OIC Comes in Different Flavors

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It may surprise you to learn that there is a tax resolution program on the books that permits the IRS to write off a tax liability or settle a tax debt for less than what is owed even though the taxpayer has the ability to pay it in full.

You’ve probably heard of the Offer in Compromise (a.k.a., tax settlement), but you may not be aware that there are several different kinds of offers.  Here is a brief overview:

  1. Doubt as to Liability Offer: Genuine doubt exists that the IRS has correctly determined the amount owed.
  2. Doubt as to Collectibility Offer: Taxpayer cannot fully pay the tax due; therefore, the IRS accepts an amount equal to what it reasonably can expect to collect — “Reasonable Collection Potential” (RCP) — as payment in full.
  3. Doubt as to Collectibility (Special Circumstances): Taxpayer cannot fully pay the tax due but has proven special circumstances that warrant acceptance for less than RCP.
  4. Effective Tax Administration Offer: RCP is greater than the liability (i.e., on paper the taxpayer has the ability to pay in full) but there are economic or public policy/equity circumstances that would justify accepting the offer for an amount less than full payment.

Some additional requirements for ETA Offers:

  • Taxpayer does not qualify for consideration under the other OIC programs
  • The taxes can be paid in full either by lump sum payment or via installment agreement
  • compromise of the liability does not undermine voluntary compliance with the tax laws