JK Harris President Enthusiastic About Future of Offer in Compromise Program

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JK Harris President and Founder applauds the joint effort put forth by the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the IRS in regards to Offer in Compromise program.

JK Harris and Company President and Founder John Harris is encouraged by the cooperative effort of both the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service to improve the Offer in Compromise program.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson recently delivered her Mid-year Report to Congress, which had a major focus on improving the Offer in Compromise process. The OIC program was designed to help financially struggling taxpayers reduce their IRS debt to an amount they can actually afford. And Olson wants to see the process become more accessible to those who can truly benefit from it.

"Financial hardship is something that is facing many taxpayers," said Harris, founder of the nation's largest tax representation firm. "And the fact of the matter is, the OIC process can be a long and challenging process."

For the last nine years Olsen has expressed her concern regarding the IRS' OIC program. She believes the decline in the number of Offers accepted each year is due to the type and amount of documentation required by the IRS, as well as the actual forms and application requirements. Olsen would like to see simplified applications and more user-friendly forms.

The IRS has taken these concerns into consideration and recently formed an OIC Project Team, which includes TAS representatives. Part of the project has included the IRS hiring two outside sources to examine the characteristics of applicants who submit acceptable Offers and to increase the number of qualifying applicants within the current process.

Other recommendations set forth by Olsen include:

  • Providing greater opportunities for meaningful communication between taxpayers and the IRS.
  • Streamlining the investigation process, which means making some changes to the type and amount of basic information required by the IRS, and giving taxpayers a reasonable amount of time to gather and submit the requested information.
  • Assessing the limited number of staff members who make the decisions regarding OICs.

"This could revolutionize the Offer in Compromise program," Harris said. "If these recommendations are implemented, it would mean an increase in the number of qualifying taxpayers who submit Offers and get those Offers accepted. I commend, Ms. Olsen again, for making outstanding recommendations in her report, and hopefully, we can look forward to the implementation of these recommendations."

For more information about the Taxpayer Advocate Service, visit http://www.irs.gov/advocate. For a copy of the NTA's Report to Congress, visit http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/fy2010_objectivesreport.pdf.

About JK Harris:
JK Harris & Company, LLC, (http://www.jkharris.com) based in North Charleston, S.C., is the nation's largest tax representation firm and has served over 250,000 customers since its founding in 1997 by John K. Harris. JK Harris consultants are available to meet with consumers in over 325 locations nationwide by appointment only. The company also provides services for student loan debt, fee-based financial planning, tax return preparation, and audit representation.

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