Fresh Start: Offers in Compromise, Lien & Levy Relief

What is the IRS "Fresh Start" program?

 "IRS Fresh Start" refers broadly to the various tax compromise, negotiation, and payment plan options available to some taxpayers, if they can prove they qualify.  An offer in compromise (Form 656 PDF) is what many understand to be the best way to compromise or negotiate with the IRS based on an inability to fully pat the tax. Other options included under this umbrella may be Innocent Spouse Relief, IRS installment plans and IRS payment plans.

Offers in Compromise (Form 656), which are part of the IRS "Fresh Start" program, are an area of particular focus for tax attorney Daniel W. Layton. If you are considering an Offer in Compromise as a pathway to your "fresh start," you may be surprised at how expensive some of the heavily advertised "tax relief" companies cost in the long run.  These companies sometimes require a large up-front and non-refundable fee and, once that fee is in their hands, subject their clients to high staff turnover and give their clients very little personal attention.  As a result, they can sometimes be more expensive and less effective than if you hired a reputable and experienced attorney.  When you need to get out from under the weight of crushing tax debt, you need the job done right the first time, you need personal attention, and you need an experienced local tax attorney who cares about you and your family.

Mr. Layton has effectively submitted Offer in Compromise requests and successfully defended those requests before the IRS, in some cases* getting the IRS to relieve them more than a million dollars of taxes, interest, and penalties.  Offers in Compromise is more than simply submitting a financial statement.  The IRS performs a detailed and thorough investigation of your income, expenses and assets.  If an inexperienced CPA or lawyer fails to correctly identify and characterize your financial items, and fails to advocate zealously for the most favorable treatment of your particular circumstances, it can cost you thousands of dollars or dash your hopes of negotiating tax relief entirely.

While your Offer in Compromise or other Fresh Start relief is under consideration by the IRS, the IRS will cease levies and garnishments.  If the tax is successfully negotiated down and the lower tax balance is paid, IRS tax liens can be released.  In some circumstances, IRS liens can be avoided or released while taxpayers are in a payment plan.  If you have received a Notice of Filing of Federal Tax Lien or a Notice of Intent to Levy or Seize Property, you have limited time to protect your rights by filing a request for a Collection Due Process hearing or to pursue Fresh Start options before the IRS pursues aggressive collection action. However, it should be understood that the IRS's time to collect is generally extended during the time any of the programs discussed here are pending (see our article here).

If you are considering an Offer in Compromise or other "Fresh Start" options, such as innocent spouse relief, you may contact tax attorney Daniel W. Layton, Esq., at (949) 301-9829 to schedule a consultation.

*Not all individuals qualify for "fresh start" relief options discussed here.  Daniel W. Layton, Esq., evaluates each case and can provide advice, based upon his experience and knowledge and based upon information provided to him, as to whether it may be worthwhile to pursue an Offer in Compromise or other fresh start relief.  However, each case has its own unique facts and circumstances (which can change while a request for relief is pending) and past success neither implies nor promises future success in your particular case.

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