It can be scary, intimidating, overwhelming, and exhausting to address a tax debt that has gone untended for some time, or one that continues to grow year over year, seemingly without a way to stop it.
Offer in Compromise “Mills”
It can be enticing to latch on to promises made by marketers who claim that you can save pennies on the dollar, or pay far reduced tax amounts than what you owe. This type of hope often comes at a time when you’re desperate for a solution, and it’s important to pause, reflect, and research so that you’re not engaging in a process that may not be appropriate, or possible, for you specifically.
When these marketers talk about this type of savings, they are referring to the Fresh Start Initiative and the Offer in Compromise program which allow you to settle your debt for way less than you owe. While these two things are real programs, they do not work - in reality - in the way that some advertisers say they do.
It’s important to be wary of promises that sound too good to be true and to be sure that if you decide to work with a tax practitioner to help resolve your debts with IRS collections, you are provided transparency in regard to what is being submitted to the IRS on your behalf, and why.
How can I protect myself against these mills?
There are some things that, if you have some basic understanding of, can help you avoid falling prey to firms or practitioners who may be advertising improper, false, or malicious claims. Here are a couple of things to note in the event that you hear from these types of firms:
The Fresh Start Initiative was launched by the IRS in the early 2000s to provide more leniency within the collections process to taxpayers who owe less than $50,000, or to taxpayers who will never be able to pay back the tax they owe and financial hardship can be proven.
Offers in Compromise apply to a very specific group of folks – those who have no earning potential, no equity in assets, or those who have combined future net earnings and equity in assets of less than the total that they owe – at the end of this article we will include a link to a calculator which will allow you to see if you meet this set of qualifications.
If settling your debt with the IRS were easy, we’d all do it! Take some time to ask questions about how and why the person you’re speaking with believes you meet the criteria of these programs – what sets you apart from the taxpayers who do not have this program as a viable option?
Remember that unless someone has actually reviewed your account with the IRS and looked at your real financial condition, they don’t have a true way of providing guidance on what resolution options are a good fit for you – including whether an Offer in Compromise would be appropriate.
How is ATBS different?
There are many ways to manage your tax debt and every case is unique. This is why ATBS always starts every tax resolution case with an investigation. This investigation allows us to run a diagnostic of sorts for you regarding your account with the IRS. We obtain a big picture view of what you owe, what returns are missing, and what resolution options may be applicable to you.
Trust us that if an Offer in Compromise seems to be a good fit for you, we will suggest it.
However, we will only suggest it based on the facts of the case, rather than on hypotheticals. This sets ATBS apart from our competition who would suggest and sell you an Offer in Compromise before ever even having the authority to speak with the IRS on your behalf.
We believe that you should have all of the information necessary to make an educated
decision about how you can, and wish, to manage your IRS tax debt. It is your financial health that we are working to protect, and your voice in that process is equally as important as any potential strategy we can outline for you. So, while other firms will make large promises about what they can “save” you from, ATBS is only interested in providing you a transparent picture of all possible options, so that you can truly take the reigns back when it comes to your business and personal finances.
Regardless of whether you have ATBS investigate your IRS account, you have a different firm represent you, or you decide to engage with the IRS directly, it’s important to remember that you are your own best advocate and you should always feel comfortable asking the questions you need answered – especially when something sounds too good to be true.
To get an idea of whether an Offer in Compromise may be appropriate for you, check out this Pre-Qualifier Tool from the IRS: https://irs.treasury.gov/oic_pre_qualifier/
Need help figuring out what solution might be best for you? Click here to get ahold of us.