December 8, 2023

Tax Debt Settlement Pros and Cons

If you owe the IRS money, tax debt settlement might be a solution to consider. However, before making a decision, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of this option. Here’s what you need to know:

Pros of Tax Debt Settlement

Reduced Debt

The most significant benefit of tax debt settlement is the possibility of reducing the total amount of debt you owe. Through negotiations with the IRS, you may be able to settle your tax debt for significantly less than what you owe. This can provide a significant financial relief and help you get back on track.

Flexible Payment Options

When you enter into a tax debt settlement agreement, you’ll be able to negotiate a payment plan that works for your budget. This can include making smaller monthly payments or even paying off the debt in a lump sum. As long as you stick to the terms of the agreement, you can avoid further penalties and interest charges.


Avoid Actions

Once you’ve entered into a tax debt settlement agreement, the IRS will generally stop all collection actions against you. This means that your wages won’t be garnished, and you won’t face any levies or liens. This can provide significant peace of mind and allow you to focus on repaying the debt.

Cons of Tax Debt Settlement

Negative Impact on Credit Score

Entering into a tax debt settlement agreement can have a negative impact on your credit score. This is because the IRS will typically report the debt as settled for less than the full amount owed, which can lower your credit score. However, the impact is usually less severe than a bankruptcy filing or a debt settlement with a private creditor.

Tax Consequences

When you settle your tax debt for less than what you owe, the forgiven amount is generally considered taxable income. This means that you may owe additional taxes on the forgiven amount, which can be a significant financial burden. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as when bankruptcy is involved.

Long-Term Consequences

Tax debt settlement can also have long-term consequences. For example, the IRS may require you to agree to certain terms in exchange for settling your debt, such as filing your taxes on time in the future. If you don’t adhere to these terms, you could face additional penalties and interest charges.


Tax debt settlement can be a useful option for those who owe the IRS money. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. If you’re considering this option, it’s also a good idea to consult with a tax professional who can help you navigate the process and ensure that you’re making the best decision for your financial situation.

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