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What is the Fresh Start Initiative Program?

The IRS Fresh Start Initiative Program helps taxpayers who owe the IRS pay back taxes and avoid tax liens through various payment plans. The Fresh Start Program is an umbrella term for the IRS’s different tax debt relief options. Changes implemented by the program largely revolved around tax liens, installment agreements, offers in compromise, and currently not collectible charges.

The IRS Fresh Start Program is an excellent option for unintentional tax offenders because of its flexibility. Despite its many benefits, the program has led to myths about its capabilities.

Some people unintentionally violate tax laws, so the IRS created the Fresh Start program to assist them. The IRS’s non-serial offender policies are a flexible set of rules that may be the ideal solution for those who are eligible for them.

The Fresh Start Program allows taxpayers with back taxes to enter an agreement that stretches out payment over months, though no more than 5-6 years. To qualify, you’ll’ need to provide direct debit payments and:

  • Be able to pay off your tax obligation in a resolution-specific amount of time
  • Be in tax trouble with the IRS
  • Have up-to-date tax filings through the most current year

Video Explanation Of The IRS Fresh Start Initiative

Who Qualifies For The Program?


Taxpayers who qualify for the program are those ready to pay their tax debt through installments paid over a specific period and decided based on a repayment structure.

If you are an individual taxpayer happy to repay the debts you owe in a series of installments with a direct payment structure, you could benefit from the IRS Fresh Start Program. This agreement allows qualified individuals to pay off their taxes in smaller, more manageable amounts over some time, with limited penalties on tax liability.

The IRS will consider your ability to pay, current income and expenses, and asset equity in determining what they believe you can reasonably repay.

Each option has a different procedure, qualifications, and application process.

You have to meet the requirements listed below:

  • You owe less than $50,000 or more than $50,000, but you can reduce your debts to this amount before starting the program.
  • You can pay off your outstanding debt in less than 60 months.
  • Your tax return is filed and up to date.
  • This is the first time you’ve fallen behind on payments to the IRS
  • You will agree to a direct payment installment agreement
  • You will maintain the installment agreement, keep up to date with tax filings, and will not incur further tax debt while you are paying your installments
  • You will file for OIC and can pay off the agreed Fresh Start Initiative settlement amount within 12 months.

As a first-time debtor, you may also be eligible for a reduction of specific penalties. For example, if you owe less than $25,000 or you can reduce your debts to this amount before starting the program, you may also qualify to have a federal tax lien removed.

The program offers three repayment options: an extended installment agreement, a tax lien withdrawal, and an offer in compromise.


For more information on how to apply for the IRS Fresh Start Program, please get in touch with us for a free tax case review.


If your business owes taxes, you could also be eligible for the Fresh Start Program. In this scenario, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your company owes less than $25,000
  • You will be able to repay the total amount within 34 months
  • Your business is up to date with current federal tax filings and payments
  • It’s the first time your company has fallen behind on payments to the IRS
  • You will also need to fill out Form 433-A Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals. The qualified business income deduction can be an excellent way to reduce your income taxes for many taxpayers who operate small businesses.
  • The goal is to make the payments affordable so you can pay them on time without a financial burden.

Of course, we’ve only touched on the basics of the program. If you have any further questions, would like a firm answer regarding whether you’re eligible for the program or not, or want to apply for the Fresh Start Initiative, don’t hesitate to contact us! Whatever your situation may be, our qualified, experienced, and friendly tax professionals will be able to guide you in the right direction.

For more information on how to apply for the IRS Fresh Start Program, please contact us for a free tax case review.

Common Myths About The Program

Myth #1: Program Doesn’t Exist Or Isn’t Real

According to the IRS, there are over 10 million accounts that are flagged every year. Even though thousands of people are informed about the IRS Fresh Start Program each year, many individuals do not know that it exists or immediately write it off as an option. As soon as you’ve calmed down after receiving a summons, the first thing you should do is contact a tax relief professional. They assess your case, comprehend the relevant facts, and then sit down with you to discuss your options, including the IRS Fresh Start Program. A tax relief expert ensures that your application is submitted accurately, completely, and with little time wasted. Working with the IRS is notoriously tricky, so be careful.

Myth #2: You Can Erase Your Tax Problems Completely

While you can speak with the IRS through a trusted tax relief advocate, no matter how many steps you take, your tax issues will never be entirely erased, even if you are enrolled in the IRS Fresh Start Program. You’re taking the correct step by opening a dialogue with the IRS, but you may not entirely eradicate your tax issues no matter what you do. This is your chance to revitalize and start fresh. You have to demonstrate your seriousness by showing that you are taking the offense seriously. They expect you to be compliant going forward because they provide you with serious flexibility. You must keep up with your payments while maintaining compliance while working on your agreement. The timeframe will depend on the outcome of your Fresh Start decision.

Myth #3: Businesses Are Not Eligible For The Program

The IRS Fresh Start Program is a set of policies and actionable plans that offer various types of help to businesses. It’s crucial to work with a professional if you’re self-employed. You can locate the most support and make the most sense for your scenario by working with a tax relief advocate. The Fresh Start Program is not a single program but a collection of policies and strategies.