IRS liens 'torment' struggling taxpayers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

IRS liens 'torment' struggling taxpayers

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government watchdog says the Internal Revenue Service is tormenting struggling taxpayers in the midst of a slumping economy by increasing the number of liens the agency has filed against people who owe back taxes.

The IRS filed nearly 1.1 million liens in the budget year that ended in September, a 14 percent jump over the previous year.  The National Taxpayer Advocate group says the liens punish taxpayers and often hurt their ability to pay back taxes.  The IRS responded that liens are not filed until taxpayers are given numerous opportunities to pay their tax bills, or sign up for payment plans.

An IRS spokesperson says the agency has also taken numerous steps to help taxpayers facing financial problems, including increased flexibility in installment agreements and other collection efforts.

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