the IRS than they are accepted. When tax debt becomes too much to manage, an IRS installment agreement might be your best option. Here’s an overview of how IRS installment agreements work. 

What Is an IRS Installment Agreement? 

An installment agreement is basically an IRS payment plan to pay your tax bill over a set period of time. The installment agreement will bundle all taxes owed if you owe tax for more than a year. That said, you cannot have two installment agreements with the IRS. During this time, the IRS will generally stop levying. Collections are typically ceased or prolonged while the installment agreement is pending until it can be approved or rejected. However, the IRS will typically keep any tax refunds you receive and apply them to your tax bill. If the installment agreement request is rejected, collections will be suspended for 30 days. Every taxpayer has the right to appeal a rejection. In this case, collections will be suspended until a decision is made on the appeal.  

What IRS Installment Agreements Are Available? 

The IRS offers both short-term and long-term installment agreements. Let’s review the eligibility criteria, terms, and costs for both. 

Short-Term Installment Agreement 

With a short-term installment agreement, you will need to pay your full tax bill within 180 days or less. This option is available to taxpayers who owe less than $100,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. To qualify, you must be current on all tax returns. Individual taxpayers, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, can apply online, over the phone, via mail or in person for free. It’s important to note that interest will continue to accrue while you’re making payments. The current interest rate is 8% per year, compounded daily. Some penalties will also still apply. 

In general, the IRS will ask how much you can afford to pay each month. Once a monthly payment is finalized, payments can be made through automatic bank account withdrawals, also known as a Direct Debit installment agreement. You can also make non-automated payments online or by phone, or via check, money order, or a debit or credit card. Payments made with debit or credit cards will also be charged with a processing fee. Debit card processing fees are about $2-4 per payment while credit card processing fees can be up to 2% of the payment. You can review your installment agreement details through your online IRS account. You can also make some changes to your agreement online including your monthly payment, monthly due date, bank information, and more.  

Long-Term Installment Agreement 

Individuals

With a long-term installment agreement, you can pay your full tax bill in over 180 days. This option is available to taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 in combined tax, penalties and interest. To qualify, you must be current on all tax returns. Individual taxpayers, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, can apply online, over the phone, via mail or in person for free. It’s important to note that interest will continue to accrue while you’re making payments. The current interest rate is 8% per year, compounded daily. Some penalties will also still apply. 

The fees for a long-term installment agreement are more substantial. If you want to pay monthly through automatic withdrawals, there is a $31 online setup fee, or a $107 setup fee to apply by phone, mail or in person. Low-income taxpayers might be able to get this fee waived. If you want to make monthly non-automated payments, you will need to pay a $130 online set up ($43 for low-income taxpayers), or $225 to apply by phone, mail or in person. There is also a $10 fee to revise an existing installment plan or to reinstate after defaulting. This fee may be reimbursed for low-income taxpayers.  

Businesses

Businesses are also eligible for long-term installment agreements if they are current on all tax returns and owe $25,000 or less in combined tax, interest and penalties. The same setup fees apply to businesses. 

For debt less than $50,000, you will typically have a maximum of 72 months to pay off your tax bill. Your minimum payment can be found by taking your tax balance and dividing it by 72 months. If you find that you won’t be able to pay this calculated amount each month, you’ll need to complete Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement, which obtains your current financial information to determine how to pay your tax bill. 

For debt greater than $50,000, you will usually need to submit Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals, which obtains your current financial information to determine how to pay your tax bill. The IRS will also examine any meaningful assets you have that can be sold to pay down your balance and then set up an installment agreement. 

Tax Help for Those Seeking an Installment Agreement 

If you know you won’t qualify for tax debt settlement, an IRS installment agreement may be your best option to help manage your tax debt. An IRS installment agreement can truly be helpful to many taxpayers struggling with their tax debt. The most important thing to remember is to always make your installment agreement payment. If you default on your agreement, it may be terminated, and the IRS may begin enforcement actions. Be sure the installment agreement terms are viable for your own financial situation. Optima Tax Relief has over a decade of experience helping taxpayers get back on track with their tax debt.

If You Need Tax Help, Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation