Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 2010, A/N Group, Inc.
The IRS has announced several additional steps it is taking this tax season to help people having difficulties meeting their tax obligations because of unemployment or other financial problems.
The steps––an expansion of efforts that began more than a year ago––include additional flexibility on offers in compromise for struggling taxpayers, a series of Saturday “open houses” offering taxpayers extra opportunities to work out tax problems face to face with the IRS, special outreach with partner groups to unemployed taxpayers and the availability of more information on a special section of the IRS Web site.
New Flexibility for Offers in Compromise
For some taxpayers, an offer in compromise––an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed––continues to be a viable option. IRS employees will now have additional flexibility when considering offers in compromise from taxpayers facing economic troubles, including the recently unemployed.
Specifically, IRS employees will be permitted to consider a taxpayer’s current income and potential for future income when negotiating an offer in compromise. Normally, the standard practice is to judge an offer amount on a taxpayer’s earnings in prior years. This new step provides greater flexibility when considering offers in compromise from the unemployed. The IRS may also require that a taxpayer entering into such an offer in compromise agree to pay more if the taxpayer’s financial situation improves significantly.
These immediate steps are part of an on-going effort by the IRS to ensure the availability of the Offer in Compromise program for taxpayers.
Hundreds of Saturday Open Houses to Resolve Taxpayer Issues
In addition, IRS will hold hundreds of special Saturday open houses to give struggling taxpayers more opportunity to work directly with IRS employees to resolve issues. The offices will be open on March 27 and three additional Saturdays in the spring and early summer. Dates, times and locations will be announced shortly.
During the expanded Saturday hours, taxpayers will be able to address economic hardship issues they may be facing or get help claiming any of the special tax breaks in last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including the:
In addition to these special Saturdays, taxpayers can take advantage of toll-free telephone assistance and regularly scheduled hours at local Taxpayer Assistance Centers. Taxpayers can find the location, telephone number and business hours of the nearest assistance center by visiting the Contact My Local Office page on IRS.gov.
Special Outreach Efforts to Unemployed
The IRS is working and coordinating with state departments of revenue and state workforce agencies to help taxpayers who are having problems meeting their tax liabilities because of unemployment or other financial problems.
These coordinated efforts may include opportunities for taxpayers to make payment arrangements and resolve both federal and state tax issues in one place.
Special Section of IRS.gov Created
Taxpayers who are unemployed or struggling financially can find information on a new page on the IRS Web site, IRS.gov. This online tax center has numerous resources including links to information on tax assistance and relief to help struggling taxpayers
Other Options Available for Taxpayers
The IRS will continue to offer other help to taxpayers, including:
In addition, the IRS will accelerate lien relief for homeowners if a taxpayer cannot refinance or sell a home because of a tax lien. As previously announced, a taxpayer seeking to refinance or sell a home may request the IRS make a tax lien secondary to the lien by the lending institution that is refinancing or restructuring a loan. The taxpayer may also request the IRS discharge its claim if the home is being sold for less than the amount of the mortgage lien under certain circumstances.
Copyright 2010 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject. Copyright is not claimed on material from U.S. Government sources.--ISSN 1089-1536
--Last Update 03/09/10