The Complete Guide to IRS Collections

Chapter 11

How to Navigate IRS Collections Forms

One reason why people get so frustrated with the IRS is because the IRS makes it so onerous to do business with them. There are forms and forms on top of forms, then there are schedules and more documentation and paperwork. There are also pages and pages of instructions, printed in the smallest type possible, which are equally challenging, especially if you are a novice in interpreting IRS guidelines.

It is no wonder that so many taxpayers just give up all together and just end up paying the entire debt (with penalties and interest) by using credit cards and high-interest loans, or burying their head in the sand. Neither is the best solution.

Naturally, this is the case if you wish to initiate an installment agreement to repay your debt to the IRS. Before you throw your hands up in despair, keep reading. We are going to explain the main forms you need to apply for an IRS installment agreement. We have broken the key sections of these forms down into easy-to-understand bite-sized pieces. 

Once you read through this, you should be able to return to the IRS instructions and go to work on the forms. If not, give me a call and I can walk you through some of the tougher questions.


IRS Collections Forms

Form 9465

Taxpayers can use Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request to request consideration for a monthly installment plan if they cannot pay the full amount shown on the tax return. Taxpayers making payments on a current installment agreement cannot use Form 9465.


Form 433-F

The IRS uses Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement to obtain current financial information for a wage earner or self-employed individual to determine if the taxpayer can satisfy an outstanding liability. 

The form is divided into eight sections. Taxpayers are required to list all accounts and/or lines of credit and information pertaining to wage earning..

  • Section A – Accounts/Lines of Credit
  • Section B – Real Estate
  • Section C – Other Assets
  • Section D – Credit Cards
  • Section E – Business Information
  • Section F – Employment Information
  • Section G – Non-Wage Household Income
  • Section H – Monthly Necessary Living Expenses

Accounts and lines of credit also include reports of stocks and bond holdings. You must list all real estate you currently own and/or plan on purchasing. You will need the county description. “To determine equity, subtract the amount owed for each piece of real estate from its current market value” (, “Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement,” 8/19/2013). 

Other assets include the ownership of cars, boats, recreational vehicles; insurance policies; paintings, coin collections, or antiques; and business assets such as tools, equipment, inventory, and intangible assets such as domain names, patents, and copyrights. “To determine equity, subtract the amount owed from its current market value” (“Form 433-F”).

List all credit cards whether you have a balance or not. In addition, you must list accounts receivables owed to your business as well as information about business credit cards. 

Section F requires that you include employment information. On the other hand, Section G requires that you list non-wage income. According to Form 433-F, non-wage income may include net self-employment income, net rental income, and other income reported as distributions from partnerships and subchapter S corporations. 

Other income also includes “agricultural subsidies, unemployment compensation, gambling income, oil credits, rent subsidies, Social Security and interest dividends, IRAs, and pension income” “(Form 433-F”). This list is not comprehensive.

Lastly, monthly necessary living expenses are those figures for housing and utilities, rent, transportation, public transportation, medical, health insurance, out-of-pocket health care expenses, child/dependent care, estimated tax payments, life insurance, delinquent state and local taxes, student loans, court ordered payments, and other expenses as determined acceptable by an IRS collections representative.

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IRS Form 433-A Breakdown

IRS Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals is used to collect financial information about the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s ability to repay a current tax liability.

Major Sections of the IRS Form 433-A:

  • Section 1: Personal Information
  • Section 2: Employment Information for Wage Earners
  • Section 3: Other Financial Information
  • Section 4: Personal Asset Information for All Individuals
  • Section 5: Monthly Income and Expenses
  • Section 6: Business Information
  • Section 7: Sole Proprietorship Information

Section one of the IRS Form 433-A requests general information specific to the taxpayer. Request for information includes full name, marital status, address, and phone numbers.

Section two also requests general information with regard to the taxpayer’s employment status. In this section, the taxpayer will be asked about how many withholding allowances claimed on Form W-4, pay period, and occupation.

Questions located in section three of the IRS Form 433-A center on other types of non-wage earning information. For example, a taxpayer will be expected to disclose information about current lawsuits; bankruptcy filings; foreign residency status; beneficiary of trust, estate, or life insurance policy, safe deposit boxes and recent asset transfers. 

In section four, taxpayers must disclose information with regard to current cash on hand in terms of personal bank accounts; investments; available credit on bank issued credit cards; real property; personal vehicles leased and/or purchased, personal assets and total equity.

In section five, the taxpayer must disclose wages, salaries, pensions, and social security; net income from business; net rental income; other income (i.e., unemployment compensation, gambling income, oil credits, and subsidies); expenses not generally allowed specific to private school and public/private college expenses, charitable contributions, voluntary retirement contributions, or payments on unsecured debts; food, clothing, and miscellaneous expenses; housing and utilities; vehicle ownership costs; vehicle operating costs; public transportation, out of pocket health care costs and current year taxes.

Sections six and seven are to be completed by taxpayers who are self-employed. In section six, taxpayers must disclose their type of business, payment processing tools, credit cards accepted by the business, business bank accounts, accounts/notes receivables and business assets. 

Section seven requests information about the current accounting method used, total monthly business income and total monthly business expenses. Taxpayers must know their company’s net business income.



Filling out forms for the IRS is nobody’s idea of a good time, but “no pain … no gain … “ Look at it this way. It is your money, your business, possibly even your home, that is on the line if you do not square things away with the IRS. We have mentioned this several times — the IRS does not like to be kept waiting for its money. But if you do not have it, you do not have it.

If you go to the time and effort to complete the forms and gather all of the evidence to support your claim, that is one major threshold you have crossed. A little tip that I give to my clients is to present your forms and documentation in a neat, organized manner, like in a three-ring binder with tabs. Use whatever format works for you, but just make it easy for the IRS examiner to read through.

By going the extra mile, you are demonstrating to the IRS that you are very serious about your tax debt and making a good faith effort to repay it. I also advise my clients to get on the good side of any IRS representative that they deal with. While that may not make you debt, interest and penalties magically go away, if you show respect and are easy to work with, the chances of a favorable response to your application will increase. 

Why? People like to work with people that they have formed a positive opinion of. It is human nature.

If you are still stymied by the IRS installment agreement application process, reach out to me. I have encountered every form the IRS has thrown out there, especially those that deal with repayment plans. In all likelihood, there are easy answers to your questions and I can help you sift through the “IRS-ese.” 

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