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Can I Apply For an Offer in Compromise on My Own?

Feb 15, 2024

When it comes to resolving tax debts, many people hear about the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program. This initiative allows qualified individuals to settle their tax obligations for less than the full amount owed. But, can you take this journey on your own, or do you need professional guidance? At JD Tax Law, we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge. Let’s dive into what an OIC entails and how you can approach it.

The OIC Process

The Offer in Compromise (OIC) process is a detailed and structured program implemented by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to allow individuals with tax liabilities the opportunity to settle their debts for less than the full amount owed. This process is not as simple as filling out a basic form; it involves a thorough and comprehensive assessment of one’s financial situation. Here’s a breakdown of what the OIC process entails:

  • Detailed Financial Analysis: The IRS conducts an exhaustive review of your financial situation. This includes a close examination of your income (from all sources), expenses (daily living costs and other obligations), asset equity (value in things you own like property, vehicles, and investments), and your overall ability to pay off the tax debt. This assessment is akin to a financial audit, intended to gain a clear and complete picture of your financial health.
  • Income Assessment: The IRS looks at all sources of income, whether from employment, business, investments, or any other sources. This helps them understand your earning capacity and how much you can realistically contribute towards settling your tax debt.
  • Expense Analysis: Your monthly expenses are scrutinized to determine how much you spend and on what. The IRS compares your expenses against national and local standards to decide what is considered necessary (like housing, food, and healthcare) and what could be deemed non-essential.
  • Asset Equity Evaluation: The IRS evaluates all your assets, such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and even retirement accounts. They assess the equity in these assets – basically, how much these assets are worth minus any debts related to them. This evaluation helps determine if these assets can be used to pay off your tax debt, either through sale or by borrowing against their value.
  • Ability to Pay: Combining the information about your income, expenses, and asset equity, the IRS assesses your ability to pay the tax debt. This is a critical part of the process. The IRS aims to understand not just your current financial situation but also your potential future ability to pay. This assessment ensures that any offer accepted is in line with your actual capacity to settle the debt.
  • Proposal of Settlement Amount: Based on this comprehensive financial analysis, you (or your representative) propose an amount to settle your tax debt. This amount should reflect your maximum capacity to pay, considering your financial situation.
  • Negotiation and Agreement: The proposed amount is not automatically accepted. It might be subject to negotiation, and the IRS will either accept, reject, or counter the offer based on their assessment.

Financial Assessment

Your financial health is key in the OIC process. It’s not just about the balance in your bank account. The IRS delves into your income history, your monthly expenses on necessities, and your assets. This thorough evaluation ensures that those who can pay their tax debt, do so. It upholds the integrity of the tax system and ensures that the OIC program aids those who genuinely need it.

Are Your Expenses Really Necessary?

The IRS doesn’t just take your word on your living expenses. They use national and local standards to define necessary living costs. If your spending exceeds these standards, the IRS may expect you to redirect funds towards your tax debt. This distinction between necessities and luxuries is crucial in the IRS’s assessment of your financial situation.

Asset Evaluation

In the eyes of the IRS, your assets are potential sources for settling your tax debt. This includes property, vehicles, investments, and even personal collections. The IRS assesses the equity in these assets to determine if they can be liquidated or leveraged to address your tax obligations.

JD Tax Law, Your Partner in Going Through Tax Challenges

Facing tax issues can be daunting, but you’re not alone. At JD Tax Law, we combine our experience in accounting and tax resolution to offer comprehensive support. We’re committed to helping you determine if an OIC is the right strategy for your situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance with tax, accounting, or IRS matters.

Call us at JD Tax Law at (844) 786-7477 or online to schedule a consultation. Let’s work together towards your financial freedom.