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Installment Agreements vs. Lump Sum Payments

Installment Agreements vs. Lump Sum Payments 

When facing a significant tax debt, the IRS provides taxpayers with various options to settle their obligations. Two primary approaches for resolving tax debt are Installment Agreements and Lump Sum Payments. Here, we’ll explore the key differences between these two methods, helping you make an informed decision about the best way to address your tax debt. 

Section 1: Installment Agreements 

Installment Agreements are arrangements with the IRS that allow you to pay your tax debt in smaller, manageable monthly installments over a specified period. Here are some important points to consider about Installment Agreements: 

  1. Flexibility:

Installment Agreements offer flexibility, as you can choose a monthly payment amount that suits your budget. This flexibility is especially valuable if your tax debt is substantial and paying it all at once is not feasible. 

  1. Extended Payment Period:

The IRS typically grants payment periods of up to 72 months for individual taxpayers. For business taxpayers, the payment period may vary based on the specific circumstances and the type of tax debt. 

  1. Application Process:

To apply for an Installment Agreement, you will need to fill out the appropriate IRS form, which varies depending on your tax debt amount and the type of tax return involved. The IRS will evaluate your financial situation to determine your eligibility and the monthly payment amount. 

  1. Interest and Penalties:

While on an Installment Agreement, you’ll continue to incur interest and penalties on the remaining tax debt. However, the overall interest and penalties may be lower compared to not paying at all. 

Section 2: Lump Sum Payments 

Lump Sum Payments involve paying your tax debt in a single, large payment, often as a one-time settlement. Here are the key points to consider when it comes to Lump Sum Payments: 

  1. Quick Resolution:

Lump Sum Payments offer a swift resolution to your tax debt. By paying the full amount at once, you can eliminate your tax liability without the need for a prolonged payment plan. 

  1. Reduced Interest and Penalties:

By making a Lump Sum Payment, you can reduce the overall interest and penalties that would otherwise accrue on your tax debt over time. 

  1. Immediate Financial Relief:

If your financial situation allows for a Lump Sum Payment, you can enjoy immediate financial relief, as you won’t have the burden of monthly payments. 

Section 3: Choosing the Right Option 

The choice between Installment Agreements and Lump Sum Payments depends on your individual financial circumstances and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when making this decision: 

  1. Financial Situation:

Consider your current financial situation. Can you afford to make a Lump Sum Payment without causing financial strain? If not, an Installment Agreement may be the better choice. 

  1. Speed of Resolution:

Are you looking for a quick resolution to your tax debt? If so, a Lump Sum Payment is the fastest way to eliminate your liability. Installment Agreements, on the other hand, provide a more extended payment period. 

  1. Total Debt Amount:

The total amount of your tax debt plays a crucial role in your decision. Smaller tax debts are more manageable with a Lump Sum Payment, while larger debts may necessitate an Installment Agreement. 

  1. Interest and Penalties:

Consider the impact of interest and penalties on your tax debt. If you opt for an Installment Agreement, these will continue to accrue, potentially increasing the overall amount you owe. 

Section 4: Seeking Professional Guidance 

Navigating the complexities of tax debt resolution can be challenging. If you’re uncertain about whether to choose an Installment Agreement or a Lump Sum Payment, seeking professional guidance is a wise decision. A tax advisor or attorney can assess your financial situation, evaluate your options, and help you make an informed choice. 

Section 5: Tax Debt Negotiation and Offers in Compromise 

In addition to Installment Agreements and Lump Sum Payments, taxpayers with substantial tax debt may explore other alternatives. Two of the more advanced options are Tax Debt Negotiation and Offers in Compromise (OIC). 

  1. Tax Debt Negotiation:

Tax Debt Negotiation involves working with the IRS to reduce the total tax debt. This can be a more complex process than Installment Agreements or Lump Sum Payments and typically requires professional representation. It may lead to a lower tax debt amount and more favorable payment terms. 

  1. Offers in Compromise:

An Offer in Compromise is a formal agreement with the IRS to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed. Qualifying for an OIC can be challenging, as you must prove that paying the full debt would cause undue financial hardship. However, if accepted, an OIC can significantly reduce your tax liability. 


The choice between Installment Agreements and Lump Sum Payments depends on your financial situation, the total amount of your tax debt, and your preferences. It’s essential to consider the impact of interest and penalties, as well as the speed of resolution. Seeking professional guidance can help you make an informed decision and navigate the tax debt resolution process successfully. Remember that there are other options, such as Tax Debt Negotiation and Offers in Compromise, for those with more complex tax situations. 

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 The simple answer is no. A business and a person are completely separate, thus, any personal tax debts or liabilities should not affect your business.

Tax debt can be an exhausting and complicated thing to deal with on your own. Communicating with the IRS and professionally handling your tax liabilities are just two of the services companies like Priority Tax Relief can offer.

No. The IRS’s Innocent Spouse Relief protects you from paying these additional taxes. However, this does not relieve you from household employment taxes, business taxes, individual joint responsibility payments etc. Priority Tax Relief helps you learn more about innocent spouse relief.

The most popular option to date would be an Offer In Compromise (OIC). At Priority Tax Relief, we help tax relief help become more accessible to taxpayers in need and help them understand how they can qualify for these options.

IRS tax liens are legal claims on your property when you do not settle your tax debts. The IRS usually sends out a notice when no payment has been made after a liability assessment. Find out more about tax liens with Priority Tax Relief.

Yes. Not only can the IRS put a claim on all your current property, tax liens can also affect any property or intangible or tangible assets that you obtain in the future. At Priority Tax Relief, we help you understand federal tax liens and how to communicate with the IRS.


Tax levies are the actual seizure of your property and are different from legal claims or tax liens. Settle your taxes before the IRS sends out a notice. Priority Tax Relief helps you understand tax levies and how you can avoid them.

Yes. Not only can they seize physical property but they can also legally take hold of the money in your bank account and other wages. To avoid this from happening, contact Priority Tax Relief now.

Your debt will, unfortunately, continue to grow and you will possibly lose a great number of your assets. It is definitely a scenario we do not wish to see happen to anyone, that’s why Priority Tax Relief makes sure that our help becomes within reach.

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