How long can the IRS collect taxes?

The IRS’ ability to collect taxes from you is restricted by the statute of limitations in Internal Revenue Code § 6502(a)

Generally, the IRS may only attempt to collect unpaid taxes for up to 10 years from the date they were assessed. After this period, the IRS must cease any collections activity.

Sometimes the statute can be extended by agreement. The statute can also be tolled by certain events, for example:

  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Filing a CDP hearing
  • While the IRS is reviewing an offer in compromise
  • While the IRS is reviewing a partial payment installment agreements
  • Taxpayers living outside the U.S.

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