Dealing with back taxes can be an overwhelming experience. Whether due to financial hardship, oversight, or misunderstanding of tax laws, falling behind on taxes is a problem that needs immediate attention.

Understanding Back Taxes

Back taxes accrue when you fail to pay your full tax liability by the due date. The longer these taxes go unpaid, the more penalties and interest accumulate, increasing the total amount owed.

Effective Strategies

  1. Assess the Situation: Begin by understanding how much you owe and for which years. Request a copy of your tax transcript from the IRS for clarity.
  2. Consider Payment Options: If you can’t pay the full amount, explore payment plans. The IRS offers various options, including short-term and long-term installment agreements.
  3. Penalty Abatement: If you have a legitimate reason for not paying your taxes on time, such as a medical emergency, you might qualify for penalty abatement.
  4. Offer in Compromise: This option allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount if you meet strict criteria, demonstrating that payment would cause financial hardship.
  5. Seek Professional Help: Navigating back taxes can be complex. Tax professionals can offer guidance, manage negotiations with the IRS, and help find the most suitable resolution strategy.


Dealing with back taxes is a challenging but surmountable problem. The key is to act quickly, understand your options, and seek professional advice if needed. Remember, the IRS is often willing to work with taxpayers to resolve their debts.