Bringing Down the Burden of Tax Debt – Offers in Compromise

Tax Act

People all over the world are struggling with debt in the current global financial climate. For most people these debts will be to do with credit cards and loans, or having over-extended on a mortgage. For a small number of people however, it will be large tax debts owing that are causing them trouble. And often these debts can be just as stressful and just as crippling, with the belief that there is nothing you can do when you face going under, simply because you are dealing with the IRS. To a certain extent this is true – the IRS expects its taxes to be paid. But it is worth bearing in mind that in some cases it is possible for a certain amount of leeway to be given, or even an exception to be made, and that tax debt can be reduced through something called an Offer in Compromise.

Such a deal is rare, but comes about when the IRS either thinks there will be little or no chance of you paying the full tax debt owed, or it is in dispute with you about your total tax liability and whether you owe what they think you owe. In certain of these cases the IRS is permitted, at its own discretion, to look at, consider and then accept your submission of what is known as an Offer in Compromise. The Offer in Compromise is essentially an offer that you will make to the IRS that suggests a figure you think you can pay that is less than the figure they are asking for. Unbelievable as it may sound, they will often be willing to accept such an offer because they will look on it in such a way that they are at least going to recoup a portion of the debt you owe. Without that Offer in Compromise you may go bankrupt or not be able to pay them any of the outstanding debts.

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Can You Discharge Your Tax Debts In Bankruptcy Court

Tax Act

There are many debts that you can discharge through bankruptcy. Is tax debt eligible for discharge through bankruptcy? In some circumstances, a taxpayer can go to bankruptcy court and have an old tax debt discharged. There are criteria that have to be met for that to happen.

The Debt Was From A Tax Year At Least Three Years Ago

A petitioner facing a judge in bankruptcy court today would only be eligible for relief from taxes filed before 2009. Any other tax debt would be ineligible for discharge in bankruptcy court. The 36 month period starts on the day that your tax debt was due. Any extension of your due date will extend the amount of time you have to wait before that debt becomes eligible for discharge.

The Tax Return Was Filed At Least Two Years Ago

Taxes that were filed after 2010 would not be eligible for discharge at the current time. Any recent tax debt would not be eligible for tax relief until 24 months after filing. The 24 month time period begins on the day that you actually file your tax return. Tax returns that were not filed will not qualify for discharge no matter how old that debt may be.

Your Tax Debt Must Be At Least 240 Days Old

The tax debt must be assessed at least 240 days before you can ask for the debt to be discharged. It does not matter in what manner the tax was assessed against you. However, it might be easier to get the debt discharged if the tax assessment was a result of self-reporting of taxable income.

The Return Was Filed In Good Faith

A judge is not going to discharge any tax debt based on a falsified tax return. Attempting to evade taxes is not an acceptable basis to have your debts discharged. The IRS will help to determine whether the returns were filed in good faith or not.

Your Creditors Will See Your Returns

It is important that the borrower files their taxes on time each year. The bankruptcy court is going to ask for your last four tax returns. Your creditors are going to have access to any tax information that you hand over to the court. Furthermore, you would have needed to have your tax return filed before you first met with any debt relief services. You may not be able to reach a tax debt settlement if you did not file your taxes before seeking relief.

It is possible that your tax debt could be discharged. However, you have to make sure that you were actually filing your tax returns in an honest manner. Tax debt may not be eligible for discharge if you are simply trying to evade payment of taxes. Do plenty of research before you seek any relief from past tax debt. The courts will not be likely to discharge your debt if you do not follow all of the rules. Ignorance of the law is never a defense.

Dealing with IRS Tax Debt

Dealing with tax debt is different from how you handle your other debts. But you need not worry since it can be managed given the right amount of patience as well as the willingness on your part to lower down your debts.

For starters, getting debt help is highly recommendable especially for those who do not know where and how to start eliminating their outstanding balances with their creditors. Seeking for professional assistance is a very sensible thing to do because you will have to think of it as an investment in order for you to live a comfortable and financially secured life in the future.

Tax Act

Managing tax debt on your own – If you do not want to spend money to pay for debt relief services, you may opt to control your tax debts on your own. You can do this by requesting copies of your tax returns and double checking it for any discrepancies. From there, you can choose which option you can take.

Get professional help to deal with your tax debts – People with low tax debts can get away without the assistance from financial counselors, however for those who happen to owe thousands of dollars, get expert help from debt relief companies. Here are several things that you can check and counter-check in order for you to ensure that the company can truly extend their services to you:

Amount being charged or rate of services – There are several companies that can give you a quotation for the whole duration that you are going to require their services, while there are some companies that charge by the hour. Whichever way you prefer, bear in mind a budget and stick to it so that you will not have any added troubles.

Their credibility as a company – While there are many companies out there, you still need to check the legitimacy of the agency that you are going to tap. Professionals who are dealing with tax debts need to be certified public accountants, tax attorney, or an enrolled agent.

Several of the debt strategies that they can suggest to you, apart from double checking your tax return documents, include the following: installment agreement, filing for bankruptcy, offer in compromise, and partial payment.

You see, dealing with tax debt is not an entirely complicated process. Given the right time and strategy, you will be able to control your balances and slowly pay them all off.