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When a taxpayer requests an installment agreement for larger tax liabilities or proposes an offer in compromise, the IRS applies allowable expense standards. Total allowable expenses include those expenses that meet the necessary expense test. The necessary expense test is defined as expenses that are necessary to provide for a taxpayer’s and his or her family’s health and welfare and/or production of income. The expenses must be reasonable. The total necessary expenses establish the minimum a taxpayer and family needs to live and serve as the basis for granting installment agreements and offers in compromise.
The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 requires the Secretary to grant an installment agreement, at the taxpayer’s option, if:
• the liability is $10,000, or less (excluding penalties and interest);
• within the previous 5 years, the taxpayer has not failed to file or to pay, nor entered an installment agreement under this provision; [Act § 3467; IRC § 6159)