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Business Q&A: Loosened IRS guidelines make it easier to settle tax debts

Tax attorney Travis Watkins discusses the changes in the IRS offer in compromise program.
by Paula Burkes Published: February 22, 2013

Q: Why are so few offers in compromise approved?

A: Many taxpayers mistakenly believe the IRS will cut a deal because the government runs on deficits and massive spending. But you must provide supporting documentation for all your figures. Also, if you have assets, substantial home equity for instance, you must offer the value of those assets in your OIC calculations. Lastly, most taxpayers are unaware of the IRS' appeals program, which can be a game-changer.

Q: Do I need a lawyer to prepare my offer in compromise?

A: No. But representing yourself, you, even with a good offer, may get pressured into an installment agreement or a one-size-fits-all payment plan. I recommend using a local Oklahoma tax attorney who represents taxpayers before the IRS routinely and has high marks with the Better Business Bureau and a reputable peer review rating service like Most importantly, make sure your lawyer or tax professional will take your case on a flat-fee basis. There are unscrupulous national outfits that prey on taxpayers with big promises and low up-front costs with higher and higher recurring monthly charges.


by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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