IRS debt forgiveness is one of the many tax relief services offered by the IRS. Eligible taxpayers can save thousands of dollars through the IRS debt forgiveness programs.  If you owe back taxes, contact Austin & Larson Tax Resolution to find out what debt forgiveness you qualify for.


Many people often come to a tax resolution firm looking for tax relief services and IRS debt forgiveness.  They have heard all of the adds claiming that companies can substantially reduce their tax debt and they will pay “pennies on the dollar.”  However, they do not understand the process of how the IRS forgives tax debt or who qualifies for IRS debt forgiveness.

While there are many ways to resolve your tax debt, only a few of them involve the IRS forgiving the tax debt.  The two main ways that the IRS forgives tax debt is through the process of penalty abatement or through the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program.

A penalty abatement is a process through which the IRS will abate accrued penalties on your tax debt based on reasonable cause.  However, when most people think of IRS debt forgiveness, they are thinking of the Offer in Compromise program.

An OIC is a program through which taxpayers can achieve debt forgiveness.  However, there are many misconceptions on how the program works.  One of the most common misconceptions is people believe that everyone qualifies for an OIC.  They have heard the sales pitch and want their tax debt forgiven for the “pennies on the dollar” slogan casually thrown around.  However, this is not how an Offer in Compromise works.  While an OIC can substantially reduce the tax debt of those who qualify, not all taxpayers qualify for IRS debt forgiveness programs.  Of the ones that do, not all of them are able to afford the amount of the reduced settlement within the time frame that the IRS allows them to pay it.

A second common misconception in regards to IRS debt forgiveness is that it is a simple and quick process.  Many taxpayers assume that they can just call the IRS and request that their tax debt be forgiven.  However, an Offer in Compromise is a long, complicated process.  There are many steps that need to be taken before an OIC can even be submitted to make sure that it will not just be rejected by the IRS.  You then have to complete the IRS financial forms and gather and organize your supporting documentation.  Once that is complete, the OIC is submitted to the IRS.  It may be several months or even a year before your Offer in Compromise is assigned to an Offer Specialist and you are contacted regarding it.  The Offer in Compromise then has to be negotiated and may need to be appealed.  Once it is accepted, it may take several months before it is paid in full and any tax liens are released.  From start to finish IRS debt forgiveness could take several years.

A third extremely common misconception is that people think the IRS does not allow taxpayers IRS debt forgiveness through the Offer in Compromise Program.  Many clients have stated that it sounds to good to be true before beginning this process.  This could not be further from reality and could cost a taxpayer with a large tax debt thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by not determining it they quality for this program.  This program is an extremely time-sensitive and daunting process, but as long as everything is performed correctly and timely, you could be on your way to once again being tax debt free.


The IRS is very similar to any other collection agency in their attempts to collect a debt.  With this being said, the money collected on each individual tax debt must outweigh the costs they are required to put into their efforts.  The IRS Collection system is very costly to operate on a daily basis and for this reason they have established programs to help them collect at least a portion of accounts that would require a lot of money and resource to collect, with minimal chance of collecting the full amount due.  The IRS would rather collect a smaller amount of a taxpayers back taxes owed and get a them back into being compliant with paying their current and future taxes than try to hold the back-tax debt over the taxpayer for multiple years when they have very limited ability to pay any of this balance.

An example of this is John Doe with a $100,000.00 tax debt.  He does not have the ability to pay this tax debt back and does not have any assets with any equity available to the IRS.  Based on his income levels and determined acceptable expenses, Mr. Doe is currently just barely keeping up with all of is necessary living expenses.  He also has a mortgage on his primary residence and loans on all of his other assets.  Mr. Doe would most likely qualify for IRS debt forgiveness through the Offer in Compromise program.  It is imperative that he seeks a qualified representative to assist him through this process as the IRS could levy, place liens, garnish his wages, or repossess his assets while doing nothing to resolve the debt.

There are a few things you will need to know before this program can be applied for by an individual taxpayer.  To start the IRS debt forgiveness program a taxpayer must first get into full compliance with IRS standards.  To be in compliance, a taxpayer must do all of the following:

  • Make all estimated tax payments or have proper withholding for the year so you do not have a balance due when filing your current years return.
  • File all outstanding tax returns.
  • Continue to file all returns timely moving forward.

Once in compliance with IRS standards, you will need to file the proper forms in order to submit an Offer in Compromise.  You will first need to file forms 433-A and 656 providing all of your asset and income/expense information along with all supporting documentation.    You will also be required to make a payment of $186.00 for the filing fee and another one for 20% of the total offer amount with the submission of you offer.  The IRS will evaluate all of the information submitted and begin their negotiation process.  If resolution can not be established with the original Offer in Compromise agent assigned to your case, you will have one more chance to speak to another representative through the appeals process.

Once you have an accepted Offer in Compromise under the IRS debt forgiveness program, you will be required to make the remaining offer payment that was established through negotiation generally within a few months.  You will also be required to remain in compliance with filing and not owing on each of your next 5 years of returns.  Failure to file or the accrual of an additional balance will default the accepted Offer in Compromise and result in all of your resolved tax debt being placed back into active collections.

Although the IRS Offer in Compromise process is extremely long and detailed, it is one of the only tax relief programs available to qualifying taxpayers to gain the debt forgiveness necessary to get back to everyday life and work without the crippling fear of the IRS seizing your money and assets.

You can contact our office today to set up an appointment to review all of your individual circumstances to determine if you qualify for this program.  It could save you thousands so do not wait any longer with a crushing tax burden.  Relief is a phone call away.