Offer in compromise

An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. It may be a legitimate option if you can't pay your full tax liability or doing so creates a financial hardship. We consider your unique set of facts and circumstances:

  • Ability to pay
  • Income
  • Expenses
  • Asset equity

We generally approve an offer in compromise when the amount you offer represents the most we can expect to collect within a reasonable period of time. Explore all other payment options before you submit an offer in compromise. The Offer in Compromise Program is not for everyone. Be sure to check the qualifications of any tax professional you hire to help you file an offer.

Who is eligible

Confirm you're eligible and prepare a preliminary proposal with the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier Tool.

You're eligible to apply for an offer in compromise if you:

  • Filed all required tax returns and made all required estimated payments.
  • Aren't in an open bankruptcy proceeding.
  • Have a valid extension for a current year return (if applying for the current year).
  • Are an employer and made tax deposits for the current and past 2 quarters before you apply.

If you apply and are not eligible

If you apply for an offer in compromise and we can’t process your offer, we'll:

  • Return your application and offer application fee.
  • Apply any offer payment you included to your balance due.

Submit your application

Find forms to submit an application and step-by-step instructions in Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet PDF.

Complete an application package:

  • Form 433-A (OIC) (individuals) or 433-B (OIC) (businesses) and all required documentation as specified on the forms.
  • Form 656(s) – you must submit individual and business tax debt (Corporation/ LLC/ Partnership) on separate Forms 656.
  • $205 application fee (non-refundable).
  • Initial payment (non-refundable) for each Form 656.

Mail the above to the applicable site listed on Form 656-B. You must submit your application package to one of the two designated sites.

Select a payment option

Your initial payment varies based on your offer and the payment option you choose:

  • Lump sum: Submit an initial payment of 20% of the total offer amount with your application. If we accept your offer, you'll receive written confirmation. You must pay any remaining balance due on the offer in five or fewer payments.
  • Periodic payment: Submit your initial payment with your application. Continue to pay the remaining balance in monthly installments while the IRS considers your offer. If IRS accepts your offer, continue to pay monthly until it is paid in full.

If you meet the low income certification guidelines

You don't have to:

  • Send the application fee or the initial payment.
  • Make monthly installments while we review your offer.

For details, see Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet PDF.

Understand the process

If we cannot process your offer, we will notify you in writing. If we can process your offer, we will send you a letter with the estimated date of contact. The letter might also request that you send additional information. While IRS evaluates your offer:

  • Your non-refundable payments and fees are applied to the tax liability. (You may designate payments to a specific tax year and tax debt.)
  • IRS may file a notice of federal tax lien.
  • IRS suspends other collection activities.
  • Your legal assessment and collection period is extended.
  • You make all required payments per your offer.
  • You don't have to make payments on an existing installment agreement.
  • Your offer is automatically accepted if the IRS doesn’t make a determination within two years of the IRS receipt date. (This does not include any appeal period.)

If your offer is accepted

  • You must meet all the offer terms listed in Section 7 of Form 656, including filing all required tax returns and making all payments.
  • IRS doesn't release federal tax liens until your offer terms are satisfied.
  • Certain offer information is available for public review by requesting a copy of a public inspection file.

If your offer is rejected

Find all you need

To consider and make an offer in Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet PDF.

Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process

Explains the actions IRS may take to recover taxes owed. Download Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process PDF.


Looking to settle for less with the IRS?