Delinquent tax collection process

What is a delinquent account?

An account becomes delinquent when the due date for a tax return or other established liability has passed and the amount due remains unpaid.

What happens if your account becomes delinquent?

  1. Penalties and interest begin to accrue on the unpaid tax until the entire balance is paid in full.
  2. If you don’t respond to letters or notices and your account continues to be delinquent, it is assigned to a Revenue Agent for collection.
  3. The Revenue Agent will attempt to contact you by telephone, letter or in person to resolve the delinquency.

What happens if you do not respond or make satisfactory payment arrangements during the collection process?

  • The Department may issue an assessment and then a tax warrant covering all unpaid tax, penalty and interest.
  • If a tax warrant is not paid ten days after the issue date, it is filed with the county Superior Court.
  • A filed tax warrant establishes a lien against real and personal property and enables the Department to seize property (bank accounts, wages, personal property) to pay the debt.
  • If a filed tax warrant remains unpaid after 30 days, a hearing to revoke the business’s tax registration endorsement may be held. (A business must have a tax registration endorsement to legally operate in Washington)

What can you do to avoid becoming delinquent?

  • Know your tax responsibilities and plan for them.
  • File electronically. Electronic filing reduces errors, allows you to warehouse your payment and saves you time and money.
  • Pay careful attention to the due date on your tax return.
  • Respond promptly to any Notice of Balance Due or Delinquency Notice sent to you.
  • Open and read Department of Revenue correspondence; it may contain reporting instructions, due dates, changes in laws or tax rates or other important information that may affect your tax responsibilities.
  • Set up a separate bank account and regularly deposit collected retail sales tax or other taxes you may owe. Withdraw the funds only when you pay the taxes.
  • Promptly notify the Department of Revenue if your address and/or phone number changes.

I'm unable to pay my tax liability. Can I make payments?

Contact your local field office. Some of the requirements necessary to enter into a Partial Payment Agreement are:

  • A tax warrant (lien) may be issued.
  • You will be asked to complete a financial statement. This statement will be used to determine if you qualify for a payment agreement and, if you do, what an acceptable monthly payment amount will be.
  • You must stay current on your tax responsibilities during a payment agreement.
  • All partial payment agreements must be electronic (e-file, debit, etc.).

When can I appeal?

You have the right to an appeal if:

  • You believe you do not owe any tax, penalty, or interest assessed by the Department.
  • Your refund request was denied.
  • You received an adverse letter ruling from the Taxpayer Information and Education section of the Department.

See Reviews and Appeals for more information.