Can I Settle A Tax Debt For Less Than What I Owe?

Many people are in trouble with the IRS due to financial hardship, lack of understanding of tax laws, or errors in reporting. Fortunately, debt settlement is sometimes possible when dealing with tax liabilities. Penalty relief and forgiveness programs developed by the IRS to help struggling taxpayers can provide relief by reducing the overall debt amount. Exploring these Louisiana tax resolution options can help you to resolve your tax issues.


While taxpayers are generally expected to pay their full tax obligations, there are certain circumstances under which they may be eligible to pay less than they owe. The Offer in Compromise, Innocent Spouse Relief, and penalty relief provide potential avenues for reducing the overall tax debt. It’s important to note that these relief options are not automatic or applicable to all taxpayers.

They are available in specific situations such as financial hardship, unfair liability, or reasonable cause for noncompliance. Each option has specific eligibility criteria and requires a thorough evaluation of individual circumstances. Guidance from tax professionals and the IRS can provide clarity on eligibility and the best course of action.

The Offer in Compromise

The Offer in Compromise is a program that allows people to settle their tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. It provides a potential lifeline to individuals or businesses facing financial hardship or an inability to pay their tax debt in full. The OIC process involves submitting a detailed proposal to the IRS, demonstrating your difficult financial situation, and offering a reasonable amount to settle your tax debt.

The IRS evaluates various factors to determine your eligibility and the appropriate settlement amount. If accepted, the OIC can provide significant relief by reducing your tax debt and potentially eliminating penalties and interest. It offers a fresh start and an opportunity to regain control of your finances. However, the OIC process is complex and requires careful preparation, as the IRS conducts a thorough review and may request additional information.

Currently Not Collectible Status

Currently Not Collectible status is a temporary relief option for taxpayers who are unable to pay their tax debts due to financial hardship. It acknowledges that the person’s current financial situation prevents them from meeting their tax obligations. When you’re granted CNC status, the IRS temporarily suspends collection activities, such as wage garnishment or bank levies. This provides you with immediate relief from collection efforts.

However, it’s important to note that CNC status is not a permanent resolution or forgiveness of the tax debt. The IRS periodically reviews your financial situation to determine if your circumstances have improved. If you are no longer in financial difficulties, the IRS may resume collection activities. It’s crucial to be aware that the CNC status is subject to change based on your financial circumstances.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Innocent Spouse Relief can eliminate tax debt for individuals who are unfairly burdened with the tax liabilities of their spouse or former spouse. This relief option recognizes that certain taxpayers should not be held responsible for their spouse’s tax obligations. To qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, specific conditions must be met, including demonstrating that you had no knowledge or reason to know about the erroneous tax reporting by your spouse.

Additionally, proving that it would be unfair or inequitable to hold you liable for the tax debt is essential. Innocent Spouse Relief is considered one of the best debt settlement options for eligible individuals because it provides complete relief from the tax debt, freeing people from financial liability. It offers a fair and just resolution that ensures that innocent taxpayers are not penalized for their spouse’s actions or mistakes.

Getting Your Penalties Removed

Penalty relief is a valuable option that allows individuals to have certain penalties removed from their tax accounts. It is designed to alleviate the burden of excessive penalties. To be eligible, taxpayers must either be in trouble with the IRS for the first time or demonstrate reasonable cause for the failure to comply with tax obligations. This can include circumstances such as natural disasters, serious illness, or other events beyond their control.

It’s important to provide supporting documentation and a detailed explanation of the circumstances that led to the noncompliance. Penalty abatement is an important Louisiana tax resolution strategy and a great place to start because the financial penalties imposed by the IRS can be substantial. By obtaining penalty relief, taxpayers can focus on resolving their tax liabilities without the added burden of excessive penalties.


To qualify for options like Offer in Compromise, the IRS assesses various factors. They evaluate your ability to pay, taking into account income, expenses, and asset equity. The IRS also considers your current financial situation, including your earning potential, to determine if paying the full tax debt would cause undue hardship.

Additionally, meeting certain requirements is crucial, such as filing all required tax returns, making estimated payments, not being in an open bankruptcy proceeding, and having valid extensions for current-year returns. For employers, making tax deposits for the current and past two quarters before applying is also important. These factors help the IRS gauge the taxpayer’s genuine need for reduced payments.

What If I Don’t Qualify?

If you don’t qualify for the above-mentioned forgiveness options, there are still alternatives available to help manage your tax debt. One viable option is the Installment Agreement. This allows you to make monthly payments over time, based on your ability to pay. The IRS sets up a structured payment plan that considers your financial situation and the total amount owed. By adhering to the agreed-upon payment schedule, you can gradually pay off your debt.

Another alternative is to consider obtaining a low-interest loan to pay off the tax debt in full. This minimizes the impact of penalties and interest accrued by the IRS. Exploring these alternatives and discussing them with tax professionals can provide insights into the most suitable course of action based on your specific financial circumstances. Remember, taking proactive steps to address your tax debt alleviates financial stress and leads to eventual resolution.


When dealing with tax issues, it is crucial to consult with a qualified tax resolution expert. There are several reasons why seeking assistance is essential. Firstly, tax laws and regulations can be complex, and a specialist can provide expert guidance to navigate through the intricacies of the system. They possess in-depth knowledge of tax laws and can interpret their application to your specific situation.

They can also protect your rights and interests, acting as your advocate when communicating with the IRS. They can handle negotiations and ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the process. Moreover, an expert can provide strategic advice and develop a customized approach tailored to your unique circumstances. They can explore available relief options and maximize the chances of a good outcome.

Debt settlement is sometimes possible through options like Offer in Compromise or Innocent Spouse Relief, reducing or even eliminating tax liabilities. A Louisiana tax resolution expert can offer invaluable guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of the tax system. Reach out to us at Geaux Tax Resolution now to find out more and book your first appointment. We look forward to helping you find the best forgiveness program for your situation.

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