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An Unsure Thing

Can't pay your federal tax bill? Don't count on the IRS offer-in-compromise program to help.

By Joan Szabo

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you have a huge federal tax bill you can't pay? If youwere thinking of applying for the IRS offer-in-compromise (OIC)program to settle your debt, you may have to rethink your plans.The program, which lets taxpayers settle their tax bill for lessthan the full amount owed, needs to be overhauled, says the IRSOversight Board. The criticism is due to the IRS not resolving suchcases as quickly as taxpayers want, says PricewaterhouseCoopers taxpartner Marty Janowiecki. "There's a backlog of cases,with insufficient IRS personnel to quickly settle them," hesays.

Even so, the IRS says it's taking steps to improve theprogram, which was never intended to be a solution for alltaxpayers who owe money on a tax account. "The IRS is strivingto establish a balance between providing quality and timelyassistance to taxpayers whose situations warrant submission of anOIC, while administering the other collection programs," saysCheryl Sherwood, director of payment compliance for the IRS.

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