A friend of mine has filed his/her taxes using a paper return with money due. The IRS has yet to process the return. Can my friend setup a payment plan with the IRS now? Should my friend wait for the IRS to process the return before setting up the payment plan?

  • 1
    The guidance that I've heard multiple times from multiple sources is that it works best to wait to hear back from the IRS. They will send a letter that your friend can respond to in setting up the payment plan, and that fits best with their process.
    – C.S.
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


Your friend can file the application, however it may take the IRS some time to process it if the return hasn't yet been processed. See the instructions for form 9465:

We will usually let you know within 30 days after we receive your request whether it is approved or denied. However, if this request is for tax due on a return you filed after March 31, it may take us longer than 30 days to reply. If we approve your request, we will send you a notice detailing the terms of your agreement and requesting a user fee.

  • My friend wants to file the online application. Also, did you see this in the instructions: Your request for an installment agreement will be denied if any required tax returns haven’t been filed.
    – Bob
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 10:41
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    So definitely file the returns first. I'm sure that the denial would just be until the missing returns are submitted and they know how much you owe; they have no reason to penalize folks beyond the existing late fees.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 13:15
  • @keshlam The return has been filed by mail. I am thinking it is going to be about 10 weeks before the IRS processes the paper return.
    – Bob
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 19:30
  • @Bob the return has been filed and your friend should have a certified mail receipt to prove that. You may want to paper file form 9465 instead of filing online which will ensure that the date of filing is still when you want it filed (when it is stamped by the USPS), but it will take a bit longer for the IRS to process it and by that time they may already have opened the return envelope.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:38

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