Owing The Government Large Sums Of Money For Taxes Can Be Daunting, But It Happens
It could happen any number of ways – whether through under-withholding, untaxed income, or estimating quarterly tax payments required – but every year, thousands of people find themselves owing the Internal Revenue Service more than they can repay, at least at that moment. The IRS is not famous for being in the habit of waiting for payment. The IRS has an impressive array of collection options – it can seize and sell your property to pay your tax debt, garnish your wages, and place liens on your home and bank account.
Owing the IRS money is not a small matter. A payment plan is an option for many people, but if you owe a lot, IRS payment plans are time-limited, and you might be unable to afford the payments to pay off the entire debt during the time period of the payment plan. Fortunately for people in this situation, the IRS provides another option for repayment, known as an offer in compromise.
An Offer Of Compromise Provides An Avenue Out From Under Debts Owed To The IRS
An offer of compromise is a process whereby you can make an offer to the IRS to pay an amount that is less than you owe in satisfaction for the total debt. Basically, you file copious amounts of paperwork, including IRS forms that include detailed information about your financial situation, including assets, debts, and the like, and you offer an amount you consider yourself willing to pay instead of the full amount owed. While the acceptance rate for such offers used to be less than 25 percent, in recent years, that amount has increased to about 45 percent. If your offer is accepted, you are deemed to have satisfied your entire tax debt.
The process is complicated, but the IRS provides a Taxpayer Advocate Service that can give you some assistance regarding an offer of compromise. They provide assistance and information, not advice – you’ll have to go elsewhere for that.
What Is Required To File An Offer Of Compromise?
The first requirement is that you be eligible to file an offer of compromise. To pass that first hurdle, you must show that:
- You are not currently in a bankruptcy proceeding.
- You have filed all previously required tax returns and have made all estimated or actual payments for taxes due on those returns.
- If you are applying for an offer in compromise for the current year, provided you are applying for an offer of compromise for the current year.
- If you are an employer, you have made required quarterly tax payments for the current quarter and for the two-quarters previous to your applying for an offer of compromise
If you meet those requirements, you can move on to filing an offer of compromise. That, in itself, can be a daunting process. You will be required to complete several IRS forms and provide significant amounts of information regarding your monthly income, cash on hand, debt, and assets. You also will be required to detail monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, grocery costs, utilities, and any other recurring monthly expenses. You also will have to pay the application fee, which is refundable if your offer of compromise is rejected, and payment toward what you propose as the balance due on your taxes. Obviously, the proposed balance due will be less than the amount the IRS says you owe. If you opt for a payment plan, you will include the first payment amount. You also could include payment for the entire amount owed that you propose. Even if your offer is rejected, however, the IRS will keep your payment and apply it to the amount of taxes the IRS says are owed.
There are a number of reasons the IRS might reject your offer. Among them are failing to meet any of the requirements for eligibility, you failing to include the application fee, or the IRS has referred your case to the Department of Justice for prosecution. Reasons for accepting your offer come down to whether the IRS believes it can collect the entire amount due or whether the IRS believes it can collect that amount but that it would be unfair, inequitable, or cause economic hardship.
If You Owe Significant Amounts To The IRS, Contact The Tax Attorneys of Wilson Ratledge
The IRS is a formidable opponent with an unmatched ability to disrupt your life financially and even seize your assets. If you owe money to the IRS that you can’t repay, you should consider an offer of compromise. You should contact the North Carolina tax attorneys of Wilson Ratledge. We have the knowledge and experience to help you through the process.