Bob Jablonsky & Associates Blog

Business Owners: Owe Back Taxes? Actionable Steps for Facing IRS Debt

by | Oct 2, 2023

Entrepreneurship can be hard. Some years are good, others are not so great. But every year, like clockwork, the IRS comes calling and asks you for what’s theirs.

Small businesses often face unexpected financial challenges. Among the scariest of these challenges is unpaid taxes. Although the IRS may appear patient initially, resting on one’s laurels can be a perilous decision. Once the IRS gears into action, they are known for their relentless pursuit and uncompromising measures. They are the most brutal collection agency on the planet.

So, if you find your business in this situation, it’s paramount to be proactive. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you correct the course.

Note: If the IRS is claiming you owe $10,000 or more, contact our firm immediately for a consultation and learn about your tax debt relief options:

  1.  Don’t Ignore The IRS

The first step is paying attention and taking action. You might not agree with the IRS but you can’t leave them in your pile of unread mail, or worse unopened mail. Recognize the gravity of unpaid taxes and understand that it’s a liability that won’t just dissipate. The sooner you confront the reality, the better you can strategize a solution.

  1. Open Lines of Communication:

Ignoring IRS notices can exacerbate your situation. Instead, get proper representation from a qualified tax relief firm and have them engage with the IRS on your behalf. Firms like ours have dealt with the IRS many times before. Timely responses showcase your commitment to resolve the issue and the right firm will guide you through every step of the process.

Owing 941 payroll taxes is double jeopardy. Not only can the IRS levy and lien your business income and assets, they can pierce the corporate veil, without a court order, and go against you personally.

  1. Understand Penalties and Interest:

Unpaid taxes don’t just stay static; they accumulate penalties and interest over time. With current IRS interest rates hovering at 8%, compounded daily, each day (that doesn’t include penalties), you procrastinate is costing you big time. Familiarize yourself with the accruing amounts to grasp the full scope of your liability. The more time you let pass, the higher the penalties and interest will be.

  1. Consider Installment Agreements:

The IRS often allows businesses to pay their tax liabilities over a period in monthly installments. If you can demonstrate genuine inability to pay the lump sum, they might consider an installment agreement. This can help in managing cash flows and ensuring business operations aren’t severely disrupted.

  1. Offer in Compromise (OIC):

In specific circumstances, the IRS might accept a reduced amount to settle the entire debt. Known as an Offer in Compromise, this option is contingent on demonstrating you cannot pay the full tax liability over the remaining 10-year collection statute. The right tax resolution firm will help you explore this option if you’re qualified for the program.

  1. Temporarily Delay the Collection:

If your business is in a dire financial situation, the IRS might temporarily delay their collection efforts. While this offers a short-term reprieve, it’s essential to use this time wisely and strategize a long-term solution.

  1. Seek Professional Assistance:

Engaging with a tax resolution firm can be invaluable. They can guide you through the intricacies of tax laws, help keep your business open, negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, and help formulate a plan tailored to your unique circumstances.

  1. Preventative Measures:

While addressing current unpaid taxes is vital, implementing systems to avoid future discrepancies is equally crucial. Regularly review your finances, maintain clear records, and stay updated with tax regulations. Make quarterly estimated payments and be proactive throughout that year by creating a concrete plan with your qualified tax resolution professional.

Unpaid taxes are a looming storm cloud for any small business owner. While the IRS might seem lenient initially, their eventual intervention can be formidable. By acknowledging the debt, communicating promptly, understanding your options, and seeking professional guidance, you can navigate these challenges effectively. Remember, in the realm of taxes, proactive action is always better than reactive measures.

Do you Need Help?

If you need help with a difficult tax return or if dealing with an IRS problem, we can help you.  Set up some time on my calendar at or give us a call at (954)715-7285.   Visit, to learn more about us.

Bob Jablonsky is the founder of Bob Jablonsky & Associates. He has spent his career helping taxpayers resolve tax issues and get back on track with the IRS. In addition to tax resolution his firm also prepares hundreds of tax returns every year for both individuals and small to mid-sized businesses.

Bob is an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA), which is an elite credential issued by the Internal Revenue Service to professionals who demonstrate special competence in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation matters. An Enrolled Agent license is the highest credential awarded by the IRS and is recognized across all 50 states. Additionally he is a CMA, or Certified Management Accountant, a designation for financial controllers and CFOs (Chief Financial Officers), as well as an Advanced Certified Quickbooks Pro Advisor.

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