Why do I need someone to represent me before the IRS? Can I contact the IRS myself?

Yes, you can contact the IRS yourself and the collections officer will treat you with respect. The IRS will try to resolve the balance with a payment plan that fits the guidelines of the IRS. However, We can talk the language, ask the right questions, make sure your rights as a taxpayer are respected, and approach the officers with the intent to resolve the issue with our client’s interest in mind. The IRS wants to collect the balance. We want to determine the correct balance that is due and then work out a plan to address the balance.

How does the representation process work?

When you decide you want us to take your case, you sign a Power of Attorney that allows us to talk to the IRS and obtain information about your account. For such information may include: income information, all filings of tax returns, any liens or levies that have been filed, any information that relevant in your case. With this financial information we can determine the years involved, what kind of tax is due, where in the collection process the account is, what caused the balance, and what strategy is to be implemented to resolve the issue. We consult with you and explain the plan that we recommend and with your approval we proceed with the process. You are kept updated as we work through the procedures. The resolution could come quickly or in complicated cases, it could take a few weeks or months.

The IRS has garnished my wages and it is going to be a mess. What can I do?

The IRS has the power to garnish wages, bank accounts, and other assets. They generally do not go through the garnishment or levy process without first notifying the taxpayer, and when they do it is not a pleasant experience. Immediately after we have been engaged to handle your case, getting the levy or garnishment released is the number one priority. These can be released, sometimes within 24 hours. Some levies might take a little longer, depending on the circumstances of the case.

I owe the IRS a lot of money. Will they take a settlement for less than I owe?

Maybe. The application to settle an amount for less than you owe is called “Offer in Compromise”. The IRS approves less than 10% of the applications for Offer in Compromise. We can analyze your case and offer an opinion whether you qualify for this program. If we feel there is a chance for approval, we carefully build the case with the best presentation of the evidence to show the IRS it would be in their best interest to approve the offer. The building of the case takes time. However, when the case is presented to the IRS, the package is as complete as possible with all supporting evidence. If the IRS approves the offer and you pay the amount of the offer as agreed, your account is adjusted and your tax liability to the IRS is brought to zero.

I have not filed a tax return for 10 years. What do I do?

We can investigate your status with the IRS and see which tax years need to be filed. We can prepare and file the past years returns. When the returns are filed, a total amount due will be determined. Then we can present to the IRS a plan to pay the balance due. If the tax returns show there is a refund due and not a tax due, and the refund is in the last three years, you will receive a refund check from the IRS.

I just received a notice that the IRS wants to audit a couple of my returns. What am I in for? Can you help?

We can provide audit support, and in some cases we may eliminate the need for you to have to go to the exams. The IRS will usually pick a schedule or area of a return to examine and they will request supporting documents relating to that particular area of return. You can be made to feel the IRS is trying to catch you in a lie. We methodically look at each request and determine what evidence will prove the amount on the return. These can be bank statements, original invoices, cancelled checks, credit card statements, vehicle logs, etc. At the completion of the exam, you will receive a final determination and upon receipt of this report, you have the choice to accept the results or appeal.

The IRS kept our refund from our jointly filed return and they said it was from an old tax debt my husband owed years ago. This is not fair. Can they do this?

Yes, they can. We can file an innocent spouse or injured spouse application and prove to the IRS that the refund was because of your current wages and you did not know about the old tax debt. The IRS will then issue you the refund from your wages and then deal with the old debt directly with your husband.

The IRS sent a notice that I owe extra tax. I thought I sent the correct proof to show I did not owe the tax. They rejected my argument and said I still owe and have given me 30 days to pay.
I feel I do not owe it. Do I give in?

No, do not roll over to the IRS. This case needs to go to the Appeals Office. The case needs to be taken out of the hands of the collection officer. We would build the case with the evidence provided and even look for additional evidence, whether the issue is a point in regulations or law or processing or administration. The case would be filed with Appeals, a hearing scheduled with an appeals officer, and the case is presented to this officer, without the influence of the previous collections officer’s reasoning. The appeals case has to be filed within the time line specified to maintain your rights as a taxpayer so the case can go Tax Court if necessary. The Appeals officer is more inclined to give a favorable ruling to the tax payer.

Our business did not make the payroll tax deposits for quite a while and I was contacted by a Revenue Officer. I am really nervous.

You should be. The IRS is very aggressive in collecting payroll taxes and in some cases the individuals responsible have been criminally charged, prosecuted, fined and sent to jail. In these type of cases, it is extremely important to engage and cooperate with the revenue officer with every request. A resolution to the case can be obtained when the exam is complete and all of the amounts of the tax due are verified.

I got a notice that the IRS has filed a tax lien. What does that mean?

The IRS will file a lien on an individual’s property to protect the interest of the government. These liens can be a problem if you are going to sell the property, for example, real estate. The tax lien puts the IRS in first position on the property and any proceeds from the sale of the property go to the IRS first. This can cause problems with mortgage or lien holders on the property when the mortgage holder is not going to receive enough proceeds to pay off the mortgage balance. This will usually stop any sales of any property. We can work with the IRS and develop a plan that will allow the property to be sold and satisfy the tax lien with the IRS.

I received an email from the IRS stating I owed a bunch of back taxes and to contact them immediately. What should I do?

Ignore it. It is a marketing effort from a private firm. The IRS does not communicate with taxpayers through email. They use the postal service and once in a while they will contact you by phone.

The IRS sent a notice stating they are going to seize my assets. Can they do that?

Yes, they can. It is very unlikely the IRS will seize assets like your house or car. In criminal cases where the IRS has filed tax evasion or fraud charges, the IRS could and does take possession of some assets to protect their interests. As long as the taxpayer is communicating and working with the IRS on a resolution for the tax debt, it is unlikely the IRS will make the move on any asset. As a representative of the taxpayer, we work to keep the option of asset seizure out of the process during the resolution process.

I have been receiving collection letters from the IRS for quite a few weeks and have been ignoring them. They seem to be empty threats. Do I need to worry?

Yes, you do. It is not wise to ignore any correspondence from the IRS. The collection process includes a number of different notices and when the process gets toward the end, the notice of intent to levy or seize assets starts the clock ticking and determines a deadline to answer and fix the problem. The deadline date is when the wages are garnished or wages levied or another collection activity is initiated. It is best to address the problem before the lien is filed or wages are garnished. It is easier to resolve the tax issue before the deadline than try to get a levy released and work through the problem. If the account has been referred to a Revenue Officer, it means the IRS thinks the problem is serious enough to be sent to a field office. These Revenue Officers are generally more aggressive, harder to work with, and it takes more time, effort, and documentation to resolve these cases.

Are all IRS problems hard to resolve?

No. The initial investigation is absolutely necessary to determine the real extent of the problem. Once the issue is identified, a plan can be developed to address the problem. It could be as simple as a letter with supporting documents or a phone call and it can be resolved within a couple of days or it could take weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the problem.

What kind of collection procedures am I to expect while we are working on the problem?

There should be no collection activities during the resolution process. Upon our first contact with the IRS, we will put a hold on any collection activities and as long as we are actively working on the problem, the IRS will suspend all collection actions.

My brother-in-law prepared last year’s return and I think he made some big mistakes. How can I fix them?

We would investigate the information the IRS has and compare this to the return. We would ask questions concerning the integrity of the return and where you have concerns. If it is in your best interest, we would recommend to amend the return before the IRS performs an audit or a full exam by a tax compliance officer.

How much does this service cost?

Depends. Each case is different and we will not charge you for services that are not needed. A “one fee fits all” does not work and is not fair to the client. After the investigation, we will able to give you a good faith estimate. Simple cases can be resolved for a few hundred dollars and cases with a large tax liability that has been referred to a revenue officer could cost as much as $8000 or more. The amount of the cost of the resolution is not very much when compared to the anxiety, frustration, and fear of dealing with the IRS.