Filing for an Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a lengthy and complicated process—there are sundry forms to be filled out, a whole host of details to be furnished, and many documents to be submitted. Considering the IRS is known to reject the overwhelming majority of OIC claims, it’s only natural to want the most experienced professionals to help prepare your claim — that’s where we come in.
How do you choose the tax professional who can do the best job of handling your Offer in Compromise? Here are some tips:
1. Choose a tax expert qualified to prepare your OIC claims.
An expert must hold a valid and updated preparer tax identification number (PTIN) to be able to prepare your OIC claims.
That said, if you want the accountant to also represent you before the IRS, then they must also be an attorney, a CPA, or an enrolled agent. Many CPA firms have professionals who specialize in offer in compromises, ensure they have someone with experience in dealing with revenue officers, the appeals and Automated Collection Systems divisions.
2. Check their license.
Ask to see their license. Anyone at our firm can provide you with their credentials, but if you’re seeking outside assistance, then make sure they have their license. They should also be continuously updating themselves on IRS collection matters (as that’s the primary criterion for holding the license).
You should always hire the services of such an individual who is bound to keep abreast of the latest taxation rules and amendments.
3. Carry out a background check of the expert.
You are entitled to carry out a background screening of your CPA. When they are charging you for a service and you are divulging your confidential, financial statements.
Check with your local Business Bureau’s office about the credentials of a tax professional. You can also enquire with your state’s accountancy board for certified public accountants, the IRS Return Preparer Office, and your state’s bar association of attorneys if any disciplinary action had been undertaken against them.
4. Do not go by low fees.
Filing for an Offer in Compromise is no short of a Herculean feat. Any accountant who claims to do it for a low fee is nigh guaranteed to cut corners.
More often than not, these type of people will prepare the OIC forms for you, but not the supporting documents and they won’t be your advocate, negotiating on your behalf with the IRS. It does cost money, but if you want results, you’re better off with someone with a reliable track record.
5. Plan B Prepared.
Empirical evidence shows that the IRS only approves about 15% of all OIC claims—they sit on the merits of each and every case and probe into the unique financial condition of every claimant minutely.
With that in mind, an OIC expert can only do so much to improve your chances of the claim being approved. An experienced accountant will undoubtedly have an alternate course of action in case of an IRS rejection so that you can still resolve your tax dues.
Filing an OIC claim and having the IRS come to a decision about your claim can take any time between a year and two years. So, it is imperative that you choose a reputable accountant who is not only experienced but has the track record to back themselves up.