Washington, D.C. -- The Internal Revenue Service is offering more flexible terms in its Offer in Compromise program to help financially distressed taxpayers clear up their tax problems more quickly. Under certain circumstances, taxpayers will be able to repay their student loans and pay their delinquent state and local taxes under the latest phase of the IRS's Fresh Start initiative. The changes mainly focus on the financial analysis used to determine which taxpayers qualify for an OIC. The IRS said last month that other changes in the program include revising the calculation of the taxpayer's future income and expanding the allowable living expense allowance category and amount.

The Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet, and Form 656, Offer in Compromise, have been revised accordingly.



Two new surveys indicate that compliance professionals and bankers expect serious troubles in handling the demands of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a part of the HIRE Act of 2010 that requires foreign financial institutions to report on the holdings of U.S. citizens and entities to the Internal Revenue Service or face stiff penalties.

A survey by Thomson Reuters of nearly 200 compliance, risk, audit and legal practitioners found that more than half were unsure of the impact that FATCA would have on their firm. Forty-three percent are still unsure of their strategic approach for FATCA. Over a third of the survey respondents stated that FATCA had only been discussed once or never at all at the board level.

In a separate survey by KPMG, 40 percent of 150 respondents with U.S.-based banks, and 44 percent of 100 respondents with foreign banks, said that getting their organizations ready for FATCA has been very challenging. In addition, 28 percent of the survey respondents with U.S.-based banks and 36 percent of the respondents with foreign banks did not believe that the majority of banks affected would be ready in time to comply.

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