10 Thoughts on Tax Offer in Compromise

Beware of advertisements that claim to settle tax debts for "pennies on the dollar". Check the Offer In Compromise requirements to see if it is right for you.

1. If you are unable to pay a tax debt in full, if the taxpayer establishes to the satisfaction of the IRS that he either: has no means of paying the tax, or does not actually owe the tax--and an installment agreement cannot be worked out--the IRS strives to resolve the taxpayer's tax debt.

2. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to take advantage of the offer in compromise (OIC), but there are hurdles to overcome before the Internal Revenue Service accepts less than full payment. To date, taxpayers who have gone through the Offer in Compromise program to settle their tax bill have saved millions of dollars.

3. An OIC delinquent tax settlement is an agreement taxes owed for less than the full amount of taxes due. It's a complex decision and a tax attorney is needed for his extensive expertise in planning, preparing, negotiating and even appealing rejections.

4. IRS Code Sec. 7122 gives the IRS power authority to settle--compromise--federal tax liabilities. Exceptional circumstances sometimes exist that allow the IRS to consider an OIC program for the taxpayer. For example, a taxpayer must demonstrate that collection of the tax would create an economic hardship or would be unfair and inequitable.

5. Very few offers were accepted in the past, because the standards were almost impossible to meet before a tax debt was legally compromised. Recent tax legislation has given new hope to taxpayers who were previously disqualified.

6. In the past the IRS really did not want to encourage OIC's. Prior to 1992 the IRS has been reluctant to settle tax liabilities, but with mounting uncollected taxes, the IRS has decided to go easy on the growing number of cases it sees.

7. Today, the OIC program is one of the best tax resolution tools available to taxpayers. The IRS will accept an OIC when it looks unlikely that the taxes will be collected; but before that happens a good tax person must know and carefully navigate virtually every key regulation involved.

8. After all taxpayer avenues are explored and different available payment options are reviewed, the IRS makes a "business" decision: they want to collect a partial payment rather than nothing at all. The IRS is thinking, "Is there is doubt that the taxpayer will ever pay the full amount of tax owed?"

9. An OIC amount "offered" by the IRS is the amount that they feel that they can reasonably expect to collect after reviewing-- and exhausting--the taxpayer's ability to pay. The IRS weighs the doubt as to liability and doubt as to whether the tax assessed is correct.

10. Beware of advertisements they claim to settle tax debts for "pennies on the dollar", allowing taxpayers to settle their taxes for less, or often much less than you owe (or what the government claims you owe). The IRS resolves less than one percent of all balance due accounts through an OIC agreement.

Kirt Durst
Dedicated to offering news, articles, and instruction on tax. You have a definite choice in organizing your financial affairs. Visit http://www.aidtax.com for more information.

In The News:

Too many taxes  The Indian Express
Income tax update in Missouri  KSNF/KODE - FourStatesHomepage.com
Seattle’s Tax on Job Creation  The Wall Street Journal

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