Normally when you owe back taxes to the IRS, if you cannot afford to pay all of the back taxes due at one time, they may be willing to work out a payment plan with you for repayment of your tax debt. You may also try filing an "Offer in Compromise" to see if the IRS will consider taking a lesser amount than you owe for your back taxes. Depending on your situation and whether the IRS believes the Offer in Compromise is reasonable an the best way to collect their money, it may be accepted.
But in the meantime, if you have not come to some type of acceptable arrangements with the IRS to being settling your tax debt, then there is nothing you can do to prevent the liens or garnisments from being put in place.
Regarding the back taxes that you currently owe to the IRS, if you cannot afford to make payments then you might want to see if you qualify for what is called "Status 53" which means your account would be classified as "currently uncollectable". This is an option if you have no disposable monthly income or non-essential assets for the IRS to seize for the purpose of paying back taxes. IRS collection efforts will stop temporarily, and when you are able to pay, you can begin to pay off what is owed. Back taxes will not go away, but you do have some time, if you are eligible, to get back on your feet. At that point, you may be able to put together an Installment Agreement to set up a back taxes payment plan. You should contact the IRS at(###) ###-####and talk with someone in the Problem Resolution Program to see if you possibly qualify for this status, and what steps you need to take to apply.
It would also be in your best interest to seek the help of a tax consultant who is experienced in dealing with the IRS on back tax issues, as they could greatly assist you in filing for either the Offer in Compromise or the Status 53.
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