How The Offer In Compromise Works

The IRS has the authority to settle or compromise federal tax liabilities by accepting less than full amount under certain circumstances. One of the following factors must be established in order for the IRS to settle the liability:

Doubt As To Liability (I Don’t Owe This Tax bill!)


The taxpayer must prove that the amount of tax or any penalties being billed by the IRS are erroneous. This Offer in Compromise is generally used if a taxpayer was unable to defend himself against an assessment by the IRS, and has now discovered additional evidence to prove that the amount being billed is wrong.

Offers in Compromise that cast doubt as to liability, other than 100% penalties, will be reviewed by the Examination Division of the IRS rather than the Collection Division. In reviewing such Offers in Compromise, the Examination Division will use guidelines similar to those used in making audit determinations. For this kind of Offer in Compromise to be successful, our tax attorneys must establish a valid question of law or fact that would render the liability in question doubtful.


Doubt As To Collectibility (I Can’t Pay This Tax Bill!)


This is the most common type of Offer in Compromise. Under this type of Offer in Compromise the taxpayer makes a representation that based on the taxpayer’s financial condition IRS will not be able to collect the entire tax bill from the taxpayer. This Offer in Compromise requires a detailed review of the taxpayer’s financial condition.

The amount of this Offer in Compromise must reflect the amount of the equity in taxpayer’s assets plus the amount that the IRS could collect from taxpayer’s future income.

Special consideration could be made for taxpayer’s advanced age or other special circumstances. The more special considerations our tax attorneys are able to present regarding each client, the more likely that the IRS will accept the proposed Offer in Compromise.


Effective Tax Administration (It’s Unfair To Make Me Pay!)


This type of offer requires the taxpayer to explain his exceptional circumstances, showing why the payment of the tax liability in full would either create an economic hardship, or would be unfair and inequitable.  Advanced age, health issues and other special needs are considered in this situation.

The Offer in Compromise program requires the taxpayer to remain current on all tax obligations for a period five (5) years after the offer is accepted. Therefore, if the taxpayer’s Offer in Compromise is accepted and paid in full, but he later fails to pay current income taxes or other taxes, the Offer in Compromise might be revoked by the IRS. The agreement to remain current subsequent to acceptance of an Offer in Compromise creates a condition subsequent to the agreement.

Related Topic: OIC Process

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