IRS Offer In Compromise Acceptance: Is It Possible?
by: Anthony Parent
Getting an Offer in Compromise accepted is not automatic. It can be tricky, but it is possible. Be wary if anyone guarantees that your Offer in Compromise will be accepted. We don't even guarantee that for the clients that hire us...we don't guarantee because we can't guarantee. There are far too many moving parts. However, what I can do is tell you about the things you can do to maximize your chances of getting your IRS Offer in Compromise acceptance.
Seeing as how you have to send in a payment with your offer that the IRS gets to keep either way, you want to set yourself up for success. From our experience, the following are the most important things to consider:
Are you current? If you are self-employed, are you making your quarterly estimated payments correctly? If you are a w-2 employee, is your withholding correct? If not, the IRS will reject your Offer in Compromise because you have demonstrated that you can't follow the tax compliance rules.
Are all your taxes that need to be filed, filed? How is the IRS supposed to "do you a favor" and reduce your taxes if you are essentially telling them you are going to do your taxes your way and not their way? You must be compliant. Compliance means you do things the way the IRS tells you to (which is admittedly tough, especially when you can't understand them).
Did you supply all the requested documents? They don't like to have to reach out to you to ask for a document you should have supplied.
Did you send in the requested payments? If you don't send in your fee or fee waiver, the IRS can not process your Offer.
Did you tell the truth? The Offer Examiners will validate everything you say. If they sense you are being less than honest, forget about getting your Offer accepted. Just like on a tax return, it is a Federal crime to lie on an IRS Offer in Compromise form or collection information statement.
And one last thing to consider...are you being nice to the IRS Offer in Compromise examiner? I am not talking about being phony-nice. I am talking about being respectful towards them. Are you making sure you are helping them move their case as quickly as possible? Because that is how the examiners are judged --- by how many cases they can process. If you are dragging your feet, then no matter how good your Offer is, you can expect it to be denied. As difficult as it can be, when dealing with an IRS agent you want to remain unemotional. Yelling, crying, or insulting the agent is a bad idea. Even if they take the low road, you need to take the high one.