The IRS has expanded a new streamlined Offer in Compromise (OIC) program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers with annual incomes up to $100,000 to participate. An offer-in-compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Generally, an Offer in Compromise will not be accepted if the IRS believes that the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer’s ability to pay.
Taxpayers should bear in mind however, that the IRS Offer in Compromise program or IRS Penalty Abatement program is a privilege, not a right such as bankruptcy. That being said, it is a very subjective process. The IRS has the final word. The IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC) process is a very complicated drawn out process that can take upwards of nine months to a year and even longer. There are IRS guidelines, rules and protocols established by operation of law, under IRC Section 7122. However, most IRS Offer Examiners (former Revenue Officers) use the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) as their guide.
- Doubt as to Collectability — You can show that the IRS Tax Debt is likely uncollectable in full by the IRS under any circumstances. Doubt exists that you, the taxpayer, could ever pay the full amount of your tax liability owed within the remainder of the statutory period for collection.
- Doubt as to Liability — You can show reason for doubt that the assessed tax liability is correct. A legitimate doubt exists that the assessed tax liability is correct. Possible reasons to submit a doubt as to liability Offer in Compromise include: (1) the examiner made a mistake interpreting the law, (2) the examiner failed to consider the taxpayer’s evidence or (3) the taxpayer has new evidence..
- Effective Tax Administration — You do not contest your IRS Tax Debt liability or collectability but can demonstrate extenuating or special circumstances that the collection of your IRS Tax Debt would "create an economic hardship or would be unfair and inequitable." This form of IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC) program is available for you, the taxpayer, but is primarily used by individuals that are elderly and receiving Social Security or may be disabled and receiving Social Security Disability / SSDI benefits, or may have special extenuating circumstances.
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