Tax relief question: Curadebt review / IRS detainment at airports
October 24, 2016 4:27 AM   Subscribe

I am an EU resident and have pending IRS tax debt (~$30,000) from when I was a US Resident (until 2011). I was on a payment plan but my finances were difficult for a while and I defaulted on my payments starting in 2013. I have had no communication from the IRS in this time (they have my current contact information). I would like to settle this issue now and be rid of this debt. I would like to request the MeFi community for help regarding two questions I have.

1. Is Curadebt a recommended agency to help with debt negotiation? I saw them linked to on the IRS site. Are there other debt relief agencies that you could recommend, esp. to someone living outside the US?

2. I have not been in the US since 2013. I have been requested to visit one of our offices in the US in the near future. With the existing tax debt, is there a chance that I will be detained/arrested at immigration? If so, how high is this? What can I do to check whether this is a possibility?

Thank you for your help!
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about Curadebt but I've had a lot of dealings with the IRS over late tax issues (settling an estate mostly). Are you a US citizen? There's some discussion that if you have large debts to the IRS, larger than yours, they can take your passport. Is there something keeping you from contacting the IRS right now to ask them? For the traveling question I would post this to Flyertalk (sample forum discussion thread about this topic here). The consensus of that long thread seems to be that no, as long as you are not otherwise an enemy of the state, you are ok.
posted by jessamyn at 6:24 AM on October 24, 2016

With the disclaimer that I am not a tax professional, I would start by contacting the IRS directly. If you are in a financial position to pay off the full debt, you should set up a new payment schedule.

If you cannot pay the full amount, even in installments, you can apply for a reduced payment amount, known as an offer in compromise. Whether you qualify is based on relatively fixed rules, so it seems unlikely that working through an agency would get you a better deal. You can get an idea of whether you are likely to qualify by using the IRS's calculator, the Offer In Compromise Pre-Qualifier.

In general, the IRS has only 10 years to collect debt. Therefore, if your payments over the next five years are less than the full $30,000, you may not be required to pay the full amount.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:43 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

My experience with the IRS is that, as long as they don't think you're trying to short them, they're pretty reasonable -- but a long period of noncommunication might tilt the logic.

it's possible that retaining a US tax lawyer would be wise, or at least getting some level-setting advice from one, but the most meaningful step is reaching out to them and saying "hey, I couldn't pay, and now I can, how should we proceed?"

(N.B. that you almost certainly have a tax lien on your credit at this point; have you checked?)

BTW, my understanding is that, yes, while they have 10 years to collect automatically, they can request and generally will receive a second 10 as an extension. Waiting out a tax debt is generally a nonstarter.
posted by uberchet at 7:32 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

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