While understanding has never been an adjective used to describe the IRS, the agency claims it will aim to be more so this year as people are slapped with tax bills they can't afford. We saw unemployment consistently grow in 2008 and jobs were particularly hard hit during the fourth quarter of the year, so many newly unemployed Americans who aren't earning a salary will owe the government money they don't have come tax season — which is right about now.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman conceded, "Citizens are facing enormous challenges. We will be balancing our responsibility to enforce the law with the economic realities facing many American citizens today." If you're worried about having the cash to cover your tax bill, visit the IRS website and skim their 'What If?" section for what action to take for your specific situation, and if that's unhelpful give the agency a call at (800) 829-1040.
The slightly softer IRS policies don't just apply to those who are new to tax trouble. Depending on the circumstance, taxpayers with existing installment plans or have been turned down in the past for help due to hardship may be eligible for some extra leeway this year.