"Can you Pay Off what you owe the IRS before the Debt expires?" A Two Part Question.
One: When does your Debt Expire?
If you owe the IRS for 2013, for example, and just filed the tax return on October 15, 2014, well your tax debt is going to expire in 10 years or 120 months. It doesn't matter if you owe for older years. The most recent tax year is the important one. If you owed for 2011, filed it on time in 2012 and that is the most recent year owe, then your debt will expire in Oct. 2022 for example or in eight years.
Two: Can you Pay it Back before it Expires?
If you owe $50,000 for tax year 2013, can you pay it back in 10 years? If you can, well you probably don't qualify for an OIC. If you can't, however, then you just might be a candidate. Divide $50,000 by 120 months or ten years and you will need to pay $417 a month to pay it back. If your disposable income is less than that - say $300 - well you just might be a candidate!
If you can't pay the IRS back in time, well - you multiply the $300 by 12 months and "potentially" you can settle your IRS debt of $50,000 for $3600.00. (Many factors also go into this like 1. what your assets are 2. whether your monthly expenditures are "allowable" or not). But generally speaking it's this simple.