IRS gives a tax break to unemployed

Unemployed Americans who cannot afford to pay income taxes can apply for a six-month reprieve from the IRS.

Wage earners qualify if they were out of work for at least 30 consecutive days last year, or this year.

Self-employed workers get a break if their business dropped at least 25 percent.

However, those getting a reprieve will be charged 3 percent interest on the amount they owe. Taxpayers wanting a grace period must still file their tax returns by April 17th and fill out a special form.

Expanded Fresh Start Initiative:

Taxpayers who can't pay their taxes should still file a tax return by April 17, the IRS said. Otherwise, they'll be subject to a failure-to-file penalty of 5% a month, up to 25%.

The relief is available to wage earners who were unemployed for at least 30 consecutive days in 2011 or 2012 or self-employed taxpayers who experienced a reduction in business income of 25% or more in 2011.

To apply for the grace period on failure-to-pay penalties, taxpayers should file Form 1127A, available at

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