The staggering nature of IRS penalties, combined with accruing interest can turn a relatively small tax problem into a large one if left ignored or unresolved for just a couple of years. When a tax problem grows to the point that it becomes unlikely a taxpayer will ever be able to pay off the debt, an Offer in Compromise is a possibility.
Additionally, large tax liabilities are frequently caused by unpaid withholding taxes. Owners and other responsible parties within a business are personally assessed the unpaid trust portion, or taxes actually deducted from the employees. This is called the TFRP or 100 percent penalty assessment.
Other common reasons for filing an Offer in Compromise include extensive audits, not filing for a number of years, or tax shelter investments that are disallowed.