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Fresh Start Offer in Compromise
Under the current Fresh Start initiative the IRS has incorporated its Streamlined Offer in Compromise process into the overall investigation of offers and has added flexibility to the financial analysis used in evaluating offers.
The Streamlined Offer in Compromise process includes:
Fewer requests for additional financial information
If necessary, requests for additional information by phone, not by mail
Greater flexibility when considering your ability to pay
The changes to financial analysis add more flexibility to the OIC process including:
Greater flexibility in determining the equity in assets
Greater flexibility in determining the allowable living expenses
Reducing the amount of future income included in the offer
Decreased timeframe to complete OIC payment process to two years
Offer in Compromise
An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. It may be a legitimate option if you can't pay your full tax liability, or doing so creates a financial hardship. We consider your unique set of facts and circumstances:
Ability to pay;
We generally approve an offer in compromise when the amount offered represents the most we can expect to collect within a reasonable period of time. Explore all other payment options before submitting an offer in compromise. The Offer in Compromise program is not for everyone. When you hire Edward L. Crum CPA to help you file an offer, be sure to check his qualifications and testimonials.
Make sure you are eligible
Before we can consider your offer, you must be current with all filing and payment requirements. You are not eligible if you are in an open bankruptcy proceeding. Edward L. Crum CPA will confirm your eligibility and prepare a preliminary proposal.
Submit your offer
Your completed offer package will include:
Form 433-A (OIC) (individuals) or 433-B (OIC) (businesses) and all required documentation as specified on the forms;
Form 656(s) - individual and business tax debt (Corporation/ LLC/ Partnership) must be submitted on separate Form 656;
$186 application fee (non-refundable); and
Initial payment (non-refundable) for each Form 656.
Select a payment option
Your initial payment will vary based on your offer and the payment option you choose:
Lump Sum Cash: Submit an initial payment of 20 percent of the total offer amount with your application. Wait for written acceptance, then pay the remaining balance of the offer in five or fewer payments.
Periodic Payment: Submit your initial payment with your application. Continue to pay the remaining balance in monthly installments while the IRS considers your offer. If accepted, continue to pay monthly until it is paid in full.
If you meet the Low Income Certification guidelines, you do not have to send the application fee or the initial payment and you will not need to make monthly installments during the evaluation of your offer. See your application package for details.
Understand the process
While your offer is being evaluated:
Your non-refundable payments and fees will be applied to the tax liability (you may designate payments to a specific tax year and tax debt);
A Notice of Federal Tax Lien may be filed;
Other collection activities are suspended;
The legal assessment and collection period is extended;
Make all required payments associated with your offer;
You are not required to make payments on an existing installment agreement; and
Your offer is automatically accepted if the IRS does not make a determination within two years of the IRS receipt date.
IRS Announces More Flexible Offer-in-Compromise Terms to Help a Greater Number of Struggling Taxpayers Make a Fresh Start
The Internal Revenue Service today announced another expansion of its "Fresh Start" initiative by offering more flexible terms to its Offer in Compromise (OIC) program that will enable some of the most financially distressed taxpayers to clear up their tax problems and in many cases more quickly than in the past.
"This phase of Fresh Start will assist some taxpayers who have faced the most financial hardship in recent years."
"It is part of our multiyear effort to help taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet."
Today's announcement focuses on the financial analysis used to determine which taxpayers qualify for an OIC. This announcement also enables some taxpayers to resolve their tax problems in as little as two years compared to four or five years in the past.
In certain circumstances, the changes announced today include:
Revising the calculation for the taxpayer's future income.
Allowing taxpayers to repay their student loans.
Allowing taxpayers to pay state and local delinquent taxes.
Expanding the Allowable Living Expense allowance category and amount.
In general, an OIC is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer's tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. An OIC is generally not accepted if the IRS believes the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or a through payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer's income and assets to make a determination of the taxpayer's reasonable collection potential. OICs are subject to acceptance on legal requirements.
The IRS recognizes that many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills so the agency has been working to put in place common-sense changes to the OIC program to more closely reflect real-world situations.
When the IRS calculates a taxpayer's reasonable collection potential, it will now look at only one year of future income for offers paid in five or fewer months, down from four years, and two years of future income for offers paid in six to 24 months, down from five years. All offers must be fully paid within 24 months of the date the offer is accepted.
Allowable Living Expenses
The Allowable Living Expense standards are used in cases requiring financial analysis to determine a taxpayer's ability to pay. The standard allowances provide consistency and fairness in collection determinations by incorporating average expenditures for basic necessities for citizens in similar geographic areas. These standards are used when evaluating installment agreement and offer in compromise requests.
The National Standard miscellaneous allowance has been expanded to include addition items. Taxpayers can use the miscellaneous allowance for expenses such as credit card payments and bank fees and charges.
Guidance has also been clarified to allow payments for loans guaranteed by the federal government for the taxpayer's post-high school education. In addition, payments for delinquent state and local taxes may be allowed based on percentage basis of tax owed to the state and IRS.
This is another in a series of steps to help struggling taxpayer under the Fresh Start initiative. In 2008, IRS announced lien relief for taxpayers trying to refinance or sell a home. The IRS added new flexibility for taxpayers facing payment or collection problems in 2009. The IRS made changes to lien policies in 2011 and expanded the threshold for small businesses to resolve tax issues through installment agreements. And, earlier this year, the IRS increased the threshold for a streamlined installment agreement allowing individual taxpayers to set up an installment agreement without providing a significant amount of financial information.
New IRS Fresh Start Initiative Helps Taxpayers Who Owe Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service has expanded its "Fresh Start" initiative to help struggling taxpayers who owe taxes. The following four tips explain the expanded relief for taxpayers.
Penalty Relief Part of the initiative relieves some unemployed taxpayers from failure-to-pay penalties. Penalties are one of the biggest factors a financially distressed taxpayer faces on a tax bill. The Fresh Start Penalty Relief Initiative gives eligible taxpayers a six-month extension to fully pay 2011 taxes. Interest still applies on the 2011 taxes from April 17, 2012 until the tax is paid but you won't face failure-to-pay penalties if you pay your tax, interest and any other penalties in full by October 15, 2012.
The penalty relief is available to two categories of taxpayers:
Wage earners who have been unemployed at least 30 consecutive days during 2011 or in 2012 up to this year's April 17 tax deadline.
Self-employed individuals who experienced a 25 percent or greater reduction in business income in 2011 due to the economy.
To qualify for this penalty relief, your adjusted gross income must not exceed $200,000 if married filing jointly or $100,000 if your filing status is single, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying for widower. Your 2011 balance due can not exceed $50,000.
Taxpayers who qualify need to complete a new Form 1127A to request the 2011 penalty relief. The new form is available when discussing your case with Edward L. Crum CPA.
Installment agreements An installment agreement is a payment option for those who cannot pay their entire tax bill by the due date. The Fresh Start provisions give more taxpayers the ability to use streamlined installment agreements to catch up on back taxes and also more time to pay.
The new threshold for requesting an installment agreement has been raised from $25,000 to $50,000. This option requires limited financial information, meaning far less burden to the taxpayer. The maximum term for streamlined installment agreements has been raised to six years from the current five-year maximum.
If your debt is more than $50,000, you'll still need to supply the IRS with a Collection Information Statement (Form 433-A or Form 433-F). You also can pay your balance down to $50,000 or less to qualify for this payment option.
With an installment agreement, you'll pay less in penalties, but interest continues to accrue on the outstanding balance. In order to qualify for the new expanded streamlined installment agreement, you must agree to monthly direct debit payments.
You can set up an installment agreement with the IRS through the On-line Payment Agreement (OPA) page at www.irs.gov.
Offer in Compromise Under the first round of Fresh Start in 2011, the IRS expanded the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program to cover a larger group of struggling taxpayers. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer's tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed.
The IRS recognizes many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills so the agency has been working on more common-sense changes to the OIC program to more closely reflect real-world situations.
Generally, the offer will not be accepted if the IRS believes that the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer's income and assets to make a determination regarding the taxpayer's ability to pay.
More information Any and all questions will be answered with your initial appointment with Edward L. Crum CPA.
6. Provide records and receipts. Reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts. They will ask you questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for deductions, credits and other items. Do not use a prepare who is willing to e-file your return by using your last pay stub before you receive your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
7. Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
8. Review the entire return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
9. Make sure the prepare signs and includes their PTIN. A paid preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or altered a return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. Download the forms on the IRS.gov website or order them by mail at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
I’ve been practicing Tax Filing for years, with dozens of successful cases to my name. My Frederick clients can count on my Tax Filing expertise to manage the legal framework supporting their endeavors. When I am involved in a case, I help my client successfully resolve it as quickly and efficiently as possible.