Tax Deadline Passed: Facing Tax Debts to the IRS and Idaho

Tax season can be a source of significant stress, particularly for those who find themselves with a balance due to both the IRS and their state. For residents of Idaho, as in other states, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to manage and resolve tax liabilities effectively. This can help avoid the accrual of additional penalties and interest, which can compound the problem. Below is an in-depth guide designed to assist Idaho residents, and others facing similar state-specific tax challenges, navigate these issues.

Understanding Your Tax Situation

The first step after discovering that you owe tax is to thoroughly review your return. It’s not uncommon for errors to occur, especially in the rush to meet deadlines. Ensuring that your tax liabilities are accurately reported is critical. This review should include a careful examination of all deductions, credits, and income reported. Misunderstandings or misentries can lead to unexpected tax bills. If you’re unsure about your calculations or how specific Idaho state tax rules might affect your situation, consulting with a tax professional could provide invaluable guidance and peace of mind.

Consequences of Late Payment

Both the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission implement penalties and interest on unpaid taxes, which can significantly increase the amount you owe:

  • Failure-to-pay penalty: Generally, this penalty is 0.5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month the tax remains unpaid, capped at 25% of the unpaid taxes.
  • Interest: Accrued daily from the due date of the return until the payment is made. The federal rate is usually set at the federal short-term rate plus 3%, with Idaho’s rate following a similar structure.

The accumulation of these penalties and interest underscores the importance of addressing unpaid taxes as promptly as possible to avoid a more significant financial burden.

Payment Options

Ignoring your tax debt is not advisable. Both the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission offer several avenues to help taxpayers manage their debts effectively:

Installment Agreements

These agreements are structured to allow taxpayers to pay off their debt over a period of time. Both federal and Idaho tax authorities offer:

  • Short-term payment plans: These are usually available for debts under $100,000 and require full payment within 120 days or less.
  • Long-term payment plans: Suitable for larger debts or when taxpayers need more time to pay. These plans can extend the payment period and offer a structured approach to debt resolution.

Applying for these plans is typically straightforward and can often be completed online, providing taxpayers with immediate notification of approval.

Offer in Compromise

This program allows taxpayers to settle their tax debts for less than the full amount owed if paying the full amount would cause financial hardship. This requires a detailed review of the taxpayer’s financial situation, including income, expenses, and asset equity.

Temporary Delay of Collection

For those experiencing significant financial hardship that prevents them from paying their tax debt, both the IRS and Idaho may consider placing their accounts in a temporarily non-collectible status. However, it is important to note that while this stops collection activities, interest and penalties may continue to accrue.

Prioritizing Payments

When faced with debts to both the IRS and Idaho, prioritizing which to pay first can be crucial. Typically, federal tax debts carry higher penalties and interest rates, making them a priority. However, each case is unique, and decisions should be based on the specifics of the penalties and interest rates involved, as well as the flexibility of payment plans offered by each authority.

Seeking Professional Help

Navigating the complexities of tax law and debt management can be daunting. If you owe substantial amounts or if your tax situation involves complicated elements such as self-employment, investment income, or multiple state filings, seeking professional advice is advisable. A tax professional can guide you through both Idaho’s and federal tax laws, negotiate with tax authorities on your behalf, and help you manage your debt effectively.

Preventing Future Tax Debts

Proactively managing your tax affairs can prevent future problems. Consider the following strategies:

  • Adjust your W-4: If under-withholding was the reason for your tax debt, updating your W-4 form with your employer to increase withholding can prevent future issues.
  • Make estimated tax payments: For those with self-employment or other significant non-wage income, making quarterly estimated tax payments can help avoid large year-end tax bills.
  • Keep detailed records: Maintaining accurate financial records simplifies the filing process and ensures that you can report income and claim deductions accurately.
  • Engage in year-round tax planning: Understanding the tax implications of your financial decisions throughout the year, especially considering Idaho’s specific tax provisions, can help you adjust your strategies to minimize tax liabilities.


Owing money to the IRS and Idaho following the tax deadline is not an unusual occurrence, but it requires careful management to prevent the situation from escalating into a larger financial burden. By accurately verifying your tax liability, understanding the consequences of unpaid taxes, exploring available payment options, and taking proactive steps to prevent future issues, you can maintain control over your financial health during tax season. Remember, the key to successfully managing tax issues is to stay informed, organized, and proactive about your tax responsibilities.


Ilir Nina CPA, EA, MSAT

Ilir Nina CPA, EA, MSAT

The Owner Ilir Nina is an experienced CPA and Enrolled Agent. He also obtained a Master’s of science of accountancy and taxation at Boise State in 2009. He has two undergraduate degrees (accountancy & information systems). He has prepared taxes in Boise area for over 15 years and also has many years in tax resolution.

Over the years he has prepared tons of Individual, business and nonprofit returns. He also has represented many clients successfully in front of the IRS. Has filed many successful offers in compromise and helped clients by settling IRS liabilities for less (literally pennies on the dollar). Ilir is honest and he will tell you the truth. He will fight for you hard and solve all your tax wows. He is a trusted Idaho CPA. We encourage you to call and talk to us and let’s see what Ilir can do for you.

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