Ultimate Guide to IRS Currently Not Collectible Status

The Internal Revenue Service’s collection of tax debts is supposed to be completed in a fair and equitable way. Taxpayers are classified into categories based on specific factors, and the different categories are referred to as a status. Status 53 is a category of classification used by the IRS for people who owe tax debts but who are not currently able to pay what they owe with their current income and still keep a roof over their heads. People who are categorized as being in Status 53 are considered Currently Not Collectible, or CNC for short. The Currently Not Collectible status means that the IRS will temporarily stop enforcement efforts until and unless the taxpayer’s financial situation improves and allows them to repay what is owed.

When accountants and tax attorneys have clients who simply do not have the assets or income to pay their tax debts, the CNC status might be an option. For other clients who have the ability to pay a portion of their tax debts within a reasonable time but not their entire balances, an Offer in Compromise might be a better choice. While the Collections division of the IRS will generally try to get taxpayers to enter into payment plans to repay their debts or take other enforcement measures, it is possible for experienced tax professionals to help some clients be deemed to be in Status 53 to provide them relief at least temporarily.

What is Currently Not Collectible status?

Status 53 or currently not collectible (CNC) means that a taxpayer will not have enough money to pay for their basic living expenses if they are required to make monthly payments to the IRS through an installment agreement. Under IRM, a tax debt might be deemed to be currently not collectible when a taxpayer does not have any income or assets the IRS can levy to enforce the debt. However, the IRS might also place a taxpayer in currently not collectible status when the enforcement of tax debt through payments would cause him or her to be unable to meet his or her basic living expenses. To determine whether this might be true, the IRS will evaluate the taxpayer’s finances to determine whether the taxpayer would face a true hardship through tax payments instead of simply being placed at an inconvenience.

The IRS can deem a tax debt as uncollectible when the taxpayer submits enough financial documentation … Continue reading

May 17th Doesn’t Matter

Some people really don’t like having their pre-conceived notions challenged.

For example, consider this response to the email I sent yesterday:
Boy are you wrong!!! Congress passed the Legislation after tax season already started – beyond our control.
IRS needed to interpret the changes made in the final Legislation – beyond our control.
Tax software needed to be updated for those changes – beyond our control.
State Legislators needed to decide if they were going to follow federal changes – beyond our control.

…plus six more lines, including one extolling my “insensitivity and arrogance”.

All because I had the audacity to declare that yesterday was the end of filing season.

In total, I received over 30 replies to yesterdays email. That’s a lot of replies for what was probably the shortest email I’ve ever sent.

Just so everyone knows, I am completely aware that IRS extended the filing and payment deadline to May 17th — I’m not an idiot living under a rock (although that’s heavily debated).

But as I’ve written a few times in these emails over the past month plus, just because the IRS extended the deadline, doesn’t mean you have to.

My advice to all tax pros has been to “act as if” April 15th was still the deadline, and do as you would in any other year. That means wrapping up existing returns in progress between April 1 and 15. As of April 1, cutting off any clients that have not brought you docs yet — everybody not in-progress goes on extension to October. The same best practices that you would use in any other year.


The most important reason is so that this doesn’t throw off your business operations for the rest of the year. In other words, don’t let external forces dictate your business decisions. Tax professionals that simply embrace the May 17th extended deadline will, inevitably, continue to operate in “filing season mode”. That means delaying 1040 tax resolution season marketing. That means skipping late April and early May business development opportunities, such as new ad campaigns, the early return of some trade shows, potential speaking opportunities, and the like.

By failing to enforce a standard April 15th deadline upon your clients, you are stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. If you also offer accounting services, and you stay 100% in “tax season mode”, think of all the potential accounting clients that … Continue reading

What your Four Core Marketing Strategies accomplish for you

While writing the April issue of our print subscription newsletter, The Profitable Accountant™, I framed the discussion about one specific marketing tactic by using a framework I created in 2018.

This framework, which I call the Four Core Marketing Strategies (since I’m not creative enough to dream up better names for stuff) explain, well, exactly that… The four most important strategy components of your overall marketing plan.

Hmmm… Let me back up two steps and define some terms and hierarchies.

Whether you’re launching a tax firm or revitalizing an old one, having a written marketing plan is critical to the success of the venture. Within that marketing plan, you want to define your top-level marketing strategies for achieving the overall revenue goals of the business. From the marketing strategies, you’ll then select marketing tactics to actually generate leads, prospects, and paying clients.

In other words, you deploy tactics in support of strategies that together all form the big plan. For example, running ads on Facebook is a tactic that could apply to either your cold lead generation strategy OR your lead follow up strategy OR your client retention strategy. You’ll run different ads, with different offers, to different audiences depending on which strategy you’re trying to support. Same marketing tactic, but very different strategies.

In addition to that, I need to clarify what I personally mean when I’m using four other words:

  • list is a bunch of people or businesses that all share one or more characteristics. They are not leads.
  • lead is somebody that has in some way raised their hand and engaged with your marketing. They haven’t talked to you yet, but they have given you their contact information for future follow up.
  • prospect is somebody that has at least scheduled a consultation with you. I use the same term to mean somebody that met with you, but didn’t immediately convert to a client.
  • client is somebody that has both paid you and signed an engagement letter. Both the contract and payment must be received before I call them “client”.

With that background info, back to the Four Core Marketing Strategies, of which I already listed three of them in the Facebook ad example, in case you didn’t catch that. The core four were a framework I created specifically with tax resolution in mind, but the reality is that they apply to every service … Continue reading