Con Artists Target People Who Owe The IRS Money

In one scheme, thieves will offer to "help" you pay back taxes, only to leave you on the hook for expensive fees in addition to the taxes.

Man in a suit with a ski mask and glasses on
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With tax season under way, the IRS is once again warning taxpayers to be wary of “Offer in Compromise” scams. These promotions claim that they can help taxpayers pay back taxes for just “pennies on the dollar.” Victims often end up paying the promoters thousands of dollars in fees and still end up owing money to the IRS.

While the IRS’s Offer in Compromise program allows taxpayers to request a reduction in unpaid taxes, the guidelines are strict, and only a small percentage of applications are approved. To be eligible for the program, you must be up to date on your tax returns and have received at least one bill from the IRS. You’ll be required to provide supporting documents, including a breakdown of your expenses. The IRS will then review your income and the assets you own, such as equity in your home, to determine whether you’re eligible to have some of your tax debts forgiven. If it determines that you can afford to repay your taxes in full through an installment program, it will likely reject your offer.

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Rivan V. Stinson
Ex-staff writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Rivan joined Kiplinger on Leap Day 2016 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. A Michigan native, she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 and from there freelanced as a local copy editor and proofreader, and served as a research assistant to a local Detroit journalist. Her work has been featured in the Ann Arbor Observer and Sage Business Researcher. She is currently assistant editor, personal finance at The Washington Post.