If you owe the irs more than you can possibly pay (due to a business property and re-financing too much before it was sold) , besides being totally screwed, can you negotiate with them yourself or are some of those companies actually worthwhile? Has anyone actually negotiated with the irs or had any amount of tax "forgiven?"
Hopefully this isn't heading me toward the "is prision rape real" thread .
Try giving these guys a call to see if they can help (it's from the irs website):
National Taxpayer Advocate’s Help Line
For taxpayers whose tax problems have not been resolved through normal channels. Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) provides an independent system to assure that tax problems are promptly and fairly handled. TAS operates independently of any other IRS office and reports directly to Congress through the National Taxpayer Advocate.
eta: my wife has an accounting degree and says they have a good reputation.