The Internal Revenue Service warned consumers against bogus claims by promoters that tax debts can be settled for "pennies on the dollar" through the Offer in Compromise Program.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson warned taxpayers to watch out for "unscrupulous promoters charging excessive fees to taxpayers who have no chance of meeting the program's requirements."

The IRS recently redesigned the offer in compromise application package, IRS Form 656, with new instructions, worksheet and checklist to make it easier for taxpayers to determine if they are eligible for the program. The revision also contains a new paid preparer signature block.

The package now includes Form 656-A, Income Certification for OIC Application Fee, and a worksheet to help taxpayers determine whether they meet the income exception to the $150 fee. The redesign also features a checklist to help taxpayers determine if they are eligible to file an OIC; a step-by-step guide through the OIC process; a third-party designee section that allows a person other than the taxpayer to discuss any additional information that the IRS needs to process the offer; and a summary checklist. The Form 656 package is available on the IRS Web site at

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