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.
Over the past several years as taxpayers have endured the Great Recession the IRS has escalated the number of federal tax liens filed against delinquent taxpayers. The IRS aggressive use of liens has been criticized by the National Taxpayer Advocate in her annual report to congress and the IRS Advisory Council in its annual report to the Commissioner. IRS recently announced a new, more flexible attitude in policies and programs to help taxpayers pay back taxes and avoid tax liens.
1-24-12 Robert E. McKenzie quoted in USA Today on Newt Gingrich tax avoidance