If you don’t pay your tax in full when you file your tax return, you’ll receive a bill for the amount you owe. This bill starts the collection process, which continues until your account is satisfied or until the IRS may no longer legally collect the tax; for example, when the time or period for collection expires.
The first notice you receive will be a letter that explains the balance due and demands payment in full. It will include the amount of the tax, plus any penalties and interest accrued on your unpaid balance from the date the tax was due.
The unpaid balance is subject to interest that compounds daily and a monthly late payment penalty. It’s in your best interest to pay your tax liability in full as soon as you can to minimize the penalty and interest charges. You may want to investigate and consider other methods of financing full payment of your taxes, such as obtaining a cash advance on your credit card or getting a bank loan. The rate and any applicable fees your credit card company or bank charges may be lower than the combination of interest and penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Code.
If you’re not able to pay your balance in full immediately, the IRS may be able to offer you a monthly installment agreement. In some cases, you can establish an installment agreement by using the online payment portal, or you may complete form 9465 and mail it in with your bill. You may also request an installment agreement over the phone by calling the phone number listed on your balance due notice. There’s a user fee to set up a monthly installment agreement. For low-income taxpayers, the user fee is reduced and possibly waived or reimbursed if certain conditions apply.