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The concept of an Offer in Compromise (OIC) has existed for more than a century. In the past, Offers were rarely made because the procedures and rules surrounding Offers were ambiguous, confusing and not well-known by taxpayers or practitioners.
It was not until the 1990s that the IRS undertook efforts to liberalize and bolster the Offer process. Despite these efforts, the standards a taxpayer had to meet in order to have their Offer accepted remained stringent and nearly impossible for taxpayers to meet.
A method for obtaining Tax Court review of a denial of an OIC was not available until the enactment of Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 1998). RRA 1998 provided a taxpayer the opportunity to request a Collection Due Process (CDP) Hearing with an IRS Appeals Officer in order to consider collection alternatives and/or dispute a tax liability.