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Objectives of the IRS Offer in Compromise Program

  • Effect collection of what can reasonably be collected at the earliest possible time and at the least cost to the government;
  • Achieve a resolution that is in the best interest of both the individual taxpayer and the government;
  • Provide the taxpayer a fresh start toward future voluntary compliance with all filing and payment requirements; and
  • Secure collection of revenue that may not be collected through any other means.


  1. Offers will be accepted: The Service will accept an offer in compromise when it is unlikely that the tax liability can be collected in full and the amount offered reasonably reflects collection potential. An offer in compromise is a legitimate alternative to declaring a case currently not collectible or to a protracted installment agreement. The goal is to achieve collection of what is potentially collectible at the earliest possible time and at the least cost to the Government.
  2. In cases where an offer in compromise appears to be a viable solution to a tax delinquency, the Service employee assigned the case will discuss the compromise alternative with the taxpayer and, when necessary, assist in preparing the required forms. The taxpayer will be responsible for initiating the first specific proposal for compromise.
  3. The success of the compromise program will be assured only if taxpayers make adequate compromise proposals consistent with their ability to pay and the Service makes prompt and reasonable decisions. Taxpayers are expected to provide reasonable documentation to verify their ability to pay. The ultimate goal is a compromise which is in the best interest of both the taxpayer and the Service. Acceptance of an adequate offer will also result in creating for the taxpayer an expectation of and a fresh start toward compliance with all future filing and payment requirements.