How Long Can the IRS Pursue Back Taxes?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a limited amount of time to collect back taxes, penalties, and interest from taxpayers. This time period is known as the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED).

Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED)

The CSED is generally 10 years from the date the tax was assessed. This means that the IRS has 10 years to take collection actions, such as garnishing wages or levying property, to collect the tax debt.

However, there are several exceptions to the 10-year CSED. For example, the CSED is suspended during certain periods, such as when the taxpayer is in bankruptcy or when the IRS is prohibited from collecting the tax by court order.

Suspending the CSED

The CSED can be suspended for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Bankruptcy: The CSED is suspended while the taxpayer is in bankruptcy and for six months thereafter.
  • Offer in Compromise: The CSED is suspended while the IRS is considering an offer in compromise from the taxpayer.
  • Installment Agreement: The CSED is suspended while the taxpayer is making payments under an installment agreement with the IRS.
  • Combat Zone: The CSED is suspended while the taxpayer is serving in a combat zone.
  • Innocent Spouse Relief: The CSED is suspended for the innocent spouse while the IRS is considering a request for innocent spouse relief.

Extending the CSED

The CSED can be extended for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Waiver: The taxpayer can sign a waiver that extends the CSED.
  • Wrongful Levy or Seizure: The CSED can be extended if the IRS wrongfully levies or seizes the taxpayer’s property.
  • Tax Court Petition: The CSED can be extended if the taxpayer files a petition with the Tax Court.

Expiration of the CSED

If the CSED expires, the IRS can no longer take collection actions to collect the tax debt. However, the tax debt does not disappear. The IRS can still file a lawsuit to collect the debt, but the taxpayer may have defenses to the lawsuit if the CSED has expired.

What to Do if You Owe Back Taxes

If you owe back taxes, it is important to take action to resolve your debt as soon as possible. You can contact the IRS to discuss your options, such as entering into an installment agreement or applying for innocent spouse relief.

Additional Resources

How Long Does The IRS Have To Collect Back Taxes


Does IRS forgive debt after 10 years?

Yes, after 10 years, the IRS forgives tax debt. However, it is important to note that there are certain circumstances, such as bankruptcy or certain collection activities, which may extend the statute of limitations.

What is the IRS 6 year rule?

6 years – If you don’t report income that you should have reported, and it’s more than 25% of the gross income shown on the return, or it’s attributable to foreign financial assets and is more than $5,000, the time to assess tax is 6 years from the date you filed the return.

How many years can IRS go back for unpaid taxes?

In general, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has 10 years to collect unpaid tax debt. After that, the debt is wiped clean from its books and the IRS writes it off. This is called the 10 Year Statute of Limitations. It is not in the financial interest of the IRS to make this statute widely known.

How far back can the IRS go to penalize you?

Under Section 6531(2) of the U.S. Tax Code, the IRS has six years from the time the tax return is filed or from the last willful act that prevented the filing of a tax return from bringing a criminal tax charges. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint when, exactly, the last willful act occurred.

How long do you have to file back taxes?

Remember, you can file back taxes with the IRS at any time, but if you want to claim a refund for one of those years, you should file within three years. If you want to stay in good standing with the IRS, you should file back taxes within six years. How Long Can the IRS Collect Back Taxes?

How long does the IRS have to collect taxes?

The IRS statute of limitations period for collection of taxes is generally ten (10) years. Once an assessment occurs, the IRS generally has 10 years to pursue legal action and collect on tax debt using the considerable resources at its disposal, which include levies and wage garnishments.

Does the IRS have a statute of limitations on back taxes?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) technically doesn’t impose a statute of limitations on how long you have to file past-due tax returns, known as back taxes.

How long will the IRS go back if I don’t file taxes?

However, in most cases, the IRS observes a six-year statute of limitations for unfiled returns. In other words, if you don’t file your returns, the IRS will generally only go back six years. However, if the IRS believes you have been trying to evade taxes, the agency will go back further.

Leave a Comment