During the past two years, there was apparently more than $30 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties that the IRS pursued. Though it probably does not need to said, the circumstances for anyone owing money will only get worse if the problem is ignored.

When the IRS says that you owe money, it can mean that federal agents will be going after wages and assets in addition to penalties and interest. And the amount owed will only grow disproportionately larger over time if the matter is not dealt with in a timely fashion.

Even if one cannot pay a tax it's best to file a tax return. Otherwise one may be subject to the failure-to-file penalty. One also should try to pay as much as they possibly can of taxes owed. If possible, borrow the money to avoid paying even more in interest and penalties.

Taxpayers also have the option of paying a negotiated settlement. However, this involves the filling out of a great deal of paperwork and paying of a nonrefundable application fee. This still may be preferable to facing collection actions. The most important step that any taxpayer can take is to make changes so that they will no longer be exposed to tax liabilities.

There are tax debt attorneys who can help taxpayers out concerning negotiations with the IRS. These attorneys can also provide additional recommendations concerning one's own specific circumstances. Unfortunately, the steps for negotiating with the IRS can be complex and require certain procedures to be followed. Experienced legal assistance in the long run can result in fewer headaches in reducing one's tax debt.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "What to Do If You Forgot to Pay Taxes," Karen E. Klein, May 5, 2014