IRS Offer in Compromise Program Giving Taxpayers a "Fresh Start"
If you have tax debts and feel you owe more than you can reasonably pay, you may qualify for an offer in compromise. Taxpayers have options when considering how to effectively pay or reduce their IRS tax debts. When reviewing your options, taxpayers should always consider whether they qualify for an offer in compromise. While generally requiring more work than other options, an accepted offer in compromise is an effective way to get a fresh start for tax compliance going forward and stop stressing about prior tax years and tax debts.
What is an IRS Offer in Compromise?
An Offer in Compromise is an IRS program that allows taxpayers who qualify to settle to IRS tax debt for less than the full amount and typically in less time than other tax relief methods. There are three different types of offer in compromise - an offer in compromise for doubt as to liability, doubt as to collection, and effective tax administration. The Internal Revenue Code defines each type of offer and the IRS fills in the gaps to achieve the offer in compromise objectives. Taxpayers with tax debts may submit an offer with the proper forms, supporting information and payment to the IRS. The IRS will review the taxpayer's offer in compromise and either accept or reject the offer. If accepted, the offer settles the tax debt as long as the taxpayer satisfies all of the other required terms of the offer.
State tax authorities may also allow taxpayers to compromise state tax debts depending on the specific state laws. Some states provide an offer in compromise program similar to the IRS program with slight modifications or limitations. Other states may use their own criteria to determine if a tax debt should be compromised. Other states may not provide this type of tax relief.
How Can Taxpayers Qualify for an Offer In Compromise?
Taxpayers may qualify for an offer in compromise based on three different programs. Each program is separate and taxpayers only need to qualify for one of the three.
Doubt as to Liability as the Basis for an Offer in Compromise
Doubt as to liability exists when there is a genuine dispute as to the existence or amount of the correct tax liability under the law. In cases where the existence or amount of tax liability has been established by a final court decision (after all appeals), doubt as to liability does not exist. For a taxpayer to make a doubt as to liability offer in compromise, there must be legitimate doubt from both the taxpayer and IRS view regarding a question of tax law related to the tax liability. No financial information statements are filed
How Long Does an IRS Offer in Compromise Take to Process?
The IRS also weighs an Offer in Compromise against a taxpayer's ability to pay the tax debts fully using an installment agreement or if currently not collectible status would result in a higher collection amount for the IRS in the future. The Offer in Compromise is generally one of the most time intensive tax resolution options for taxpayers facing delinquent tax debts and not all taxpayers will qualify. The benefits are worth it, however, and taxpayers facing substantial delinquent tax liabilities should generally consider this option.
The IRS uses a formula as a starting point when considering offers that takes your sources of income and expenses into account, as well as your assets and related liabilities. Taxpayers benefit from a tax attorney's ability to craft the information in a way that maximizes the chances of an offer being accepted by the IRS that also meets the taxpayer's needs for preserving assets and income to pay necessary expenses. If you have questions about an Offer In Compromise, contact Michigan Tax Attorney Andrew Steiger at Steiger Tax Law for a free consultation.
Offer in Compromise Free Consultation
Contact Michigan Tax Attorney Andrew Steiger for free consultation to determine if you qualify for an offer in compromise or other tax debt relief. Free consultation does not establish attorney-client relationship. Information is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.