The IRS offers several safeguard programs for delinquent taxpayers. The IRS designed these programs for taxpayers in financial distress and for taxpayers who would suffer by strict interpretation of the tax law. One program is Offer-in-Compromise or OIC. Qualified delinquent taxpayers negotiate settlement with the IRS for less than the owed amount. There are three separate ways that a taxpayer can qualify for a reduced settlement under the OIC program:
- Doubt as to Collectibility. The taxpayer has tax debt and an inability to pay.
- Doubt as to Liability. The taxpayer has tax debt and a legitimate reason for not paying.
- Effective Tax Administration. The taxpayer has tax debt and possible ability to pay. But to do so would cause extreme financial distress.
Doubt As To Collectibility
The first type of Offer-In-Compromise (OIC) is known as Doubt As To Collectibility. The delinquent taxpayer proves convincingly the taxes owed are greater than the taxpayer can ever afford to pay. If the IRS accepts this Offer-In-Compromise, then they agree to settle all of your delinquent tax debt for a single reduced amount. IRS has calculated what they think they can collect from you. The IRS calls this amount the Reasonable Collection Potential. Your settlement offer must equal or exceed the Reasonable Collection Potential amount. The IRS will reject an offer of less than the Reasonable Collection Potential amount.
Doubt As To Liability
The second type of Offer-In-Compromise (OIC) is Doubt as to Liability. The delinquent taxpayer proves convincingly to the IRS there is a legitimate reason the assessed tax debt is wrong. A common example would be the taxpayer presents evidence not previously considered. A seemingly legitimate reason cannot compel the IRS to agree to review a case. The IRS does not have to accept an Offer-In-Compromise application or to decide in favor of the taxpayer.
Effective Tax Administration
The third type of Offer-In-Compromise (OIC) is Effective Tax Administration. You agree the assessed tax debt is correct and that you could potentially pay it. However, you prove to the IRS that to collect the total tax debt would create a significant economic hardship for you and your family. The IRS calls economic hardships ‘special circumstances.’ Inconvenience does not qualify as a hardship. The IRS refers to economic hardship as Effective Tax Administration. You must collect, analyze and present extensive supporting documentation to satisfy the IRS hardship guidelines.