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What’s an offer in compromise and how does it work?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Tax Law

Individuals and businesses often seek creative solutions to alleviate their financial burden when dealing with tax obligations. One such option is the offer in compromise (OIC), a program administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

An offer in compromise is a contract between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles tax debt for less than the full amount owed.

Eligibility for an offer in compromise

Not everyone qualifies for an OIC, and the IRS carefully evaluates each application. Eligibility criteria include:

  • The inability to pay the full tax debt
  • Doubts about the accuracy of the tax bill
  • Exceptional circumstances that would cause undue economic hardship

It is crucial for taxpayers to assess their financial situation thoroughly before considering this option.

The IRS uses a detailed financial formula to assess taxpayers’ ability to pay. Factors such as income, expenses, asset equity and future earning potential are taken into account. Applicants must provide accurate and comprehensive financial information to increase the likelihood of a successful OIC application.

The OIC application process

Applicants must complete and submit the necessary forms, including detailed financial statements and supporting documentation. Once the application is submitted, the IRS evaluates the information provided. Negotiations commence if the IRS determines that the taxpayer qualifies for an OIC.

The goal is to reach a settlement amount that both parties find reasonable. This phase requires effective communication and negotiation skills to help secure the best possible outcome for the taxpayer.

An offer in compromise is a valuable opportunity for individuals grappling with substantial tax debts and financial hardships. By comprehending the eligibility criteria and application process, taxpayers can make informed decisions about whether pursuing an OIC is the right path for their financial situation.