Settle Your Outstanding Tax Liabilities for Pennies on the Dollar!
We have all seen those late night ads informing us that the IRS has been “forced” by the government to “allow” taxpayers to resolve their liabilities for next to nothing. In fact, we have been inundated with these ads; but are they a scam? What’s all this “pennies on the dollar” stuff really about? The purpose of this short article is to answer that question and briefly explain what to expect if you qualify for the relief in question.
The start with, the process in question is known as an Offer in Compromise and it isn’t anything new. It shouldn’t cost you $5,000 in attorney fees to obtain (as anyone who has called one of those late night firm’s numbers will discover) and should be fairly painless if you qualify. But qualifying is a big “if.”
What is It:
An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. It may be a legitimate option if you can’t pay your full tax liability, or if doing so creates a financial hardship. The IRS will consider your unique set of facts and circumstances, including:
- Ability to pay;
- Expenses; and
- Asset equity.
The way that I explain it to my clients is that there is a predetermined formula of sorts that takes all of these considerations into account and then spits out a number that has been generated just for you. The IRS will generally approve an offer in compromise when the amount offered represents the most that they can expect to collect within a reasonable period of time. In other words, you have to offer a number that fits into their formula’s range, otherwise your offer will be rejected. How you arrive at those numbers, however, is very important. If you are considering an offer in compromise you should consult with an attorney to determine what you can expect.
Please also note that this does not mean that you cannot still settle your tax debts for pennies on the dollar; Instead it means that most people who qualify for an offer will be paying more than those late night ads have led you to believe might be appropriate, but it will still be saving you boatloads.
On to Eligibility:
Before we can even consider helping you to prepare an offer in compromise you must be current with all filing and payment requirements. You are not eligible if you are in an open bankruptcy proceeding or if you are not in current compliance. In other words, file your returns before contacting our office.
You heard me. Just because the offer is dependent on this “IRS Formula” doesn’t mean that you are without options. You have the ability to choose how to make this work with a variety of payment options, including:
Lump Sum Cash: Where you submit an initial payment of 20 percent of the total offer amount with your application. Wait for written acceptance, then pay the remaining balance of the offer in five or fewer payments.
Periodic Payment: Where you submit your initial payment with your application. Continue to pay the remaining balance in monthly installments while the IRS considers your offer, and if accepted, continue to pay monthly until it is paid in full.
Note, that exceptions may apply for low income individuals.