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IRS Interest Rate for Payment Plans

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Alisson Ward

Tax Professional | Content Writer

What Is the IRS Interest Rate for Payment Plans

The Basics of IRS Interest

When you owe the IRS money, they often charge interest on the unpaid balance. This interest is similar to the interest you might pay on a loan or credit card, but it’s set by the IRS.

Here’s a closer look at the fundamental aspects of IRS interest:

  • Accrual of Interest: The IRS starts accruing interest on your unpaid tax balance from the due date of the return or the date when the tax liability was assessed, whichever is later. This means that if you file your tax return late or if the IRS assesses additional taxes after an audit, interest will start accumulating from that point.

  • Interest Rate Formula: The IRS calculates its interest rate based on the federal short-term interest rate, which is determined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To this base rate, the IRS adds a specific percentage, typically a few percentage points, to determine the total interest rate applied to your unpaid taxes.

  • Compounding: IRS interest compounds daily. This means that each day, interest is calculated on the outstanding tax debt balance, including any previously accrued interest. As a result, the total amount of interest owed can grow rapidly if the tax debt remains unpaid for an extended period.

  • Variable Rates: IRS interest rates can change over time. The IRS updates the interest rate quarterly, so it’s important to check the current rate if you have outstanding tax debt.

  • Interest on Penalties: In addition to interest on the unpaid taxes, the IRS can also assess interest on certain penalties. For example, if you’re subject to the failure-to-pay penalty for not paying your taxes on time, interest will accrue on the penalty amount as well.

Understanding these basic principles of IRS interest is essential because it affects the total amount you owe and the pace at which your tax debt increases. It’s crucial to stay informed about the current IRS interest rates and work on resolving your tax debt as soon as possible to minimize the impact of interest charges.

IRS Interest Rates for Different Scenarios

Underpayment of Taxes

One common scenario where IRS interest rates come into play is when you underpay your taxes throughout the year. If you don’t pay enough in estimated taxes or have too little withheld from your paycheck, you may owe additional taxes when you file your return. The IRS will calculate interest on the unpaid amount from the original due date of the return until the date you pay.

Payment Plans

When you enter into a payment plan with the IRS to repay your tax debt over time, interest still applies. The interest rate for IRS payment plans is generally lower than the rate for underpayment of taxes. It’s essential to be aware of this rate when negotiating the terms of your payment plan.

Penalties and Interest

In addition to interest, the IRS may also assess penalties on unpaid taxes. These penalties can significantly increase the amount you owe. Understanding how penalties and interest work together is crucial for managing your tax debt effectively.


Understanding the IRS interest rate for payment plans and the basics of IRS interest is crucial for managing your tax debt effectively. Whether you’re dealing with underpayment of taxes, setting up a payment plan, or facing penalties and interest, having the right information is essential. Remember that IRS interest rates can change, so staying informed is key to making informed decisions about your tax debt.

If you ever have questions about IRS interest rates or any other tax-related matters, Priority Tax Relief is here to help. They can provide you with the information and assistance you need to navigate the world of IRS interest rates with confidence. Don’t let interest rates catch you off guard – explore your options and take control of your tax debt today.

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