Receive IRS CP503 Notice? What to Do
In 2022, the IRS collected over $4.9 trillion in taxes. That same year, they collected over $98.4 billion in unpaid tax debt. Every year a significant amount of taxes go unpaid, and the IRS works hard to get those funds in its coffers. One of the agency’s first tactics is to send notices demanding payment.
If you have unpaid taxes, then you might have received an IRS CP503 notice in the mail. Reading through, understanding, and responding to this notice is of paramount importance. A failure to promptly respond to this notice will trigger the IRS to levy consequences against your tax account.
Find out everything you need to know about your CP503 notice, how to respond to it, and how our tax attorneys can help you navigate through your complicated tax situation below.
What Is IRS Notice CP503?
A CP503 is a type of IRS collection notice that you’ll receive in the mail to alert you about your ongoing delinquency on your tax account. This type of notification is typically sent out when you have an unpaid balance that the IRS has already informed you about previously.
That said, a CP503 is not only a notification but also a type of warning. If you don’t respond by the due date, then the IRS will likely add additional financial penalties to your past-due balance. If you still do not respond to the IRS, then more collection efforts might follow.
How to Handle Your CP503 Notice
So, how should you navigate your CP503 IRS letter without suffering additional financial fees, penalties, and other collection efforts? In a nutshell, you’ll need to make sure you fully read through the entire letter and understand the contents. Then, you need to determine whether the IRS has a legitimate claim for the taxes they say you owe.
From there, you can decide how to move forward in a way that resolves the dispute with the IRS and gets you back on good ground with the tax agency. Below, we’ll go over in more detail how to go through the process step-by-step.
1. Read Through the Notice Carefully
First, go through and read the entire IRS notice. Make sure that all the information provided in the letter is accurate including any tax balance, addresses, names, identifying details, and penalties on your account.
The notice should outline everything you need to know about the IRS’s claims against you, your options moving forward, and how to respond to the letter. If you have any questions about any statements in the IRS letter, then you can either contact the tax agency directly or reach out to an experienced tax debt attorney to help you unpack the letter.
2. Determine the Accuracy of the Statement’s Claims
Did you notice some inconsistencies with your IRS notice? Do you disagree with the accuracy of the IRS’s tax assessment against you? Do you want to appeal the collection effort? You have the right to file an appeal with the IRS.
Another thing to consider is that there is a statute of limitations on tax debt collection. Typically, the IRS only has 10 years to seek out collection on a tax debt. After that time, the statute of limitation typically expires, and the IRS doesn’t have a legal claim to pursue that money from you anymore. There are exceptions to this rule, though, so be sure to discuss your situation with a tax attorney before moving forward with this type of defense.
3. Consider Your Options Moving Forward
Once you’ve read through your IRS CP503 and determined that it’s accurate, it’s time to figure out how you want to handle your situation. When it comes to this IRS notice, you always have the option of not responding. This choice will have consequences, though, including financial fees and penalties. Further collection efforts are likely to follow, too. Another option you have is to consider a tax solution that will get you back in good standing with the IRS.
Options for Handling Unpaid Taxes
If you’re receiving a CP503 notice, then you’ve likely already known about the tax situation you’re facing. It’s unsettling to be on the wrong side of the IRS, but it’s important to know that you always have options for getting back into a good position with the tax agency.
The IRS has an incentive to work with you to get your debts paid off so they don’t have to waste resources pursuing what you owe them. Below, we’ll go over a few of the most common tax solutions that help when you owe a tax debt.
Pay it Off in Full
One of the most obvious things you can do to completely resolve your situation is to pay off your entire tax bill in one lump sum. This will satisfy the IRS’s requests, and it will prevent you from facing any further penalties, interest charges, or collection efforts. You can make a payment directly on the IRS website through your bank account, a debit card, a credit card, or your digital wallet.
Agree to a Short-Term Payment Plan with the IRS
If you can’t pay off everything you owe at one time, then don’t panic. You may qualify to extend the time you have to completely pay off your debt in full by up to 180 days. These short-term payment plans with the IRS can help you stay on track and continue to pay off what you owe to the IRS. It’s important to understand that under these types of arrangements, you won’t get charged a fee but you will still have to pay off any interest that accumulates and penalties that are on your account until your balance is paid in full.
Submit to an Installment Agreement
Do you think that it will take you longer than 180 days to pay off the full balance of your tax debt? If so, then agreeing to an installment plan might be your best option. An installment agreement allows you to make monthly payments to the IRS over a set period of time.
You’ll have to meet certain requirements before the IRS will allow you to seek out an installment agreement, though. For one, you’ll need to make sure you’re current on all your tax returns. There are also several different types of installment agreement terms that will be determined based on your specific financial circumstances.
Seek Out an OIC
An offer in compromise agreement will help you get back in good standing with the IRS and allow you to pay off your tax debt over a period of time. The main difference between an OIC and an installment agreement is that an OIC is a compromise or settlement. With an OIC, the IRS allows you to pay a reduced overall tax amount.
To be eligible for this type of arrangement, though, you need to make sure you have filed all your past tax returns, made your estimated tax payments for the current year, and made all the tax deposits for the current quarter and the previous two quarters if you’re a business owner with employees.
Seek Out Temporary Hardship Status and Delay Collections
When you’re genuinely struggling and going through a tough financial time, the IRS will take that into consideration. You can request a temporary delay in collections by proving to the tax agency that you’re unable to pay due to your circumstances.
Once you’ve provided the proof, the IRS will list you under currently non-collectible status, which means they won’t pursue further collection efforts until your financial situation improves. Keep in mind that this type of arrangement won’t make your tax debt go away. It only delays the IRS’s enforcement actions.
IRS Notice CP503 FAQs
Do you have more questions about your IRS CP503 notice and how to handle it? Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.
What Will Happen if I Ignore the CP503 Notice?
Your IRS CP503b notice is a second warning about your tax debt. If you choose to ignore the letter, then the IRS will consider your actions as non-compliance. You could face additional financial penalties, fees, and accruing interest until you respond. Depending on your specific circumstances, the IRS might also pursue additional collection methods like asset seizure, wage garnishment, and more.
Can I Go to Jail Over a CP503?
Typically, the IRS won’t seek out criminal charges against you if you can’t pay off your taxes, but it is possible to serve jail time if you willfully evade your taxes, commit fraud, or otherwise violate a criminal law while filing your taxes.
For the most part, the IRS uses other types of collection efforts like wage garnishment or asset seizure. These types of penalties not only punish the taxpayer but also help generate revenue to compensate the tax agency for the tax debt that was never paid off.
How Much Will I Get Penalized for Being Late on My Taxes?
The failure to pay penalty is one-half of one percent for every month (or partial month) of nonpayment, and it increases to 1% after a certain period of delinquency. While this percentage may seem small at first, it can stack up fast and reach up to a maximum of 25% of the overall amount of unpaid tax debt on your account. If you set up payments, this penalty will continue to accrue, but it will only be 0.25% per month.
Can I Get Penalties and Fees Removed from My Account?
The failure to pay penalty isn’t the only fee you might face with delinquent taxes. If you haven’t filed your taxes correctly yet, then you might also face a failure to file fee. As you get further and further in debt, you’ll face more interest charges, meaning your tax debt will continue to swell the longer you don’t pay it off. Other penalties might also be levied on your account depending on your situation.
It’s not always possible to get these penalties and fees removed from your account, but if it’s a first-time offense or if you can demonstrate that you genuinely have a financial situation that’s preventing you from remaining compliant, then it’s worth trying. Some valid reasons for failing to file or pay include suffering from losses as a result of a natural disaster, fire, or civil disturbance. You might also request an abatement of interest and penalties if the interest is a result of an IRS delay or an unreasonable error from the IRS. To learn more about your options for removing penalties and fees, consult with a tax attorney.
Can I Appeal an IRS Decision?
Yes. If you disagree with the IRS’s decision to begin a collection effort or their assessment of your tax situation, then you have the right to file an appeal. The appeals process requires taxpayers to take very specific steps, and you’ll want to ensure that you have a solid case before attempting to file an appeal with the tax agency. If you plan on pursuing this legal option, it’s best to consult with an attorney first.
What Type of Tax Professional Can Help With a CP503 Notice?
When you receive a CP503 notice, you’re in a precarious situation. Since the way you choose to handle your situation could have legal consequences, it might be a good idea to consider hiring a tax attorney. A tax lawyer knows the ins and outs of federal tax laws that will apply to your situation. They are also skilled at knowing what types of tax solutions are suited for your situation.
Hiring a tax lawyer can also have future benefits, too, if you choose to ask your attorney to help with future tax planning. The right lawyer can help you avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Tax Attorney
It can feel intimidating to receive an IRS CP503 notice in the mail, especially if you know you don’t have the money to pay off the tax debt mentioned in the letter. Hiring an experienced tax attorney can help you feel more at ease with the situation. An attorney will help inform you regarding your legal obligations, rights, and options.
Here at Damiens Law, we can help you determine what options are available to you based on your specific tax situation, the amount of tax debt you owe, and your current financial situation. Schedule a consultation with our team now to get started on getting back in good standing with the IRS.