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Fresh Start Initiative Program: What it is and How to Qualify

Fresh Start Initiative Program: What it is and How to Qualify


in IRS Info
Fresh Start Initiative Program: What it is and How to Qualify

Tax debt can be incredibly overwhelming. However, if you’re struggling to get out of tax debt, there’s an IRS initiative called the Fresh Start Initiative that may be able to help. But what exactly is the Fresh Start Initiative Program? And how do you know if you qualify? In this post, we’re giving you an overview of the Fresh Start Initiative to help you understand how it may be able to help you.

What is the Fresh Start Initiative Program?

The IRS Fresh Start Initiative was originally called the IRS Fresh Start Program when it was created in 2009. By the time the initiative launched in 2012, however, the IRS had officially changed the name to the IRS Fresh Start Initiative. The term “Fresh Start Initiative” is more fitting than “Fresh Start Program,” since the Fresh Start Initiative isn’t a new program that stands separately from existing tax laws. Instead, it’s an initiative that changed numerous elements of the tax code.

The changes made as a part of the Fresh Start Initiative were designed to help taxpayers struggling with the economic recession of 2008 and 2009. Though the Fresh Start Initiative was created to help taxpayers get out of tax debt during the recession, many of the new laws created by the initiative are still in place today.

This program made certain policies and collection procedures more lenient for certain taxpayers. But what exactly did the Fresh Start Initiative change about the tax code? How can it benefit you? If you qualify under the new Fresh Start Initiative rules, you may be able to:

  • Avoid the IRS Failure to File Penalty For Six Months
  • Specialized Long-Term Installment Agreements
  • Specialized Short-Term Installment Agreements
  • Enter Into an Offer in Compromise Under Expanded Rules
  • Qualify for a Lien Withdrawal Under Expanded Rules

For a more in-depth look at how the Fresh Start Initiative changed various IRS programs and penalties, visit our Fresh Start Initiative informational page.

How Do You Qualify for the Fresh Start Initiative Program?

Because the Fresh Start Initiative made numerous changes to the tax code, the rules for qualifying for the Fresh Start Initiative can vary widely. Whether or not you qualify will depend on which part of the initiative you want to take advantage of, as well as your unique financial situation. However, there are some broad qualifications that you generally need to meet in order to qualify for the new changes, which are listed below.

  • If you are self-employed, you must prove that your net income dropped by at least 25%.
  • For individuals, you must have earned $100,000 or less.
  • For married couples filing jointly, you must have earned $200,000 or less.
  • Your total tax balance must be $50,000 or under.

Get Out of Tax Debt With the Fresh Start Initiative

The Fresh Start Initiative can be incredibly helpful for those struggling with tax debt. However, it can be confusing to understand whether or not you qualify, since the Fresh Start Initiative changed so many different aspects of the tax code.

If you need help figuring out whether or not you can take advantage of the Fresh Start Initiative, contact Tax Defense Partners today for a free consultation. During your consultation, one of our tax experts will learn more about your unique circumstances and help you understand whether or not you may qualify for one of the Fresh Start Initiative changes.