It is important to understand the different IRS tax debt strategies. It sounds like you should explore getting an Offer In Compromise as a method to settle or resolve this IRS debt. You may be able to do a streamlined resolution through a good tax relief firm (such as Freedom Tax Relief) if you owe less than that amount.
If you want to get a free consultation, please visit the Bills.com tax debt savings center.
There are five strategies for getting out of IRS debt.
1. Offer in Compromise: a program where you can settle your tax debts for less than what you owe. Requires making a lump sum or short term payment plan to pay off the IRS at a reduced dollar amount.
2. Installment agreement: a monthly payment plan for paying off the IRS.
3. Partial payment installment agreement: a somewhat new debt management program where you have a long term payment plan to pay off the IRS at a reduced dollar amount.
4. Not currently collectible: a program where the IRS voluntarily agrees not to collect on the tax debt for a year or so.
5. Filing bankruptcy: discharge your tax debts under the strict rules of a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition.
For those taxpayers who cannot afford to pay off the entire debt through an installment agreement, the offer in compromise may be the best form of tax debt relief. The offer in compromise program is designed to help taxpayers who owe more than they can afford to pay. In some cases, the IRS will accept a reduced settlement that is based on the taxpayer's ability to pay off the debt. The reduced amount is a function of assets, income, and expenses.
Resolving IRS debt with an offer in compromise
Many people who find themselves with IRS debt might focus the Offer in Compromise ("OIC"). For those who qualify it can be the optimal solution, however, it is important to note that not everyone qualifies for the Offer in Compromise solution. Only about 15% of applicants succeed in reducing their debts through the OIC program. For this reason and because of the complexity of filing an Offer in Compromise many people enlist the services of a tax professional who has a track record of success negotiating with the IRS. This tax professional will not only be able to determine if you are eligible to reduce your IRS debts via an OIC but they will also assist you in navigating the complicated IRS bureaucracy to achieve the desired outcome.
An Offer in Compromise is a lengthy and time-consuming process. It takes most individuals anywhere from 12 months to 24 months to achieve a successful resolution on your offer application. Through an Offer in Compromise, taxpayers agree to pay the IRS only the reasonable collection potential instead of the full amount of taxes owed. For some people the "reasonable collection potential" will be less than the full amount of taxes owed -- sometimes as little as 10%.
Resolving IRS debt with an installment agreement
If a taxpayer does not qualify for an offer in compromise and cannot afford to pay an Installment Agreement, Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status may be an option. If a client is placed in CNC status, the statute of limitations continues to run and the IRS will not pursue collection actions. However, if a taxpayer's financial status improves, the IRS can remove the file from CNC status and return to active collection status. Reasons for attempting CNC status:
1. Taxpayer has income below allowable expenses and there is no indication that the financial situation will improve in the future;
2. Due to high equity, the taxpayer does not qualify for an OIC and has more allowable expenses than income so an Installment Agreement is not an option; and,
3. Taxpayer has more allowable expenses than income and the statute of limitations is getting close to expiring.
Statute of limitations on IRS debt
The IRS has 10 years to collect outstanding tax liabilities. This is measured from the day a tax liability has been finalized. A tax liability can be finalized in a number of ways. It could be a balance due on a tax return, an assessment from an audit, or a proposed IRS assessment that has become final. From that day, the IRS has 10 years to collect the full amount, plus any penalties and interest. If the IRS does not collect the full amount in the 10-year period, then the remaining balance on the account disappears forever.
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