Forbes: IRS Collection Standards Should Be Revised

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.

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New Bankruptcy Law

The new bankruptcy reform was signed into law by the president in April, 2005. It willbecome effective on October 17, 2005. . Generally families earning more than the state median, about $45,000 in Illinois, will be will face huge roadblocks to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on consumer debts and only be allowed to file Chapter 13. Prior to seeking the protection of bankruptcy debtors will be required to pay for debt counseling as a first step. The following is brief summary of the major tax related provisions of the act.

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Offers in Compromise

In 2011 the IRS issued a new offer in compromise form. Taxpayers proposing compromises based upon doubt as to collectibility of effective tax administration must submit revised Form 656. Taxpayers proposing an offer based upon doubt as to liability must now submit Form 656-L and a narrative setting forth defenses to the liability. To comply with the new downpayment requirements taxpayers must submit Form 656-PPV with the required downpayment.

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Installment Agreement and Other Options

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)

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