Yes. In most cases, the IRS has ten years (the “statute of limitations”) to collect back taxes – from the time they “assess” the taxes. Assessment is the point where the IRS stops saying, “We think you might owe some taxes,” and says simply, “you owe the taxes.” This happens if you file your tax return but don’t pay all the taxes or if the IRS has been successful in an audit.
In most cases, waiting out the ten years will not work. However, if for some reason, eight or nine years have passed since the taxes were assessed, waiting out the rest of the ten years could work. Be careful to count the years properly. There are a number of processes that will extend the ten years. For instance, a bankruptcy or filing an Offer in Compromise will extend the ten years.