Self Employment Back Taxes-IRS Debt

Hi Friends, just found you all, thanks for getting this together. I’m in my mid-50’s, striking Student Loans for over 20 years. I was hard core default until last year when I finally consolidated to $0 monthly payments. That’s as far as I want to compromise. However, it’s the IRS back tax debt that I need help with. This debt was created due to stagnant wages/extremely demoralized labor movement coupled with Bay Area gentrification. I’ve got over $10K of self employment back taxes due and a lien that will eventually show up on my credit report. Gentrification makes the credit report imperative whereas before the credit score didn’t prevent me from finding decent housing. Accessing housing, like food should not depend on credit scores! I’ve studied all the avenues for debt forgiveness on both student loan and IRS debt and it’s impossible for almost anyone to get free. It seems like for the vast majority we are stuck paying or stalling. Stalling has been my method for all these years but it has come with heavy psychological costs. Debt creates alienation and isolation over time regardless of education and awareness on the subject. In addition, aging makes a person far more vulnerable and debt compounds that in a myriad of ways. Given no other reasonable choice, I’d like to create a kind of 1, 3, 5, 10 year strategic plan for the safest, most effective method for resisting these debts.


Hi @laurel_sharp, I am sorry you are dealing with all of this.

First off, it sounds like you are currently making $0 monthly payments on some version of an income driven repayment plan. That means you are on strike! If you haven’t already, please join our national student debt strike and recruit everyone else that you know who has student debt!

If the IRS has determined that you owe back taxes I would encourage you to speak to a tax lawyer to explore your options. I’m sorry that this is the best we can offer for that kind of situation.

Thanks for your kind words Thomas, yes, I’ve been on strike as an individual for a long time. In hindsight, I realize now that in order to be effective as an individual seeking economic justice I needed an education in the traditions of resistance (see the Lakota, Anarchists, Unions, tax resistors, ect). One thing I’ve noticed after over 50 years on the planet, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but refuse until there’s a cultural shift that makes it possible to organize in the way Strike Debt is organizing. Again, at my age I’ve seen cultural shifts in my lifetime, most recently the abolition of library fines. Parking tickets are next and court fines. I saw the organic food movement make inroads unimaginable when I was 18 years old. Our cultural narrative can shift in ways we cannot imagine…

There’s no question that I owe the IRS and filed dutifully despite not having the payment. Do you know a tax professional that can advise me on strategy. I live in Oakland, California and would love to work with someone local. I’ve gone to numerous legal clinics that service poor people here but find their capacity and scope very limited. Although Oakland hosts a Taxpayer Advocacy office here in Oakland I’ve found that they just regurgitate the same information I can get online about negotiating with the IRS.

Thanks again.

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I don’t know of any tax lawyers in the Oakland area, but the good news is that there are quite a few out there. I’d just make sure you understand up front how expensive it would be to hire them for a set amount of time.