The 20-Mile March: A Powerful Way of Thinking About How to Pay Off a Substantial IRS Debt

You’re in debt to the IRS. Whether you owe $5,000 or $50,000, the fact remains the same – they want your money, and there is no way around it. When bills are piling up, the mortgage needs to be paid and the holidays are quickly approaching, any IRS debt can feel significant, and you’re now feeling the weight of the burden. Instead of letting your debt hold you down, think of the payment process as a steady journey toward being debt-free in the eyes of the IRS.

What is the 20-Mile March?


Imagine you want to take a 3,000 mile walk, starting in San Diego and ending at the tip of Maine.

You march 20 miles out of town on the first day. On the second day, you march another 20 miles. Again, on the third day, you march 20 miles once more. When the weather is gorgeous, the wind is at your back and you feel like you can keep going, you still stop at 20 miles. When you get hit by subzero temperatures, wind and snow in Colorado, you get up, get dressed and march your 20 miles.

You keep going, 20 miles at a time, sustaining your pace until you eventually reach Maine.

Now, imagine someone else who starts with you, excited to begin the 20-mile march. He logs 50 miles the first day. Exhausted in the heat, he decides to hang out until the temperature cools, thinking he’ll continue when the weather gets better. He maintains this pattern – whining and waiting on bad days, traveling more than 20 miles on good days – as he continues the journey to Maine.

Just before Colorado, he goes all out in wonderful weather, making up for lost time. Exhausted once more, he hits a storm that nearly kills him, so he hunkers down and waits for spring. By this time, you have already reached your destination.

How the 20-Mile March Can Help You

If you aren’t already on an installment plan to the IRS, perhaps you need to be. Make every payment in the same amount every month. No more, no less, according to this philosophy. Just as the first man did not continue more than 20 miles in good weather, even though he felt he could, if you have a month in which you earn significantly more income, do not give it to the IRS. Instead, save it for those bleaker months in which you might suffer from a reduction of hours.

Every day, 20 miles. Every month, the same payment. Slow and steady wins the race. Please call us directly if you need assistance with your IRS issue, we will help you get started!