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Advice: Choosing the Right IRS Fresh Start Program


Taxes can be a serious burden on many people. Just because you made enough money during the year to owe the government taxes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in any position to pay when the time comes. That can lead to some serious tax problems, including fines, interest, liens and much more. However, the outlook doesn’t have to be completely bleak. You’ll find a variety of options available from a tax problem solver, but the IRS Fresh Start program might be the best solution out there. Is it right for you?

What Is the IRS Fresh Start Program?

The IRS Fresh Start program is essentially a modification of the government’s Offer in Compromise (OIC) solution that allows individuals and small businesses to make an offer on their tax debt and sometimes settle for less than what is owed. The OIC solution was notoriously rigid, and didn’t offer the best path for everyone, so the IRS created the Fresh Start program and added it to their menu of solutions for those dealing with tax problems.

Essentially, this program allows those who owe back taxes or who have tax liens against them to find a solution that works for their financial situation, while still satisfying their debt. The program was rolled out to help encourage those who owed back taxes to the government, to come forward and take advantage of flexible installment agreement plans, as well as more relaxed guidelines for the Offer in Compromise solution. Installment plans allow you to make payments on your debt (but you will incur additional penalties and interest throughout the payment period). The streamlined OIC program offers payment flexibility as well as fewer requests for information and more flexibility in the asset equity determination.

The IRS Fresh Start program also offers those with tax problems access to a penalty relief option, though eligibility is limited to those who owe less than $50,000 in back taxes for 2011 with an adjusted income of less than $100,000 (for single filers).

However, if you’re suffering with tax problems, you should understand that the Fresh Start program won’t be around forever. In addition, while guidelines have been relaxed, they’re still complex and challenging. That means going it alone here is not really a good option. Any individual or business with tax problems, tax liens or other tax debt situations should hire a qualified expert to help them negotiate these murky waters.

For more information and to talk to a Tax Problem Solver please contact us.

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