6 Common Offer in Compromise Mistakes to Avoid


offer in compromise mistakes

While the IRS expects you to pay what you owe the federal government each year, it understands you may not have the means to do so. Rather than default on your tax obligation, you could settle your account reasonably by making an Offer in Compromise. You can ensure that the IRS accepts your proposal by avoiding these six common OIC mistakes.

Failure to Disclose Finances

When you make submit an OIC, you will be expected to disclose to the IRS every last detail about your finances. You must tell how much you earn, how much you have in savings and investments, and what kind of assets you own.


To verify your financial details, the IRS has the option of requesting or securing copies of your:

  • income earning statements
  • bank records
  • financial statements regarding annuities, dividends, and investments
  • DMV records

With this in mind, you will benefit by being entirely honest and forthcoming with your financial details to avoid having your OIC denied.


The IRS will also scrutinize your spending habits to ensure that they match up with the money you have at your disposal. If it notices you spending huge amounts of cash on vacations, buying consumer goods like electronics, or big ticket items like cars, it may ask you to resubmit information about your income and assets

It may suspect that you have more money than what you originally disclosed with your OIC application and may have more cash to put toward settling your IRS debt. It also may deny your OIC because of your overspending.

Mathematical Errors

Simple mathematical errors can lead to an OIC being denied by the IRS. Whether you fill out the Form 433, which is required for the OIC proposal, or you allow a CPA or an EA to fill out the form on your behalf, it is crucial that you check it for math mistakes.

Simple miscalculations like not adding up basic figures correctly are simple mistakes that can doom your OIC. Before you submit the Form 433 to the IRS, you should go over the numbers again and make sure that they are correct to prevent it from being denied.

Blank Spaces

When the IRS receives a Form 433 for an OIC that is not fully filled out, it has no choice but to deny it. Spaces that are left blank without explanation can cause the IRS to wonder if your or your CPA or EA is hiding information or simply does not understand what kind of information is required from you.

You can clear up any questions about filling out the form and avoid leaving spaces blank by referring to the IRS website. You can also submit a fully filled out Form 433 by hiring a tax professional who is experienced in submitting and overseeing OICs for past due taxes.


As your OIC is being considered, you are required to continue submitting your tax returns on time. If you fail to file taxes by the April 15 deadline, you put your OIC in jeopardy of being turned down.

You may think it best to hold of filing because you cannot afford to pay the taxes that you owe that year. However, to avoid the OIC being denied, you should file your taxes even if you cannot pay what you owe. The new tax debt could be included with the OIC in some circumstances if you file your returns on time as required.

Ignoring the Statute of Limitations

The IRS has 10 years to collect on tax debts that taxpayers owe to the government. However, that timeline can be disrupted if you take certain actions of your own like:

  • filing for bankruptcy
  • filing an OIC
  • requesting an installment agreement
  • defaulting on an installment agreement

Before you submit a new OIC, you should verify whether or not the tax debt is still active or if it is past its statute of limitations. If you are unsure of how to accomplish this, you can hire a tax professional who can then obtain copies of your tax records. Based on the current information, your tax pro may then be able to complete and submit an OIC on your behalf.

An Offer in Compromise can be your best option for resolving a past due tax debt. However, the IRS requires you to comply fully with filling out the forms and making the official request. By avoiding these six common mistakes, you better your chances of having your OIC approved the first time you submit it. 

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