Can't afford to pay your taxes?

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Even if you don't have enough cash on hand or savings to pay your taxes this year, you still have to file your income tax return.

The penalty for not filing is significant, much more than the penalty for not paying.

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If you don't file your tax return, your tax bill could increase 5% every month plus interest.

If you don't have a job or you don't think you'll be able to pay your taxes, get on the phone with an IRS agent. That number: 800-TAX-1040.

The IRS will accept reduced payments, known as an Offer in Compromise. In some cases, the IRS will postpone collection actions against taxpayers who have lost their job or face significant medical bills.

If you haven't been able to pay your tax bill in full in the past, and have agreed a monthly payment plan, the IRS may also allow for more flexibility if you've missed a few installment payments.

The IRS says it's also willing to help homeowners sell or refinance their homes. In some cases it will reduce or suspend a tax lien on the house to help the refinancing or sale go through. This IRS outreach is part of an initiative that was started last year.

Where to get help

IRS will hold hundreds of special Saturday open houses so that taxpayers can get help directly from IRS employees.

The offices will be open on March 27 and three additional Saturdays in the spring and early summer. We'll bring you the latest information about Saturday office hours as soon as it becomes available.

Contact your local Taxpayer Assistance Center if you need help understanding your taxes, or you have questions about new deductions you can take. To find an office in your area, go to IRS.gov.

Talkback: Have you contacted the IRS directly for help with your tax return? To top of page

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