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
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
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.