What Are the Different Types of Offers in Compromise?

So there's three main types of offers in compromise at the federal level. There's doubt as to collectability, there's doubt as to liability and there's effective tax administration. So let's start with doubt as to collectability. It is the traditional offer or compromise that you may have heard of to settle your tax liability for pennies on the dollar and much like the name suggests, the reason that you're submitting an offer of compromise is the doubt that the government will ever be able to collect that liability over the next X amount of years. So from a government's perspective, the government has a lot of people that owe money. It's not interested in going after a lost cause, so the government would rather cut its losses, settle the account, get you in compliance and move forward. So that's essentially what the ask is and a doubt as to collectability offer in compromise. In a doubt as to liability offer in compromise you're debating whether or not you actually owe the liability and you're making a settlement offer to the government based on the fact that you don't owe this liability and the risk to the government if they don't take your doubt as to liability is that they won't collect anything or will collect less than

the offer. An effective tax administration offer in compromise is asking the government to forgive a tax liability for a reason that doesn't fall within doubt as to liability but it is generally a good idea. So effective tax administration's offers and compromises are generally reserved for old people and generally reserved for sick people. For those with any sort of disability, because from a public policy perspective, yes an elderly person might have sufficient assets to pay the liability but taking away grandma's retirement fund and leaving her with nothing while she spends the rest of her days is not the best thing from a public policy standpoint. So when you get into those situations they're obviously much more difficult. They're very fact-specific and they're very fluid. So offers in compromises, all of them, are more often than not less successful and the reason for that is a lot of people don't know what they're doing when they go through the offer in compromise process. So it's very formulaic, it's very rigid and you need an expert to kind of navigate through that process. If you're going to do an offer in compromise and you're going to make a good-faith effort because of the higher amount of rejection no matter what offer in compromise you pick, I'd encourage you to consult with an attorney or a knowledgeable professional to help navigate through the process.


Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law