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Tax Debt Help Tips - How to Settle Your IRS Tax Debt for Less

23rd September 2009
By Mansi Gupta in Taxes
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You are probably reading this because you are in need of tax debt help. Sometimes it feels like there is no way out from under an overwhelming IRS tax debt. However, for taxpayers that simply can't afford to pay, there is a solution. You can actually settle your IRS tax debt for less than you owe! This is known as an "Offer in Compromise" and if you qualify for it, it is one of the most beneficial forms of IRS tax debt help available. But before you try it, you need to prime yourself with a little research and some basic knowledge. Roll up your sleeves, this won't be easy.

The IRS tax settlement program, or Offer in Compromise, reduces the amount owed for taxpayers that cannot afford to pay before the statute of limitations (time to collect on the debt) runs out. It is an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles the tax liability for less than the full amount owed. Anyone can apply for an Offer in Compromise for tax debt help. However, not everyone is going to be approved. You need to know the steps and the paperwork required for a tax settlement to increase your chances of actually securing this form of tax debt relief.

In order to apply for an Offer in Compromise you need to complete IRS Form 656, Offer in Compromise and IRS Form 655-V, the Offer in Compromise payment voucher. The IRS will not accept an offer that is less than your earning potential in the years before they can no longer collect on your debt. This means you need lots of documents to prove you simply cannot pay your tax debt before your statute runs out. Now your mission is to begin finding and assembling those documents that "will prove to the IRS" that you can't pay your tax debt in full. Some common examples are past due notices, bills, unemployment checks, and anything and everything that serves to substantiate your financial hardship claim. Submit all of this documentation with IRS Form 656, Offer in Compromise

Before you begin on your quest for tax settlement as your preferred form of tax debt relief, it is important to know the success rate. While it is true that you can actually settle your IRS tax debt for less, the IRS does not "give up easily" on full collection of past tax debt. In fact, fewer than 20% annually of all Offer in Compromise applications submitted to the IRS are approved. For this reason, it is incredibly important to double check IRS Form 656, Offer in Compromise before you submit it. Incomplete or inaccurate applications are rejected. The IRS also rejects applications where the tax settlement "offer amount" is deemed to be too low.

It is true that some taxpayers have submitted their own Offer in Compromise successfully. However, when it comes to submitting an offer, you have a better success rate when you work with a qualified tax professional. IRS tax settlement specialists know the "ins and outs" of IRS rules and guidelines, and are experienced in assembling the necessary documentation to maximize your chances for approval. Remember that this form of tax debt relief is the most beneficial, so it may be prudent to give yourself every possible chance at success. That often means using qualified IRS tax debt help advisors. Keep in mind that if it appears you will not qualify for IRS tax settlement, a professional tax advisor is aware of all programs that may give you the tax debt relief you need.

Liv Worthington has worked in the debt management field for many years. She also advises clients who need tax debt help and are seeking information about tax settlement as their preferred form of tax debt relief.
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