Can I really settle my taxes for less than I owe?

The simple answer to this question is maybe.  The more accurate answer, it depends on your current financial situation because not all taxpayers qualify.  Even if you are qualified by IRS criteria, the resolution process can be lengthy and expensive.

You may have seen the TV commercials, heard the radio ads or even received a fake looking IRS letter from a company trying to solicit your business.  The dominant message is “Settle for pennies on the dollar” or “I owed $100,000 and I settled for $10,000.” These Ads suggest that taxpayers can easily settle for amounts less than owed, thereby providing a totally false impression to consumers.

The truth is that the IRS does offer taxpayers a limited opportunity to settle their tax debt for an amount less than owed.  This limited opportunity is called Offer-in-Compromise (OIC).  The process is lengthy, taking 12 months or more, and all taxpayers do not qualify for the OIC program.  It is not as simple as phoning the IRS, and saying, “Hey IRS, I know that my client owes $100,000.  He has about $10,000 in the bank.  We’d like to settle the debt owed to the IRS for $10,000.  This all the money the client has.  Please accept.”  Tax solutions are not this easy.

The OIC program is objective and based on numbers.  An experience licensed tax professional will focus on your current financial situation and quickly assess whether you qualify for an OIC.  There are several factors that the IRS reviews to determine if a taxpayer qualifies for an OIC, including the amount of equity in assets and the amount of monthly income earned in the client’s household.  Equity is defined as the value of a piece of property over and above any mortgages or money owed on the property.

If a tax resolution firm is recommending settling for an amount considerably less than you owe to the IRS, ask how the proposed tax settlement was determined.  If the firm’s tax professional did not ask  detailed questions about your assets, household incomes, and your expenses, immediately find a different firm.  To qualify for and to participate in the OIC program, the reviewing tax professional must have a complete understanding of your financial situation.

If the IRS is knocking on your door and sending you scary letters, call ALG Tax Solutions for help at 855-MI-TaxHelp, (855-648-2943).  We offer a free and confidential consultation.  Your complete financial situation will be reviewed and solutions to your problem will be promptly recommended based on a professional analysis.  We care about you.  We’ll take ample time to discuss the services needed and your payment options for our professional tax representation.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To the extent this writing contains advice on a federal tax issue, the advice is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.


2 Responses to “Can I really settle my taxes for less than I owe?”

  1. […] These companies heavily advertised settling your tax debt for pennies on the dollar.  Their nationally broadcast advertisements have sparked several lawsuits because such advertisements mislead taxpayers.  The reality is that settling IRS debts for less than what is owed is only possible if the taxpayer meets specific qualifications.  Please see my Offer-in-Compromise blog posting. […]