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Offer in Compromise


An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a financial agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that allows the taxpayer to settle their tax debt for a lesser amount than originally owed. This option is typically for taxpayers facing financial hardship, who cannot pay the full tax liability. The IRS considers factors such as income, assets, expenses, and ability to pay while evaluating an OIC application.


The phonetic spelling of “Offer in Compromise” is: /ˈɒfər ɪn ˈkɒmprəmʌɪz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Settles tax debts for less: Offer in Compromise (OIC) is an IRS program that allows taxpayers to settle their outstanding tax debt for less than the total amount owed. This option is ideal for taxpayers facing financial hardships and who cannot pay the full tax liabilities.
  2. Eligibility requirements: To qualify for OIC, the taxpayer must meet specific eligibility requirements. These include the inability to pay the tax liability in full, providing a legitimate reason for the compromise, and being current with all filing and payment requirements. The IRS evaluates each application carefully, considering factors such as income, expenses, asset equity, and future earning potential.
  3. Application process and outcomes: Taxpayers must complete and submit the Offer in Compromise application along with the required documentation and a non-refundable application fee. The IRS may accept, reject, or negotiate an alternative offer. If an OIC is accepted, taxpayers must meet ongoing tax compliance requirements and pay the negotiated amount in full, either as a lump sum or through a payment plan.


An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is an important business and finance term as it provides a legal avenue for financially struggling taxpayers to settle their tax debt with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a lesser amount than what is actually owed. This agreement can help taxpayers facing financial hardship avoid severe penalties, get back on track with their tax obligations, and ultimately, contribute to the stability of the debtor’s financial situation. By allowing eligible individuals or businesses to negotiate a manageable settlement, OIC acts as a crucial tool in fostering financial recovery, ensuring compliance with tax laws, and maintaining the integrity of the tax collection system.


An Offer in Compromise (OIC) serves as a vital financial tool designed to provide individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties with the opportunity to settle their outstanding tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. The primary purpose of OIC is to provide relief for taxpayers who face genuine financial constraints, allowing them to negotiate and reach a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Through this mechanism, the IRS aims to recover as much tax as possible while simultaneously enabling taxpayers to overcome their financial burden without resorting to more severe measures such as liens, garnishments, or potential legal action. The use of Offer in Compromise not only benefits financially distressed taxpayers, but also the IRS and other stakeholders, as it contributes to greater tax compliance and efficient revenue collection. By providing eligible taxpayers with a manageable solution, the OIC stimulates voluntary tax payments and supports a functioning tax administration system. Given its potential impact on individuals and businesses, it is crucial to approach an Offer in Compromise with a thorough understanding of eligibility criteria, financial analysis, and the necessary documentation in order to increase the chances of successfully negotiating and settling a tax debt. Overall, OIC plays an essential role in helping taxpayers to regain their financial foothold and fostering a sustainable tax environment.


An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a financial arrangement between a taxpayer and a tax authority, which allows the taxpayer to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed. Here are three real-world examples involving Offer in Compromise: 1. Small Business Owner: Suppose there’s a small business owner who has accumulated a tax debt of $100,000 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) due to unfiled tax returns and unpaid taxes from previous years. Facing difficult financial circumstances, the business owner submits an Offer in Compromise application to the IRS, proposing to pay a reduced amount of $50,000 to settle their debt. If the IRS believes the offered amount is the most they can reasonably collect and if the business owner meets other required criteria, they may accept the OIC, and the tax debt is resolved for the agreed-upon lesser amount. 2. Individual Taxpayer with Medical Bills: An individual taxpayer, who suffered a major illness, has significant medical bills and is unable to work, leading to financial hardship. This resulted in unpaid federal taxes amounting to $25,000. The taxpayer submits an Offer in Compromise to the IRS, offering to pay $5,000 based on their limited income and resources. If the IRS determines that the offered amount is the maximum they could expect to collect, they might accept the OIC, allowing the taxpayer to resolve their tax debt. 3. Company Facing Bankruptcy: A company has a liability of $500,000 in back taxes due to several years of financial struggles. The company, on the brink of bankruptcy, submits an Offer in Compromise to the IRS proposing to pay $200,000 to settle the tax debt. The IRS assesses the company’s financial situation, including its assets, income, and expenses. If the IRS believes that the collection potential is low and that the offered amount represents a reasonable settlement, they may accept the OIC and allow the company to resolve its tax debt for the lesser amount.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Offer in Compromise (OIC)?
An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a tax settlement agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a state tax agency. It allows the taxpayer to resolve their tax liabilities for less than the full amount they owe, based on their unique financial situation and the agency’s determination of the taxpayer’s ability to pay.
Who is eligible for an Offer in Compromise?
Taxpayers who are struggling with significant tax debt and have exhausted all other payment options, such as staggered payment plans or personal loans, may be eligible for an OIC. To qualify, the taxpayer must demonstrate financial hardship and provide evidence that they cannot pay their debt in full without causing serious financial distress.
How does the Offer in Compromise process work?
The OIC process typically involves the following steps:1. The taxpayer submits an application, along with supporting documentation of their financials, to the IRS or state tax agency for review.2. The agency reviews the application and determines if the taxpayer is eligible for an OIC based on their financial situation and payment capacity.3. If approved, the tax agency will propose a settlement amount, and the taxpayer can either accept or reject the offer.4. If the taxpayer accepts the offer, they will need to agree on a payment plan or make a lump sum payment to satisfy the compromised tax liability.5. Once the terms of the agreement are met, the tax debt is considered resolved.
What are the benefits of an Offer in Compromise?
The primary benefits of an OIC include:1. Resolution of tax debt for less than the full amount owed, providing financial relief to the taxpayer.2. Reduction or alleviation of potential penalties and interest.3. Prevention of further collection actions, such as liens or levies, by the tax agency.
Are there any disadvantages or risks associated with an Offer in Compromise?
Some potential disadvantages and risks of an OIC may include:1. The application and review process can be lengthy, sometimes taking several months or longer.2. The approval rate for OIC requests can be relatively low, with many applications being denied due to insufficient financial hardship or failure to meet eligibility requirements.3. An accepted OIC becomes a matter of public record, which may impact the taxpayer’s credit rating or reputation.4. A taxpayer may end up owing more taxes in the future if they do not maintain future tax compliance.
Can an Offer in Compromise be appealed?
If a taxpayer’s OIC is rejected, they generally have the right to appeal the decision. This requires submitting a written request for an appeal, along with any additional supporting documents, to the IRS or state tax agency within 30 days of receiving the rejection notice. The agency will review the appeal and make a final determination on the taxpayer’s eligibility for an OIC.

Related Finance Terms

  • Tax Debt Settlement
  • IRS Negotiation
  • Payment Plan Options
  • Tax Relief
  • Financial Hardship

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