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The IRS Won’t Stop Hounding Me – What Do I Do?

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Dealing with the IRS is frustrating at best, and debilitating at worst. The system is complicated, making it easy for taxpayers to mess up their returns and find themselves facing outrageous charges, penalties or other serious repercussions. One of those serious repercussions is having a Revenue Officer assigned to your case.

Revenue Officers are like coonhounds, relentless in their one purpose: to collect IRS back taxes. They’re extensively trained in this area, and use weapons such as liens, levies and seizures into cornering you for the catch.

At The Willis Firm, we believe in helping the underdog. In the case of taxpayer versus IRS, that is you. To level the playing field when a Revenue Officer has been assigned to your case, we offer Revenue Officer Assistance. When you’re not represented, the Revenue Officer assumes they’ve won the game; however, with us on your team, they’re in for a huge surprise.

If you’re tired of getting calls, letters and constant requests from the IRS to pay your taxes in full – if you can’t deal with the stress and embarrassment of having the Revenue Officer show up at your home or work anymore – or if you just want to put the whole ugly mess behind you once and for all, give us a call today at 877-254-4254 or visit http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#14 to see how we help people like you deal with the IRS bloodhounds that are Revenue Officers.


When An Offer in Compromise Is On the Table, Should You Take It?

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

When you owe money to the IRS, it’s important to keep in mind that they operate just like any other creditor—they are interested in one thing and one thing only: collecting what is owed to them. Because of this, they are always interested in working with you, even if it means compromising a bit. If you owe the IRS more money than you can earn in the next couple of years, an Offer in Compromise (OIC) isn’t out of the question…

While it’s always in your best interest to pay the IRS upfront what you can, we understand that this just isn’t possible for everyone. In today’s challenging economic environment, it’s hard to pay the bills, much less save money or pay outstanding debt. That is why a number of taxpayers look for a tax debt relief firm to help them deal with the government and navigate the numerous IRS channels. If you’re in hot water with the IRS, seeking representation is the best thing you can do for your peace of mind and your back account.

What if an Offer in Compromise is What We Suggest?

If we believe that an OIC is the best option for you, you will make an agreement with the IRS to pay less than the full amount you actually owe. With this type of agreement, you – the taxpayer – will choose to make a lump sum tax payment or set up an installment agreement. Whatever you choose to do, you must live up to your end of the compromise or the deal is off.

In order to be considered for an OIC, the IRS will take a number of factors into consideration, such as your income, ability to pay, current expenses and existing assets. The IRS must determine that, under your current circumstances, paying back the full amount just isn’t possible.

An OIC isn’t for everyone, and we don’t recommend it to everyone that is having trouble paying their taxes. In order to make the best decision for you, your family and your lifestyle contact us today at 877-254-4254 or visit http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#9. See how we’ve helped people just like you achieve the best possible outcome.


The 10 Big Tax Deductions Everybody Misses

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Tax-deductions are an important part of keeping as much of your earned money for yourself, rather than giving it to the IRS. Many of these deductions may be small, but they do add up, and can really help out at tax time.

If you’re reading this you may be one of the many that haven’t yet learned about the 10 big tax deductions that will save your bank account – and your sanity – come April 15th. Because we believe in helping you achieve the best outcome when dealing with the IRS, we’ve put together a list of the 10 secrets to saving money this tax year.

1.     Make charitable non-cash contributions, such as donating clothing, furniture or other objects to places like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Be sure to get written receipts for everything you contribute.

2.     Any points you pay to refinance your home can be deducted on a monthly basis over the life of the new loan.

3.     Don’t forget to use the old points you paid to refinance your home in conjunction with the new points when you refinance it again. This is a deduction that many people miss.

4.     Health insurance premiums are potentially deductible, but they must be added to your medical expense pot, which has to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income before it can be considered for tax deductions.

5.     Educator expenses apply to all educators who use their own money to buy resources and materials for their students.

6.     If you make less than $65,000 and went to college or obtained some kind of higher education, you qualify for an above-the-line-deduction for as much as $4000 paid towards higher education expenses.

7.     If you make any energy saving home improvements, you qualify for a deduction.

8.     Any expenses related to tax-planning are deductible, so long as they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

9.     If the President declared the area in which you live a “disaster area” during the tax year, then you qualify for Causality Deductions.

10. Take advantage of the Retirement Tax Credit if you’re a moderate- to low-income earner. Any money you add to your retirement account isn’t taxed unless you use it before the allowed time.

Visit us at­­­­­ http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#13 to see how we can help you save money and stop stressing about your taxes today.

 


5 Ways to Get Ahead on Your Finances in Preparation of Next Tax Season

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The end of the year is creeping up on us, and as we say goodbye to summer, we make way for the holiday season. While you might be tempted to spend all of your “financial thinking” on gifts, travel and holiday fun, take a moment to consider all of the financial loose ends you might have accrued over the past year.

However far off it may seem right now, in order to start the New Year off right there are 5 simple things you can start doing TODAY. If you pay attention to these now, in January you’ll have taken advantage of every savings opportunity available to you and your loose ends will be all tied up.

1.    Use your flexible or healthcare spending account savings.

If your employer offers health coverage through either a flexible spending account or health savings account, part of your paycheck has been going towards childcare or healthcare costs all year long.

This is a great set up because it allows you to use your money on ANY medical procedure, and to visit the doctor of your choice – choices that typical health plans put limitations on. The money is also non-taxable. Most of these accounts are of the “use it or lose it” variety—meaning that if you choose not to spend the money in the account by year’s end, it’s gone.

To avoid wasting any money, check with your HR department to see how much you have left in your account, what expenses are allowed under your plan, and then figure out how you can use those funds before the end of the year.

2.    Contribute to your retirement savings plan.

If you’re contributing to a 401(k) plan, check with your HR department to see how much you’ve contributed thus far. If you haven’t reached your maximum, ask if you can make a one-time contribution, or, if that’s not possible, if you can increase your per-pay-check contribution by 1% until the end of the year.

3.    Bank your bonuses.

Like tax returns, many people use their year-end bonuses on vacations, a new wardrobe or that fancy gadget or accessory they’ve had their eye on for months. They don’t think to use the extra cash to get ahead and become more financially secure. Instead of blowing the money, you could pay off credit card debt or personal loans, pay off outstanding taxes, put money in a college fund for your children, put more money into savings or even invest that money for your future. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be glad you put some thought into it and chose not to spend it on one impulsive buy.

4.    Make a tax-deductible charitable gift.

Charitable gifts can make terrific itemized deductions. If you have extra stuff lying around the house, donate it! Or, if you have an extra lump sum in your bank account, give it to your favorite charity. Not only are you doing something nice, but you’re lowering your taxable income at the same time!

5.    Get a jump-start on your New Year’s resolution.

Were you planning to make next year the year you achieved financial stability? Why put it off any longer? Commit to improving your finances today by identifying one thing you can begin doing now and start doing it. If you’re not sure where to start, just pinpoint one financial aspect you’re not comfortable with and concentrate on that. Need ideas? Here are a few:

·      Balance your checkbook

·      Make – and stick to – a budget

·      Find a financial advisor

·      Talk with your HR department about what your benefits are and see if you could make changes to your current plan. Sometimes altering your plan can save you big bucks in the future.

What Does This Have to Do With My Taxes?

As we progress in our careers, our paychecks often become larger and tax refunds become a thing of the past. More and more of us find that we have to pay taxes at the end of the year.

Next year, avoid having to get on an installment plan, or worrying about the IRS coming after you, and plan on paying as much as you can on April 15th. If you know you’re going to owe taxes, plan on using your year-end bonus towards that end. By following advice numbers two and four, you can lower the amount you owe exponentially – if you’re smart about it.

Getting hit with back-taxes can really hurt your financial self-esteem. However, changing just one thing – or taking one small step – can boost your financial self-confidence and set you on a solid path toward a more secure financial future.

If you’re still struggling to pay off your taxes from previous years, and if you want to be free from the IRS next year, contact us today at 877-254-4254 to see how we can help you get your tax affairs in order today!

 


IRS Tax Controversy: Even Death Can’t Stop The IRS!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

We have written quite a bit in this space about the extreme measures the IRS will take to extract every last penny from taxpayers who owe the government money. A recent Forbes article reminds us just how far the IRS will go when pursuing a taxpayer:

The Internal Revenue Service says it made a mistake in valuing Michael Jackson’s estate.  Nope, the IRS hasn’t abandoned its much discussed claim for $702 million in extra taxes and penalties—a bill Jackson’s estate is fighting in U.S. Tax Court.  Instead, the tax agency is upping its demand by $29 million to nearly $731 million.

In a previously unreported court filing, the government says that IRS auditors originally thought the King of Pop owned only 50% of certain master recordings at his death in June 2009, when he really owned 100% of them.  That 100% interest was worth $91 million by the IRS’ figuring, compared to the $11 million reported on the Jackson estate tax return.

The change brings the IRS’ valuation of Jackson’s estate and lifetime taxable gifts up to $1.178 billion, compared to the $7 million the estate reported.  The IRS now wants a total of $525.6 million in tax and $205.1 million in gross valuation misstatement and negligence penalties. (Any interest owed will be on top of that.)

This story is instructive on several levels. First, it’s a reminder that a taxpayer can’t escape IRS pursuit just by passing away. For all we know, IRS Revenue Officers have the ability to pursue us into the afterlife as well.

Second, it’s a reminder that the IRS doesn’t care who you are… if they think you owe the government money, they’re coming after you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the King of Pop or a hardworking small business owner… nobody is safe.

And it’s a demonstration of how quickly an IRS dispute can spiral out of control. While the numbers in the Jackson controversy are much higher than the typical dispute, the process is the same: once the IRS latches on to a mistake, they keep digging. Your tax bill skyrockets, and penalties and interest pile on as well. It’s a frightening cycle for any taxpayer unlucky enough to be pulled in.

If you’re facing an IRS dispute, the good news is that we can help. Please contact us today to learn more!


The “Anonymous Swiss Bank Account” is a Thing of the Past, and to Avoid IRS Controversy it’s Important to Disclose Foreign Assets

Friday, September 26th, 2014

The iconic “anonymous Swiss bank account” has achieved almost legendary status in TV shows and movies. These accounts were helpful for wealthy Americans who wanted to hold their wealth overseas and away from prying eyes… and away from the IRS!

And while this practice used to work for many people, in recent years the IRS has cracked down harshly on Americans attempting to conceal assets overseas, to the point where the famed anonymous Swiss bank accounts are no more. Americans who have assets in these types of foreign accounts are urged to come clean or face potentially devastating penalties. As a recent FOX Business article reports:

During the past several years, the IRS has become aware of a significant amount of income generated by foreign bank accounts that has gone unreported and untaxed. The agency has taken steps to eliminate this problem, meaning the days of the numbered Swiss Bank Account are gone.

You are likely aware that if you have a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust or other type of foreign financial account with $10,000 USD or more in the account at any time during the year, you must complete an annual FBAR report FinCen 114, and file it with the IRS by July 31 of each year. There are severe penalties if you do not come forward and file this report.

If you have money invested overseas and you haven’t reported it to the IRS, it’s important that you comply as soon as possible – as penalties get worse if you wait. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t delay any further – please contact us immediately.

Of course, you don’t have to be a wealthy investor with overseas assets in order to face IRS trouble – the agency spends plenty of time harassing taxpayers right here at home. If you are stuck in an IRS controversy and need assistance, we can help. Please contact us today to learn more!


John Willis Answers Your Tax Questions Live on WEBY Radio

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Local Attorney John Willis of IRSALLSTAR.com and The Willis Firm, PC will be a guest on WEBY radio this Wednesday, Sept. 10th at 4pm. Mr. Willis is ready to take on your tax problems live and in person, offering guidance and invaluable advice. Any issues you may be having with the IRS, from tax liens to garnishments to tax levies and more, may be answered during his interview on WEBY radio.

A respected tax attorney and published author, Mr. Willis has appeared in USA Today, as well as on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates around the country. WEBY host, Terence A. Gross, is a personal injury attorney who has actually referred some of his clients to Mr. Willis for tax help in the past, and has invited him to speak to taxpayers in person during the show.

Mr. Willis will be taking calls from taxpayers beginning at 4 PM on September 10th. If you owe the IRS money, have a tax levy or tax lien against you or your business, or you’re afraid that the IRS is going to take your money and your property, Mr. Willis will be available to answer your questions. The IRS All Star team knows the game that the IRS is playing, and is ready to provide you a workable plan that will allow you to win that game.

Listen to Mr. Willis live at 4 PM on September 10th at the following link: http://www.1330weby.com/index.php/listen-live

Mr. Willis is an experienced Gulf Coast tax attorney, a member of the Florida and Alabama Bar and is admitted to practice in front of the U.S. Tax Court. He can represent taxpayers before the IRS anywhere in the United States, and he can give you the answers you need to help solve your IRS tax problems.


Trust Us to Never Steer You Wrong

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

At The Willis Firm, we believe that open communication, trust and honesty are the three keys to any successful professional relationship. When you’re dealing with the IRS, you want to be sure that the people on your side are people you can partner with successfully. The IRS can be tough to deal with – they can be tricky, confusing and frightening. That’s why you want someone on your side who knows how to talk to them – who knows how to deal with them – and who won’t be afraid to tell you exactly what needs to be done to achieve the best possible outcome.

That being said, here are a few tips and tricks when it comes to dealing with the IRS on ANY matter:

1.     Always, ALWAYS be honest and upfront. Lying will not save you and will only get you into more trouble in the end.

2.     Be prepared – whether you’re going through an audit or about to have your property levied, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be prepared.

3.     Get help. If you owe the IRS a significant amount of money, if you are about to undergo an audit or if you fear your property is about to be levied, contact an IRS or tax attorney right away.

At The Willis Firm, we would never steer you wrong. We’re on your side, and we will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for you. To see why we’re the team you want on your side, visit http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us


Beware of Phone Calls from the “IRS” – Most Likely a Scam

Monday, September 1st, 2014

People have enough worries when it comes to paying their taxes without having to deal with scams. Sadly, that’s just one more issue taxpayers have to deal with according to reports by NBC reporters. Individuals across the country are getting calls from the “IRS” telling them that they owe more money, and that if the individual doesn’t pay up right away, the agency will be “forced to take legal action.” And these scammers don’t let up – one victim claims that they call her at least three times a day.

Unfortunately, these scam artists do their homework before contacting victims – in many cases they know the last four digits of their victim’s social security number, making their scheme more convincing. However, no matter how convincing the caller may seem numerous State Attorneys General offices and the Federal Department of Consumer Protection urge individuals to hang up on these con artists immediately and contact the authorities. Furthermore, the IRS says that if you owe them money, they will not call you; they will send you written notification via mail.

If you believe that you’re the victim of an IRS scam, or if you suspect a loved one is, visit us at http://www.irsallstar.com/ or contact us at 877-254-4254 to see how we can best help you.


Are You Eligible for Non-Collectible Status With the IRS?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

CNC – Currently Non-Collectible. To individuals with huge tax debts, this term seems like a free hall pass – a “Get out of jail free” card,” if you will – and for good reason. When an individual is declared CNC status, the IRS must stop all wage garnishments, release all levies and cease all collection activities entirely. However, it’s important to note: CNC status does not exempt you from paying your back taxes. What it does is stall the inevitable.

How to Obtain CNC Status

In order to receive CNC status, you must prove that you don’t have any assets that would enable you to pay off your outstanding tax debt. Furthermore, you need to prove that you make just enough money to cover your basic necessities such as rent, food, clothing, health insurance, car payments, court ordered payments (child support), loans, utilities, auto insurance, maintenance bills, etc. Seems simple, right? Unfortunately, dealing with the IRS is NEVER “simple”.

In addition to proving that you have nothing of value to offer the IRS – and in addition to documenting each and every one of your daily expenses – you must fill out and file the “Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals” form.

And even when you complete all of this information, there is no guarantee that the IRS will take heart and have sympathy. They are, after all, not known for being overly accommodating.

In order to achieve the best possible outcome, contact us before attempting to file for Non-Collectible status. Visit http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#8  to see what we can do to help.


Should I Enter an Installment Agreement with the IRS?

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

An Installment Agreement (IA) is the most commonly used method of paying off back taxes. If you owe $50,000 or less, you should be able to get an installment plan set up by simply asking. Once it’s set up, you have up to 72 months to pay off the balance of your debt. However, while this may seem like a pretty good deal, there are some things you should take into consideration before agreeing to an IA with the IRS.

Before requesting an Installment Agreement, make sure you are current on your tax return filings. The IRS won’t approve you for an IA if they see that you haven’t filed all of your past returns. If you are self-employed, you must be current on all of your quarterly estimated tax payments, and if you have employees, you must be current on your payroll tax deposits.

The other thing to consider is whether or not an installment plan is actually going to save you money in the long run. Interest and penalties add up quickly with IA’s, and many people find that they actually owe more after a few years of paying than when they initially signed on. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith owe the IRS $40,000 in back taxes. They agree to pay $300 a month. With 10% interest and penalties, an additional $4000 is added to their balance. At the end of one year, they will have paid off $3,600. However, while Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s balance should now be $36,400, it’s actually $40,400 after the $4,000 penalty and interest charges are tacked on.

Last but not least, make sure you have enough money to pay the IRS after all of your living expenses. Payment plans don’t work if you can’t afford them – if anything, your debt becomes much worse and the IRS becomes much more difficult if you agree to pay them and then don’t. If you simply cannot afford the taxes owed, there are alternatives. You may qualify for an offer in compromise, to be declared non-collectible or even to discharge the tax debt in bankruptcy.

Before entering an IA with the IRS, visit us at http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#5  to see how we can help you work out the best deal.


When the IRS Deploys a Levy, It’s Time to Get Help

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Whether you’ve personally dealt with the IRS previously, or you’ve managed to fly under their radar all of your tax-paying years, everybody knows that the IRS is notorious for being a bully. While the IRS has been known to pull some pretty ruthless maneuvers to get money from taxpayers, a tax levy is one of the most aggressive ways they have of dealing with collecting tax debts.

What is a Levy?

A levy is the legal seizure of your property by the IRS to repay an outstanding tax debt. That property can be anything; your wages, your savings, your car, your house, or any other asset.

A levy differs greatly from a lien in that once the IRS takes possession of your property it’s theirs for good. With a lien, you do have a chance to repay the debt in X amount of time and get your property back.

However, the IRS won’t just levy your property without a sufficient amount of warning. They’ll usually only levy after these three requirements have been met:

·      They have assessed the taxes owed and sent you a Notice and Demand for Payment;

·      You either neglected or refused to pay your taxes; and

·      They sent you a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing (a levy notice) at least 30 days before the levy went into effect.

While an IRS levy is not something that should be taken lightly, there are times when they take your current financial standing into consideration and remove the levy. If the levy causes you immediate economic hardship, you may be eligible for this procedure. This does not mean that you are exempt from paying your debt. The IRS can work with you, based upon your current financial situation, to develop a payment plan that reflects an amount that you can reasonably afford to pay each month.

 

Levy on Your Bank Account

When it comes to paying taxes, it seems as if the payments will never end. But be rest assured, tax levies don’t go on forever. When a levy on your bank account is issued, it will end when one or all of the following three conditions are met:

·      The levy is released

·      You pay your tax debt in full

·      The time expires for legally collecting the tax (10 years)

If your bank account is levied, your bank is required by law to hold funds you have on deposit up to the amount you owe for 21 days. This 21 day holding period is simply in place to give the IRS time to resolve any issues regarding your bank account. Once the holding period is up, the bank will send the money – plus any interest – to the IRS. The levy is not continuous but the IRS can and will send additional levy notices to your bank if they receive money on a previously filed levy…and they will do this until your debt is paid off.

Can I Stop an IRS Levy?

If you receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle, there are steps you can take to avoid the levy all together. You can

·      Pay your taxes in full right away before the 30 day grace period is up

·      Enter into an installment agreement

·      File for an offer in compromise

·      Get declared uncollectible

If you choose to take any of these steps, we advise you to consult with a tax professional before proceeding. Visit us at http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services to see how we can help you make the best decision based upon your current financial circumstances.


Obamacare: The Next IRS Tax Nightmare?

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

President Obama’s health reform law, commonly known as “Obamacare”, has attracted intense media attention every step of the way – from the controversial initial passage of the law, to the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, to the strong enrollment numbers in early 2014.

In 2015, Obamacare is set to once again dominate the headlines – this time, in relation to IRS enforcement. Regardless of your opinion on the political merits of the law, Obamacare is likely to result in major IRS tax headaches for taxpayers, especially in 2015. That’s because the IRS will be integrating data from new health insurance exchanges and requiring taxpayers to submit information regarding their health care coverage on their tax return for the first time ever. And as you know, the IRS isn’t exactly known for their user-friendly approach. A recent Politico article reports on the troubled waters ahead:

If consumers thought logging on to HealthCare.gov was a headache, sorting through complex forms ahead of tax deadline day 2015 is their next big Obamacare challenge.

The health care law’s benefits are rolling out, but its major math problems start next year as the IRS tries to ensure that millions of Americans are correctly calculating their benefits and that those who don’t have coverage are penalized unless they qualify for an exemption.

That means much new paper-shuffling between now and April 15, which could be especially confusing for low- and middle-income Americans unaccustomed to lots of reporting to the IRS. The insurance exchanges and employers must send consumers details about their health plan and benefits or exemptions in time for them to file a tax return. If any of that information is delayed or wrong, tax refunds could be delayed.

If you enjoy complex tax forms and lengthy conversations with the IRS, 2015 will be a great year for you. For the rest of us, unfortunately, 2015 has the potential to become the year of the IRS tax nightmare. As if dealing with the IRS wasn’t difficult enough already!

While this is bad news for taxpayers, the good news is that if you’re dealing with an IRS controversy, we can help. We’ll represent your interests before the IRS – allowing you to get back to enjoying your life. Contact us today to learn more.


How the IRS and Obamacare Are Working Together

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The IRS is one of the most powerful governmental agencies in our country. Even CEOs of large corporations and Fortune 500 companies feel small in their presence. So it’s no wonder the average American taxpayer and small business owner fears them. For years the IRS has made people shudder, and now, with Obamacare in place, their reach of power has been extended.

Starting this year, the IRS has access to all of the information provided by individuals who enroll in the Obamacare insurance exchanges. That means everything, from your name to the number of people insured under your name, will be transferred to the IRS for tax purposes, with or without your permission.

While the IRS says this information is used to determine whether or not an individual is eligible for tax credits, can we ever be entirely certain how private information will be used once it has been released?

Many people feel uncomfortable about the idea of transferring private information from one governmental entity to another. Even if you don’t mind the sharing of your vital statistics, the process of transferring that information may open up areas of vulnerability. Whenever data is processed and distributed, the chance of losing data, altering data, or having it stolen increases.

Staying informed of the changes that are happening at the IRS and with other government programs like Obamacare helps you make intelligent decisions. While our government may not leave us a choice at this time, we can remain aware of the process and watch out for possible repercussions.


So You Didn’t File Your Taxes This Past Tax Season?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Some people think of tax season like Christmas because they are getting a big refund. For many others, tax season isn’t so jolly.

A large percentage of working Americans end up owing additional taxes at the end of the season, even when they’ve been paying throughout the year. When this happens, and they can’t pay their bill, they decide to not file at all. They just put off dealing with the IRS altogether. If you’re strapped for cash and thinking about doing this, don’t!

It is not uncommon for people to panic at the idea of owing taxes and simply decide to skip filing and paying their bill at all. Here at The Willis Firm we deal with these situations all of the time and it wouldn’t surprise us if that is exactly what you chose to do.

We would like to encourage you to face your fears and keep out of trouble by taking the following actions:

1.     File your return as soon as possible – it’s better late than never!

2.     Contact an experienced professional tax attorney

At The Willis Firm, we’re on your side no matter what, and we want to help you make it through these trying times with the IRS! By doing things right from the start, you have a much better chance at success going up against the IRS.


I’m Being Audited – Why, and What Do I Do?

Monday, July 21st, 2014

There is nothing more stressful than an IRS audit, especially when you feel that you must face it all alone. Fortunately, that is not the case. You can, and should, seek professional help if you are being audited. In fact, after years of experience helping individuals go through this arduous process, we have learned that the best thing you can do for your peace of mind is hire a seasoned, experienced tax attorney.

When faced with an audit, many people can’t help but wonder, “Why me?” They feel like one of the unlucky few who are chosen at random by the IRS. However, the IRS seldom works in random ways. In reality, they are very specific about who they target, and certain factors of your tax return may have caught their attention and made you their new bull’s eye.

If you are being audited, do you know what made your return stand out? There are ten(10) red flags that the IRS looks for when reviewing tax returns:

 

  1. Incomes Over $200,000. Recent IRS statistics indicate that individuals with incomes of $200,000 or higher have a 3.26% chance of being audited. That is one in every 30 tax returns and nearly four times higher than people with lower incomes. Individuals with incomes of $1,000,000 or more have a 1 in 9 chance of being chosen for an audit.
  2. Large Itemized Deductions. You are entitled to ALL of your deductions, but if they’re greater than the target range for people at your income level, the IRS will look at your return more closely.
  3. Home Offices. There is nothing wrong with having a home office, but if you do claim one on your return it must meet all of the IRS guidelines. For instance, if your office doubles as a playroom or dining room, you cannot deduct it.
  4. Deducting Meals, Travel and Entertainment. Schedule C may be a treasure chest for the self-employed, but it’s a gold mine for the IRS. History has proven that most under-reporting of income and overstating of deductions is done by the self-employed. Because of this trend, the IRS keeps an eye out for big deductions for meals, travel and entertainment.
  5. Claiming 100% Use of Your Business Vehicle. Claiming that your vehicle was used solely for business is like waving a red flag in front of a bull – you’re just asking them to charge. If you are going to make this claim, be sure to have detailed mileage logs and exact calendar entries. Sloppy record keeping will not help you and will only make it easier for an IRS agent to disallow your deduction.
  6. Missing Investment Income. What you put on your 1040 (or any related IRS Forms or Schedules) must match the information the IRS receives about the investments you made this year. The IRS will receive the correct information whether or not you are the one supplying it to them. Do not risk them catching you purposefully omitting information.
  7. Incomplete Returns. Even if you accidentally missed a section of your return, an empty space sends up a red flag to the IRS.
  8. Business Losses. Business losses are common—especially in a tough economy. However, that does not mean that the IRS will automatically accept them. Claiming a business loss definitely draws attention to your return.
  9. Charitable Deductions. Unfortunately, many people are dishonest about their charitable donations. Because of this, the IRS requires that you have proper documentation for all donations. Be sure to keep appropriate records, like cancelled checks or receipts, for your donations in case the IRS takes special notice and wants you to prove your deduction.
  10. Medical Expenses. Deducting medical expenses can bring your return to the attention of the IRS. Medical expenses must meet all of the qualifications laid out by the IRS in order to qualify as a deduction. Keep in mind that cosmetic surgeries, health club dues and over-the-counter medicine cannot be included and will most likely be questioned if you try to include them as a deduction.

 

If the IRS noticed any of the above on your return, that may be why you’ve been selected for an audit. However, just because you’re under review does not mean that you did anything wrong or that you must face the IRS alone.

In the face of the IRS everyone feels small. However, when you work with a professional team that regularly battles the IRS, you’ll see how easy it can be to take a deep breath, stand up tall and fight for what is rightfully yours.

Here’s what we suggest you do in order to overcome an audit without breaking a sweat:

 

  1. Don’t ignore the letter. Ignoring the IRS is by far the worst thing you can do. Show them you’ve got nothing to hide, and request the paper work they’re planning on sending you. By setting the pace of your audit, you’re putting yourself in the driver’s seat. This serves two purposes: 1) You’re putting yourself in the mindset that you’re in control and 2) You’re going to be far more prepared than the IRS expects you to be, giving you a one up in the situation.
  2. Get representation. It is not a smart idea to go at an audit alone. The IRS has a reputation for being big and scary for a reason. To get the best outcome, hire somebody who not only knows what they’re doing, but who has experience going up against the IRS —and winning!
  3. Do not hold back or lie to the IRS. Studies show that only 2% of the IRS audits are random; the other 98% of the time, they have very specific questions they want answered. Do your best to answer those questions to their satisfaction and you have very little to worry about.
  4. Negotiate an appeal, but only if you need to. If the IRS is right about one or more discrepancies on your return, you don’t have much room for negotiation. However, they may still be open to an appeal.

 

At The Willis Firm, we pride ourselves on being straightforward and honest with you about all of the details of your audit.We pride ourselves on getting the best possible outcome for our clients.

To see how we do this, visit http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us.

 


IRS Controversy: IRS Customer Service Heading for an All-Time Low

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The US tax code is impossibly complicated. It can be a challenge for even full-time tax specialists to stay on top of the law, so it’s almost impossible to expect the average taxpayer to be able to make sense of the laws and regulations.

Unfortunately, when a taxpayer has a question or concern and needs to contact the agency, he or she has a nearly 50% chance of not being able to get through!

As The Guardian reports, the IRS is unable to answer the calls of many taxpayers:

IRS budget cuts over the last five years have resulted in poor customer service and weaker enforcement, a report found.

With the IRS overseeing implementation of parts of the Affordable Care Act, the lack of funding becomes troubling. US consumers, who are likely to have questions about the new healthcare law and how it affects their tax return, will have to prepare for long wait times and even the possibility of having their calls to IRS go unanswered.

Currently, the agency predicts that it will be able to answer only about half of taxpayers’ phone calls.

“If we don’t receive the funding and we can’t do the hiring needed to handle this call volume, we estimate our level of phone service next year would plunge to 53%, which would be the lowest since 2008,” said IRS commissioner John Koskinen at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Chicago last week. “At 53%, that would mean close to half of those trying to get our help over the phone would not get through.”

So what’s a taxpayer supposed to do? If he or she is unable to receive an answer from the IRS and then makes a mistake while filing their tax return, you’d better believe that the IRS won’t accept “we couldn’t get an answer!” as an excuse.

It’s frustrating that the IRS is unable to provide basic customer service for taxpayers. But that frustration pales in comparison to the devastation that an IRS controversy can create for a taxpayer who is in the midst of a dispute with the agency. If you’re involved in a tax dispute and you’re worried about things like penalties, bank levies, and even criminal charges – we can help. Please contact us today to learn more.


If You Owe Back Taxes, Bankruptcy May Be the Solution You’ve Been Looking For

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

A lot can happen in 2-3 years. You can start a new job, buy a house, lease a vehicle or have a child. You can also receive a pay cut, accrue credit card debt or lose your job entirely. Whatever life throws at you, all you can hope is that you overcome each obstacle intact. And sometimes that means doing things you never thought you’d have to do. Including filing bankruptcy.

When you heard you owed back taxes the last time you filed, you either made an agreement with the IRS that required you to pay a certain amount each month, or you assured them that you would be able to pay the entire debt in full by x date. Whatever the situation, you never imagined that you wouldn’t be able to pay the balance at all.

But that’s life—whether you lost your job, took on too much debt too soon or something else happened that changed your plans, and you find yourself unable to live up to your obligations, you feel defeated. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.

Through Bankruptcy you CAN have your back tax debt removed entirely, IF you meet all five of the following criteria:

1.     The due date for filing was at least three years prior to the bankruptcy filing

2.     The tax return was filed at least two years prior to the bankruptcy filing

3.     The tax must be assessed at least 240 days prior to the bankruptcy filing

4.     The tax return is in no way fraudulent

5.     The taxpayer is not guilty of tax evasion

If you fit all five of the above criteria, filing bankruptcy may be just what you need to clear your tax debt and start all over again. To see how we can help you achieve a clean slate, visit http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#2


Congress’ Way of Estimating New Taxes Inefficient

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Imagine your favorite business in town – let’s say Pop’s Pizza Shop – raised its low prices from $0.99 a slice to $2.50 a slice, and from $9.99 for a medium pie, to $15.99 for the same medium pie. There is no competition in town for Pop, which is why he felt confident that raising his prices would bring him more revenue. However, what Pop did not take into consideration was that half the reason the townspeople loved his pies wasn’t for their wonderful taste – it was for their wonderful prices. And now that Pop raised his prices – some by more than double! – people aren’t eating there as often. It doesn’t take Pop long to realize that he isn’t making money off of his new prices, but rather, he’s losing money.

Now, imagine this situation on a much grander scale – like, with the government for instance.

For as long as taxes have been around, Congress has been estimating the cost of new tax policies based off of a static scoring approach. What this means is that Congress has been trained to think that no matter how high they raise the taxes or how low they drop them, the cost of taxes will have no bearing on the economy whatsoever. However, the tax policy does claim that raising or lowering taxes will have an effect on individuals. My thoughts? How can taxes affect individuals and still leave the economy untouched?

The answer? They can’t.

When taxes go up, consumers and businesses hurt. And when consumers and businesses hurt, the economy hurts.

The same holds true when taxes are lowered: when taxes drop, consumers have more money to spend, therefore, increasing businesses’ revenue. When businesses have more money to spend, they hire more people, and the positive cycle continues.

So, the “static scoring approach” that Congress has maintained and which they vow to be the best method of scoring is actually completely bogus. So, where does that leave us?

Junior Senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, has an idea…http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/206689-give-congress-more-accurate-tax-information

Let us know what YOU think!


IRS Tax Season May Be Over, But Telephone Scams Are Still in Full Gear

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Tax season is over, which means that most Americans can stop thinking about the IRS and get back to enjoying their lives. (If you’re stuck in an IRS dispute and wish you could get back to enjoying your life, we can help!)

But just because the hectic tax season is behind us doesn’t mean that tax scammers will close up shop. As USA Today reports, a common and effective scam has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and is still in operation today:

This swindle is incredibly simple and straightforward. The crooks pretend to be an IRS agent or someone from the U.S. Treasury Department calling about a problem with your tax return.

“They say you didn’t pay enough or the money wasn’t received, and the only way to remedy this and make sure nothing bad happens to you is to get money to them immediately,” explains Lois Greisman, associate director at the Federal Trade Commission. “Some of them can become very threatening and very abusive.”

The scammers typically threaten potential victims with arrest or deportation. They may also claim that they can revoke a license or shut down a business if they don’t get the money right away.

To make their pitch seem more legit, they will often spoof the caller ID to make it display the IRS toll free number (800-829-1040).

If you hang up, another scammer may call, this time pretending to be with your local police department.

Whatever the exact pitch, the goal is always the same: To get your hard-earned money.

Please don’t get burned by this scam. Do not, under any circumstances, provide sensitive information over the phone or via email. If you are contacted by an individual claiming to be from the IRS and asking for this type of information, hang up and visit IRS.gov to report the encounter.

While scams can cost taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars, the truth is that genuine IRS disputes can be even worse. If you find yourself in an IRS dispute, please get in touch with our firm today. We will represent your interests to the IRS and will negotiate tirelessly until we reach the best possible settlement. The harassing phone calls and threatening letters will stop, and you will be able to get back to enjoying your life. Please contact us today to learn more!


Why Both Spouses Should Know the Family Financial Situation

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

In a recent study, it was surprising to find that only 28% of all couples surveyed were confident that either spouse could handle the family finances alone if there was a death, an accident leaving one spouse disabled or a divorce. Obviously, no one likes the idea of something so unnerving, but it’s important for both people to have an understanding of the family finances. The Wall Street Journal article, “What Each Spouse Should Know About Finances,” gives a helpful list of tips so that each partner is able to manage their financial affairs alone…if they have to.

Creating an inventory of assets is the first step to help you make informed decisions if something unexpected happens. Make a list of financial accounts, 401(k)s and insurance policies, including information on where they are held and noting the beneficiary listed for each. It is also recommended to itemize physical assets, including houses, cars or boats. Atypical assets are often forgotten, such as airline miles or valuable collectables, but these assets can become helpful forms of financial help if needed.

Having your assets organized and discussing options before something sudden happens will prepare you to make smart decisions during difficult times. For more information or for help on how to create an inventory of your assets, contact me, John Willis.  I can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for. Give IRS All Star a call at 877-254-4254 for all of your tax law questions. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Statute of Limitations and What it Really Means

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

You’ve probably heard the term statute of limitations before, but like most IRS terminology, it can be confusing and needs further explaining to understand what it really means. If you are faced with an IRS problem, the term statute of limitations applies to you in the sense that the problem has a time limit. The IRS can only collect on your taxes for 10 years from the date of the assessment of the tax. Also, there is a time limit on audits, which is three years from the date of the filing of the tax returns.

Before exhaling a sigh of relief, it’s important to know that there are factors that can extend these time periods. It all depends on your specific situation and what actions have been taken thus far. Actions such as requests for due process hearings or filings of offers in compromise or bankruptcy will determine when your statute of limitations actually expires.

In order for the statute of limitations to begin running, you MUST file a tax return or have a tax assessment for that particular tax period. Once you file your tax return, the IRS has three years to audit. After three years, the IRS cannot initiate an audit unless there is suspicion of tax fraud. The same goes for ten years to collect outstanding tax liabilities. In order to know the right way to go about dealing with your tax debts, it’s best to hire a tax attorney who can learn your history and find the optimum solution for you. The clock is ticking! Call us for a free consultation and get started today. 877-254-4254 or http://www.irsallstar.com/


IRS Tax Controversy: Will “ObamaCare” Lead to Increased IRS Scrutiny?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Over the last several months, the rollout of “ObamaCare” has generated controversy, to say the least. But whatever your opinion on the politics of the matter, the Affordable Care Act will have a significant impact on the IRS and on taxpayers. Specifically, the IRS will have access to the personal data of individuals and families who purchased health insurance through the new health exchange.

A recent TheBlaze.com article reports on the specifics:

The Internal Revenue Service this week will publish a final rule requiring Obamacare health insurance exchanges to hand over key personal data to the IRS, which will use the information to implement the tax aspects of the controversial health care law.

The IRS rule covers health exchanges that sell insurance to individuals, and it takes effect this year. That means people enrolled in an Obamacare exchange this year will have their information given to the IRS as soon as it’s needed for tax purposes.

Information to be handed over from Obamacare exchanges includes names, addresses, taxpayer identification numbers, insurance premium amounts, the name of the insurance issuer, and the insurance plan policy number issued by the exchanges.

The IRS says this data is needed to assess whether people are eligible for a health insurance tax credit. “This tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes,” according to the IRS.

Whether you are in favor of ObamaCare or not, the fact that the IRS will have increased access to taxpayer information is concerning. The IRS is already known for their brutal collection tactics – once they have determined that a taxpayer owes them money, they’ll unleash a barrage of threatening letters, phone calls, and in-person visits. If they’re not able to resolve the matter to their satisfaction, the IRS will often garnish taxpayer paychecks, seize assets, and even force businesses to close. What will the IRS do with access to even more taxpayer information? Only time will tell, so be sure to stay tuned.

If you’re facing an IRS dispute, we can help you put the controversy behind you and get back to enjoying your life. Contact us today to learn more!


Doing Tax Law the Right Way for You

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

For over 10 years I have had the privilege of helping taxpayers right here on the Gulf Coast solve their IRS and tax problems. I strongly believe that the success we have had at my law firm comes from our commitment to doing things the right way. The tax laws are very complicated and trying to resolve tax issues or fight tax cases without truly understanding the ins and outs of dealing with the IRS can result in disappointing and often devastating outcomes.

Not only do I value having as much knowledge as possible when it comes to the laws regarding tax resolution, I also believe that every client file and every tax issue should be reviewed and resolved independently from every other file and every other issue. There is no “one-size-fits-all” fix for IRS or tax problems. By meeting with you one-on-one, I get a feeling and understanding of your financial history and tax history. I also get an opportunity to discover and determine your specific needs and concerns. Taking the time to understand your IRS issues and constantly staying on top of the ever-changing tax code is essential to crafting a solution to your tax problem that can satisfy everybody.

One of the goals at my law firm to keep the IRS as far away from you and your assets as is possible while we are working to implement the most manageable and PERMANENT solution to your tax problem. We want to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes all over again and prevent you from falling back into the same tax predicament in following years. Often times, national tax relief companies will only fix the immediate problems. This creates a vicious cycle of unfiled tax returns, unpaid tax debts and eventually the need to go back to a tax relief company. My hope is that after we solve your IRS problems, your only need to see us again would be to prepare later year tax returns.

Providing true value to each client by performing high-quality professional services is only one part of our dedication to each client in my office. Giving our clients peace of mind is what truly makes us happy and how we ultimately gage our success. The IRS can be unrelenting, and too many people live in fear that the next knock on their door will be someone with an IRS badge and a levy notice. Let me and the members of my IRSAllstar team help you today. Call for a consultation today so the weight of your IRS tax problems can finally be lifted for good. 877-254-4254 or visit http://www.irsallstar.com/


Put Your IRS Stress Behind You

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

There’s a famous analogy that a college chemistry professor used to teach his students about stress. If you hold out a glass of water for a couple minutes, most likely nothing will happen to you physically. If you hold the glass of water out for an hour, it will undoubtedly become uncomfortable. Keep holding the glass of water for 24 hours and you would probably be in extreme pain. All the while though, the weight of the water never changes. Finally, the professor asks how you could avoid the pain. After a few creative but complex responses, the answer ends up being the most simple, which is to just put down the glass of water.

This same analogy can be used when dealing with the stress of IRS problems. The glass of water represents your IRS problems and the level of discomfort depends on how long you carry the burden of unfiled or unpaid taxes. As soon as you make the decision to finally hire a tax attorney or speak with the IRS, the weight of financial stress can be lifted. While getting IRS help and solving tax problems isn’t easy, the problems certainly won’t go away by ignoring them.

As an experienced tax attorney, I understand the mixed feelings of fear, embarrassment and frustration of having the IRS and tax problems looming over your head. There are many solutions to tax problems, but the first step is to take action quickly! Ignoring payment requirements and IRS notifications will only result in more penalties. At IRSAllstar, we strongly believe in doing things the right way in order to avoid additional and future problems or complications. By doing it right the first time, you won’t have to go back to dealing with recurring problems. Take a look at the professional services we provide to see how we can help you - http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


Liens vs. Levies: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

If you’re reading this blog, odds are you may be going through the unfortunate experience of dealing with a levy or a lien from the IRS. Anyone who has received a letter or a knock on the door from the IRS knows that tax problems can be extremely stressful. However, when it gets to the point where the IRS is seizing your property or wages, it can be a whole different ball game. That’s why it’s important to know the differences between a lien and a levy and what your options are. Trying to figure this out all on your own not only causes added stress, but can be very risky if you’re not completely informed and educated on IRS policies and language.

Once the IRS has caught on to the fact that you haven’t paid your taxes, which frequently takes months or even years, the situation can quickly escalate into an uphill battle that culminates with an IRS lien on your property and/or bank account levies. What’s the difference, you may be asking. Both are very effective methods of collection by the IRS, and both can be devastating for whoever is on the other end.

A lien, by definition, is the right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged. If a federal tax lien is filed against you, the lien protects the government’s interest in all of your property, which can include real estate, personal property and financial assets. But before an enforceable tax lien can be filed, three requirements must be met:

·      A valid tax assessment of your liability must be made.

·      The IRS must send you a notice or bill explaining the amount you owe and demanding payment within 60 days of the assessment.

·      You must fail to pay the assessed amount.

It is possible to have a lien released or withdrawn. The best and most obvious choice is by paying your debt in full. In this case, the IRS should release your lien within 30 days of receiving full payment. If full payment of your tax debt is financially impossible, there are other options. These options include:

·      Discharge of property, which allows property to be sold free of the lien

·      Subordination, which doesn’t remove the lien, but allows for other creditors to move ahead of the IRS

·      Withdrawal, which removes the public notice and assures that the IRS will not compete with other creditors for your property.

A levy is different from a lien. And believe it or not, dealing with a levy can be much more difficult and stressful than dealing with a lien. A levy is an actual seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt. Levies can be divided into two categories. The first type are levies directed straight at the taxpayer and covers property owned by the taxpayer, such as a home, car, boat, belongings, etc. The second type are levies directed at third parties, such as banks or institutions that hold money or assets for the taxpayer, such as checking and savings accounts, insurance companies or employers that owe wages to the taxpayer.

The second type of levy, the kind that directly impact your income, can have a devastating domino effect on other payments you may have, such as car payments, house payments, credit cards, etc. Don’t let your tax problems get this far out of your control! If you are currently in a situation where you have not paid your taxes but the IRS has not yet contacted you, it’s best to deal with the IRS now…before liens or levies are filed and the resulting financial obstacles are created. If you have received notice of either a lien or a levy, contact me, John Willis, or my law firm today. We are tax professionals who will take on your burden and find the best solution possible so that you can move on with your life without the IRS looming over your head. Give us a call today at 877-254-4254 and let us help to get you back on track. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Is an (ex)Spouse’s Tax Problem YOUR Tax Problem?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

If you are having trouble with your spouse or if you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you’ve probably had enough emotional distress. So what happens if you discover your (ex) spouse was not forthcoming on your last joint tax return? Are you responsible for a spouse or ex-spouse’s tax problem? Take a deep breath and know there is an option for you. It’s called Innocent Spouse Relief.

Innocent Spouse Relief will clear you of liability, interest, and penalties as long as the return was filed jointly. This brings hope to spouses who were kept in the dark about tax problems, discrepancies, or lies.

There are certain qualifications for Innocent Spouse Relief. You may qualify if you filed a joint return that had an understatement of tax due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse). You must be able to prove that when you signed the joint return you did not know, and had no way to know, that there were falsities in the tax return. When this can be sufficiently documented, the IRS may determine that it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement of tax.

Obviously, a request for Innocent Spouse Relief will not be approved if the IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) were involved in fraud. This could mean intent to defraud the IRS or another party, such as a creditor, another ex-spouse, or business partner.

To learn more about our services see: http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


Six Years in Jail for Real Estate Mogul

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

You are an ultra-successful real estate developer. You’ve made millions by converting hotels into condominiums. You’re on top of the world. So, what do you do? Turn to a life of tax evasion, of course! That’s exactly what happened to a man named Robert Falor. Currently age 48, he will be 54 years old before he steps out of a jail cell. Falor pleaded guilty to failing to pay nearly $2 million in taxes over a four-year period.

The real estate mogul was caught siphoning funds from his company to buy multi-million dollar homes, lavish cars, and other upscale treats when he should have been paying the IRS each year.

In this case it also appears that tax evasion runs in the family. Falor’s father was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to two years in prison. His brother has also pleaded guilty and is still awaiting sentencing.

The wealthy can get caught up in the game of tax evasion, but you don’t have to be a real estate god to wind up in trouble with the IRS. It happens every day to ordinary people, too. Don’t let it get to the point of facing a jail sentence. We can step in and help you. We can get you back on track to a life free of tax problems. Call us today at 877-254-4254 or learn more about us: http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us


Tax Day is Right Around the Corner, so Here Are Four Ways to Stay Out of Trouble With the IRS

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

It’s that dreaded time of year – tax day is April 15, and for millions of Americans that means sending a big fat check to the IRS.

And while nobody enjoys writing a check to the government… it could be a lot worse. Specifically, if you find yourself facing an IRS dispute, you could be in jeopardy of losing your business, your car, and even your home to the IRS. The IRS is a brutal and efficient collections agency, and once they latch on to a taxpayer, it’s not easy to get them to let go.

That’s why the best course of action is to avoid IRS trouble in the first place. Since tax returns are due this month, we thought it would be a good time to review four important steps to keep you out of trouble with the IRS.

1) Report your income accurately. It’s very tempting to under-report income to the IRS in order to lower your tax bill. But the risks aren’t worth the reward – should the IRS figure out what you’re doing, the penalties and interest you will face may be enough to force you into bankruptcy.

2) File on time, and avoid simple errors. File your returns and pay your taxes on time to avoid extra scrutiny. In addition, double check your math to ensure that you haven’t made any mistakes that could cause the IRS to take a closer look at your return.

3) Don’t claim excessive deductions unless you can document them. If you claim a higher amount of deductions or tax credits than average, the IRS is more likely to examine your return. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t claim everything you are entitled to… but it means that you should be prepared to offer proof when the IRS asks.

4) Unless your tax returns are extremely simple, seek professional guidance. Professionals can help you spot mistakes and red flags that could otherwise lead to a dispute with the IRS. We highly recommend that you work with a professional while preparing your returns – contact us today to learn more!

An IRS dispute can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Keep these four tips in mind as you prepare your taxes and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding an IRS dispute to begin with. Of course, if it’s too late and you do find yourself stuck in an IRS controversy, we can help. Contact us today to learn more!


We’ll Fight For You

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

The IRS is often portrayed as an evil empire set on collecting its debts using unscrupulous tactics. There is a good reason for this. The IRS can and will resort to some pretty nasty methods, especially if a taxpayer is not cooperating. They can garnish wages and knock on doors. So, if you are in trouble with the IRS what are you going to do? Even when you are willing to cooperate with them, you may not know your rights. You may not have a clue as to what your best option could be. This is where we come in.

At The Willis Firm, our purpose and goal is to fight for the little guy, the one who is being harassed by the IRS, but doesn’t know what to do. We know how to handle your tax problem the right way. We provide the right solution and we talk to the IRS for you, so you don’t have to deal with them.

We are experienced tax professionals and we love a challenge! At The Willis Firm, we’ve tackled some of the toughest tax problems. Additionally, we also help you move forward with your life once your tax problem is solved. We can guide you so you won’t have to deal with IRS threats ever again. Don’t wait another day. We can’t help you but you must take the first step. Commit to taking the first step to clean up your tax problems right now. Call us today at 877-254-4254 or contact us online at http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us


Free Tax Help is Easy to Find

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Filing a tax return is not a simple procedure for most people. It can be complicated and confusing. Many people have questions and they aren’t sure how to get these questions answered. Here are some helpful free resources to guide you this tax season.

The IRS.gov website. Start at “1040 Central”. This is a first stop for getting answers to questions regarding your tax return. This section offers the latest news and frequently asked questions.

Use IRS Free File to complete your tax return. Anyone can use this free service to prepare and electronically file their tax returns. If you made less than $58,000 last year, you can use the Free File software. It will guide you through the process.

Community Help. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps people who make less than $52,000 a year. Tax counseling for the elderly is also available for people over 60 years of age. These sites are located in neighborhoods across the US. If you visit the IRS website, type in ‘VITA’ in the search box to find a location near you.

Visit our blog for all the latest info and news about tax issues: http://www.irsallstar.com/category/blog/feed


Are Your Home and Business Safe From the IRS?

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Life can take unexpected turns, sometimes to the downside. You may find yourself in a situation where you can’t or haven’t paid your taxes. Being in this situation stirs up fear for most people. You may feel haunted by the notion of an IRS agent knocking on your door. By the time a person sits in front of me at my office, they are usually feeling a significant amount of discomfort. Often, the most fear-filled question I hear from clients is “Can the IRS take my home or my business?” This is an important question because there are misconceptions about what the IRS can and can’t do.

In short, yes, the IRS can take your home, business, or any asset in which you have equity. However, seizure is rarely their best option. The IRS has standard procedures they must go through to collect tax debts. It can take several weeks or months before the IRS will notice you owe them money. Once they realize this, your account goes into an automatic collection system. A series of three notices will be mailed to you over several months. Up to this point, the process is all computerized and a person is not involved in your case. But, if you don’t pay your tax debt during this time, your case will be assigned to an IRS collection officer.

The IRS wants to get their money. Therefore, it is in their best interest to work with you in the most efficient way possible. If you show a willingness to cooperate, they are likely to work with you to establish an installment agreement or some other agreement. However, if you are not cooperative, they will resort to harsher methods. Even at this point though, seizing physical property is not an efficient tactic. They can resort to simpler methods such as wage or bank account garnishments. Because these are cash sources they are easier to access.

Even if the IRS wants to seize your property, the collection officer assigned to your case can’t make this decision. The IRS must investigate the equity in your property. If you have no equity, it makes no sense for them to seize your property. If the home is seized and sold, all the previous lien holders will be paid off first, including the mortgage holder. So, if you own a $300,000 home and your mortgage balance is $250,000, it simply makes no sense for the IRS to take your home. Even if you do have substantial equity and the IRS wishes to seize the property, they must obtain a court order. You have the right to contest such an order. You can also request help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service to stop a seizure. The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights discourages the IRS seizure of property, especially primary residences. Vacation homes or rentals are more likely to be targeted.

What about your business? Yes, the IRS can seize your business, but again…at what cost? The process is a headache for them. They must first get a writ from a Federal Judge. Then once the business is seized, they must inventory the business and sell off one item at a time. Can you image the amount of work involved for a collection agency that is already understaffed and backlogged?

Again, to reiterate, an IRS seizure of your house or business is possible, but highly unlikely. If the IRS gets to this point, it means they have received absolutely no cooperation from you. Don’t let it get to this point! Be proactive and be open to developing or discovering a solution to your problem. The longer you put it off, the more desperate the IRS becomes. So take action today by working with a team of experienced tax professionals who know how to get the resolution that works best for you. Call us today at 877-254-4254 or connect with us online at http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us


Tax Tools For Small Business

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Running a small business requires juggling many important tasks. These tasks include: business development, marketing, accounting, scheduling, billing and collecting on accounts. Tending to endless details can be exhausting. Tax time is always a good time to check on the status of your accounting functions. The IRS has some helpful tools for small business owners including:

Small business videos and webinars: These helpful tools allow business owners to tap into free resources specifically tailored to the growing needs of small business. Go to http://www.irsvideos.gov/ Small business workshops will be listed under the Business tab.

Tax calendar for small business: Do you ever wish you had a Fairy Godmother who would remind you of important tax dates and details? This tool has an option for you to send important reminders to your smartphone or computer. Most small business owners will welcome this automation. Learn more at: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/IRS-Tax-Calendar-for-Businesses-and-Self-Employed

When Uncle Sam knocks, it’s usually not going to be a fun visit. However, he does have some free tools available that small business owners may find very helpful. Check them out and see what they can do for you and your company.


Stay Out of Hot Water: Four Ways to Avoid IRS Controversy

Monday, March 17th, 2014

IRS trouble can change your life – and not in a good way! In fact, the IRS has ruined the lives of countless taxpayers all across the nation. If this sounds like an overstatement, consider the power of the IRS: they have the ability to harass taxpayers over the phone and in person, they can garnish wages and levy on assets without a court order, they can seize property, and in certain circumstances they can even throw taxpayers in jail.

Trust me when I tell you that an IRS controversy is something that you want to avoid at all costs!

Here are four ways that you can reduce the likelihood of drawing unwanted attention from the IRS when filing your taxes. However, if it’s too late and you’re already facing an IRS audit or worse, we can help. Contact us today!

1) Double-check your return to avoid simple mistakes. Simple mathematical errors or even forgetting to sign your return can draw extra attention. Before submitting your tax return, double check it for accuracy. Is your name spelled right? Is your social security number and address listed properly? Have you performed all arithmetic correctly?

2) Don’t conceal income. Nobody likes writing a check to the government, and concealing income may seem like an easy way to reduce your tax liability. But the IRS has many ways of cross-checking to ensure that your income has been properly reported, and if they find that you’ve been concealing income, all sorts of trouble will follow.

3) Keep organized records so that you can document deductions. Whether it is business expenses or personal deductions such as charitable giving, it’s important to keep organized records. This is especially true if you are claiming high levels of deductions. There’s nothing wrong with claiming all that you are entitled to, just be ready to prove that the deductions are legitimate.

4) Don’t miss deadlines. Finally, you can often avoid trouble just by meeting deadlines. File your returns when they are due (or request an extension), and pay on time. Doing so avoids the nasty cycle of penalties, interest, and further IRS attention.

These tips will help you avoid trouble with the IRS. But if it’s too late, we can help get the IRS off your back! Contact us today to learn more.


What To Do If You Can’t Pay Your Tax Bill

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Uncle Sam… Ready or not, here he comes! It’s tax time. For some folks it’s a welcome time of year when they anxiously await a tax refund. However, not everyone is in that coveted position.

Once you figure out how much money you owe, it’s time to take action. If you found that you owe the IRS more money than you are able to pay, it’s important to act quickly. Not filing a return is a felony and can land you in jail. The IRS is much more likely to work with you if you are proactive and have a plan.

Some options include paying your debt with a credit card or personal loan. Carefully weigh these alternatives and select the option with the least expense (i.e. interest rate). Although both of these choices may impact your credit score, not paying Uncle Sam is not a viable option.

Another consideration is entering into an installment agreement with the IRS. This type of arrangement allows you to pay back your debt over time. Seek the advice of a trusted IRS tax professional to learn more about the installment payment options.

Remember, paying your tax debt is required by law. If you don’t have a plan, the IRS will figure one out and will garnish your wages to get the money owed to Uncle Sam. It’s best to be proactive.

For more information regarding tax repayment options, please read this Fox Business article: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/02/14/what-to-do-if-cant-pay-your-taxes/


5 Steps Resolving Your Issue With IRS

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Are you feeling the pressure of the IRS? Are they calling you, sending you notices in the mail, and threatening to make your life a living hell? We are here to help.

As tax attorneys, we understand that you may have many good reasons to have not filed past tax returns. However, the IRS doesn’t care about excuses. Regardless of how complex your IRS problem is, we can help get Uncle Sam off your back.

Avoid jail time. Did you realize that failing to file your tax returns is a criminal offense that can result in jail time? Currently, the sentence is one year of jail time for each non-filed year. What’s worse is that the federal government may be increasing the criminal charge for not filing tax returns from a misdemeanor to a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison for each non-filed year. Needless to say, Uncle Sam is not messing around.

Regardless of your specific situation, you simply cannot avoid the problem any longer. Here are 5 steps to getting back in good standing with the IRS:

  1. Retain a tax professional who can help bring your tax return filings up-to-date and present your case to the IRS. You can expect to pay a fixed fee for the preparation of each return. Do not agree to pay an hourly rate. Fixed fees should be in the ballpark of $350 – $550 per year for basic tax returns.
  2. Request a tax organizer from the tax professional for each unfiled year. The organizer is a simple “how to” guide for getting your paperwork and documents in order. To avoid future trouble, take only allowable IRS deductions. Focusing on one year at a time will help keep you on track and make the task more manageable.
  3. Prepare all un-filed tax returns and submit them to the IRS as soon as possible. Filing can reduce the likelihood of criminal prosecution. Separately submit each year’s tax return by mail. To minimize red flags, never include more than one tax return per envelope.
  4. File your next tax return on time. The past is the past. Timely submission of current tax returns will show the IRS that you respect the rules and can improve your odds of reasonable resolution down the road.
  5. Wait. For each tax return filed, the IRS will send you a letter (i.e. bill). Don’t worry, that’s supposed to happen. It’s important to wait until you’ve received a letter (i.e. bill) for each year you filed. Having everything in front of you will help you understand the scope of your situation.

If your tax situation is complex, The Willis Firm can help. Together, we’ll put your days of non-filing status behind you! Schedule a FREE confidential, consultation by calling 877-254-4254 or visiting us online at: http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us


Can I Really Go To Jail?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Yes. When Uncle Sam figures out that you haven’t filed your tax returns, he will find you and put you in jail. It’s not illegal to owe the IRS money. However, failing to file returns is a felony and not taken lightly in the legal system.

I work with clients everyday who live in fear, and every day I help clients dig their way out of their IRS mess. Our first order of business will be to determine exactly what is going on with your particular situation. Once we understand the issue, we will identify what options are available to you. Rest assured you do have options.

If you feel like the “underdog”, I have good news for you. Our team of IRS All Stars is dedicated to helping the little guy win. We’ll help you to cleanup your IRS mess and get you on a better path.

The best way to avoid jail time is to be proactive and honest with the IRS. We can help you devise a tax resolution plan. This will demonstrate to the IRS that you are ready to work with them and not against, them. Let’s face it; the IRS and the court system would be more understanding if you presented them with a well-devised action plan.

If the IRS is at your door, it’s time to hire a qualified and experienced tax attorney. It’s not a good idea to file past returns without legal help because submitting these returns is an “admission” of the amount owed to the IRS. Having appropriate counsel can save you many headaches down the road.

Stop being the underdog. If you owe back taxes and have not filed a tax return, The Willis Firm can help you understand your options and provide you with the legal counsel needed to avoid jail time. To learn how we can help with your specific case, contact our office today: 877-254-4254. You can also visit us online: http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


10 Tips to Finding the Right Gulf Coast Tax Preparer

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Tax season is in full swing. With the ongoing changes to the tax code, the process of preparing and filing tax returns can be daunting. For that reason, many people rely on the help of a seasoned tax preparer. If you are enlisting the expertise of a Gulf Coast tax attorney, it’s important to select a professional who best meets your needs.

Here are 10 tips to help you find the right Gulf Coast tax preparer:

  1. Work only with a qualified preparer. Paid tax preparers are legally required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. Make sure to ask for this number before making your final decision. In addition, it’s a good idea to select a preparer who is actively involved in continuing education. As you know, tax laws change frequently, and you’ll want to work with someone who is keeping up with those changes.
  2. Check the preparer’s reputation. One easy way to accomplish this is to check with the Better Business Bureau. Work only with licensed preparers who have a solid history and are free from disciplinary actions. Other information can be found at: the state board of accountancy (for CPAs); state bar association (for attorneys); and the IRS Office of Enrollment (for enrolled agents).
  3. Understand the fee structure. Don’t work with a preparer who charges a fee based on a percent of your refund. Also, avoid those who promise to deliver larger refunds. If you are entitled to a refund, make sure the IRS sends it directly to you or deposits it directly into your bank account. NEVER allow your refund to be deposited into a preparer’s account.
  4. E-File is safe. Paid professionals who prepare and file more than 10 returns for clients are generally required to file returns electronically. The IRS has safely processed more than 1.2 billion e-filed tax returns.
  5. It’s reasonable to expect a little hand-holding. You deserve to have your questions addressed in a timely manner. Make sure to work with a preparer who will answer your questions before, during, and after your return is filed. While this sounds obvious, not all preparers are great communicators. Select a preparer that you are confident will your answer questions as needed, even after April 15.
  6. Provide records and receipts. Work with a preparer who asks probing questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. A professional will be able to identify tax saving opportunities that you may not have considered. Providing a complete financial picture with thorough records and receipts will help you obtain the best possible return.
  7. Never sign a blank return. Your return is a legal document. Never use a preparer who asks you to sign a blank return.
  8. Review your return before signing. At the end of the day, you are responsible for submitting an accurate return to the IRS. Before signing, carefully review your return and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. Sign the return only when you are confident that the information reported is correct.
  9. Ensure the preparer signs the return and includes their PTIN. The law requires paid preparers to sign returns and include their PTIN. The preparer must also provide you with a copy of the finished return.
  10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Please report abusive and fraudulent tax preparers to the IRS. Complaints can be submitted by using IRS Form 14157. You should also file Form 14157-A if you suspect that a preparer filed or changed your return without your consent. These forms are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Did you know that filing your tax return is required by law? Not filing a return is a federal offense. The Willis Firm is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation: 877-254-4254 or online http://www.irsallstar.com/


IRS Tax Controversy: Two “Red Flags” That May Trigger an Audit

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The average taxpayer wants to have as little to do with the IRS as possible. And the last thing that any taxpayer wants to receive in the mail is that dreaded notification that they have been selected for an IRS audit. In this blog entry, we’re going to discuss several ways to reduce your chances of being audited.

But first, let’s talk a bit about the process. It’s important to understand that there is no way you can guarantee that your return won’t be audited. This is because a percentage of the audits performed by the IRS are selected at random. But the majority of IRS audits aren’t completely random. For one thing, the higher your income, the higher the chances that you’ll be audited.

In addition, there are many ways to raise “red flags” with the IRS that increase your chances of being audited. A recent MailTribune.com article highlights several of these red flags. Below are two of them:

Large itemized deductions: The IRS has established ranges for the amount of itemized deductions based on a taxpayer’s income. Deductions that exceed the statistical “norm” for a given state and region may be red-flagged for a closer look. This does not mean that you shouldn’t take legitimate deductions. Your deductions could exceed the IRS range due to high medical expenses and large charitable contributions.

Business expenses: Big deductions for business meals, travel and entertainment are always ripe for audit. A large write-off will raise red flags if the amount seems too high for the business. Taxpayers claiming 100 percent business use of a vehicle is also a huge red flag. The IRS knows it’s extremely rare for an individual to use a vehicle strictly for business. The IRS looks for personal meals or claims that don’t satisfy the strict substantiation requirements.

If you’d like to learn more about the IRS audit selection process, please contact us today. If it’s too late to avoid an audit because you’re already in the midst of an IRS dispute… we can help! Our team will represent you against the IRS, and we’ll work tirelessly for the best possible resolution to your tax dispute. Get in touch with us today to learn more!


Colorado Contractor Guilty of Defrauding the IRS for Nearly SIX million dollars!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

A contractor who worked extensively with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Colorado pled guilty to defrauding the IRS out of nearly $6 million.

The Denver Post report based on a news release from Jeff Dorschner, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado, stated that the owner of Global Access, Lucilious Ward, pled guilty to one count of failure to account for and pay employment taxes that were withheld from employees’ paychecks. He also pled guilty to one count of making a false claim against the United States.

Ward’s company was paid more than $35 million from 2003 through 2012 for its contract with RTD. The company provided part of RTD’s Access-A-Ride bus services. During that time, it is stated that Ward withheld taxes from his employees’ paychecks but instead of turning the money over to the IRS, he used it to pay for other expenses. Remember, the IRS takes failure to deposit or pay payroll taxes very seriously. Using withheld payroll taxes to pay for other company expenses is a big NO NO and anyone caught doing so will be in deep trouble.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it also seems that Ward filed a fraudulent return to the IRS in 2010 in order to receive a refund of $76,479. Very bad move…

For each count against him Ward faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also owes $5,955,866 in restitution. Ouch!

Don’t follow or let your company follow this path of extremely bad tax decision making. If you have problems with or are confused by your payroll taxes make sure you get professional help and address the problem right now. Most importantly, don’t be tempted to file a fraudulent return to make a bit of extra money. No amount of refund is worth being locked up in prison or facing the wrath of a cheated IRS.

You can read the original Denver Post article here. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24842126/rtd-contractor-guilty-defrauding-irs-out-almost-6


Automatic Gratuities are Now Handled as Wages by the IRS. What Does this Mean for the Restaurant Industry?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Everyone is familiar with tipping the wait-staff when receiving table service at a restaurant. It is also not uncommon to have those tips added automatically when going to the restaurant with a large group. However, there are some changes in how the IRS is having restaurants declare automatic gratuities that may end up curtailing the practice.

Starting in January 2014, automatic gratuities added to a table’s bill will be treated as a service charge and not a tip. The reason? Tips are defined as something given without compulsion and that the customer must have an “unrestricted right to determine the amount”. Therefore, an automatic charge put on the customer’s bill does not fall under the definition of a “tip”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The change would mean more paperwork and added costs for the restaurants – and a potential financial hit for waiters and waitresses who live on their tips but don’t always report them fully.”

If you are working in the restaurant industry make sure you and your tax preparer are up to date on this latest IRS rule. To learn more about the change to automatic gratuities you can read this article provided by NPR.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/05/219290573/irs-to-count-automatic-gratuities-as-wages-not-tips


When You are Dealing with Tax Problems You Want the Right Results Not Empty Promises

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

They guarantee they will settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar. They may have said that you will get an Offer in Compromise. They most likely told you all of this without even reviewing your case in detail. Beware of such empty promises. The truth is that nobody can guarantee these types of results and that 75% of all Offers in Compromise are rejected.

Unfortunately, working with a tax resolution firm that unrealistically promises you the moon can leave you deeper in debt and in more serious trouble with the IRS.

At IRSALLSTAR we do offer our clients a guarantee that they will receive cost-effective legal services delivered in a timely manner. Our guarantee lets you know that we will involve you in strategic decisions and that we will communicate with you regularly. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with our services. And if you promptly inform us that you are unsatisfied, we will resolve the issue to your satisfaction. These are promises that we keep and not empty sales pitches.

Remember, you want to take care of your tax problems so that they go away and you can live again. In order to do that you need to work with a tax resolution firm that takes care of your case the right way. At IRSALLSTAR we help you build and follow a well thought out resolution strategy and we are honest about your options. Contact us today and let us help you take care of your IRS issues correctly. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Getting Beyond Tax Problems

Monday, January 27th, 2014

As a local Gulf Coast tax attorney (licensed in Alabama and Florida) I enjoy helping clients take care of their tax problems correctly. The IRS is an intimidating force and they can easily make anyone feel like an underdog. We focus exclusively on tax resolution cases and we can help you take the necessary steps to move past your tax problems and move forward to a better future. So how do you start?

First, you can review our pre-game checklist here http://www.irsallstar.com/pre-game. This helps you get your head in the game right from the beginning and it will help us to start understanding your specific situation. Next, we will schedule you a free confidential consultation where we can take a closer look at your tax problems and give you an idea of what options may be available to you. From there, we build the right game plan that matches your needs. We help you take care of unfiled returns and set you up for the most successful result possible.

So what are you waiting for? Take the right action today so that you can sleep better tomorrow. Getting beyond your tax problem is not impossible! We can help you create a better future. Contact us today. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Top 3 Reasons to Hire a Tax Attorney for an IRS Audit

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Receiving news from the IRS that you are going to be audited can fill you with dread. Dealing with an audit is one of the most stressful experiences you can have. When you’re faced with an IRS audit you may not know exactly how to respond, and sometimes not knowing how to face a challenging situation causes even more stress.

This is not the time to stick your head in the sand and ignore the problem. You should be aware that the IRS will not just disappear, and being audited is serious business. This is an excellent time to turn to a professional for help.

Watch this video for the top 3 reasons to hire a tax attorney to help you through your IRS audit.

The top 3 reasons you’ll want to consider hiring a tax attorney to help you with your audit.

  • A tax attorney can handle much of the burden for you.
  • Tax auditors can be wrong, and tax attorneys know where to look for those mistakes.
  • A pro can counter-attack. Since you’re not in this situation every day, you may not know how to leverage your position and negotiate with the IRS like a qualified tax attorney.

You don’t have to do it alone.  If you need help with an IRS audit, contact The Willis Firm today.


Cleaning Up after Someone Else’s Mess is Never Fun. This is Especially True if that Mess is a Big IRS Tax Problem

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

At times, our team at IRSALLSTAR finds that we have to help our clients clean up a tax mess that was left to them by someone else or partially created by someone else. Sometimes these problems were the result of their involvement with a spouse or business partner. Other times we find ourselves needing to help our clients recover from their unfortunate involvement with disreputable or incompetent tax resolution firms. In either instance, our clients are often emotionally and financially stressed and confused about what they need to do to put an end to their problems. We know it’s not easy to deal with tax problems and we know the burden is twice as hard when it was either handed to you by someone else or improperly handled and perhaps made worse by incompetent representation.

So what can you do about being left with what might be an unexpected tax burden? The answer will vary depending on your exact situation. However, the first thing you should understand is that there are solutions to all tax problems and that by taking action now to fix the mess at hand you are on your way to solving your tax problems. Many people will ignore their tax problems and ultimately find themselves in very serious trouble that they could have avoided by taking earlier action.

Now that you have determined to take action, you need to get help. Fighting the IRS is very difficult and if your tax issues are complex and confusing your battle will be even more difficult. The Federal Tax code contains over 3,700,000 words and it changes regularly! This should give you an idea of just how confusing a tax problem can get. Finding reputable, competent and reliable representation to assist you with your tax problem will not only relieve a certain amount of stress but it will ensure that you are fully aware of all of your potential options. For example, if your tax mess was left to you by your spouse, you may qualify for “Innocent Spouse Relief”. A competent tax resolution firm will review your case thoroughly, make sure that the debt you owe to the IRS is correct, and point you to realistic options for your case.

In order to find a tax resolution firm that can truly help you need to make sure that you interview them and ask them some questions. A tax resolution firm should never use scare tactics or provide you with unrealistic “guarantees” to convince you to hire them. They should make you feel comfortable and be upfront with their fees. They should also discuss any problems that may be unique to your case. Whether you are already working with a tax resolution firm or you are considering interviewing some tax resolution firms you should consider these questions:

  • Are you 100% sure that they filed or will be filing returns for any outstanding tax years?
    • Don’t assume this important step has been taken without obtaining verification from the IRS. Any tax resolution firm that takes your credit card information over the phone and tells you they are filing your returns but they do not provide verification of return filing is suspect and should be questioned.
  • How long has the company been in business?
    • Tax resolution companies that are disreputable or operate illegally eventually become the focus of investigations or class-action law suits. Frequently, these types of companies will shut down before legal proceedings get started, rename themselves and then reopen in another state. IRSALLSTAR has been in the same location since we started and we are not going anywhere. Determine if the firm you are working with is stable and trustworthy before you start giving them money or personal information.
  • Make sure that the firm you work with helps you to correctly complete a Form 433-A (Collection Information Statement). If a firm asks you to fill out a Form 433-A on your own, they are not providing competent representation and you risk providing the IRS unnecessary information that may cause you additional problems.

Here at IRSALLSTAR we regularly help clients clean up their IRS mess then help them to resolve their underlying IRS problems. We can help you find the right solutions to repair damage left behind by past domestic tax issues, business problems or complications resulting from working with incompetent or unprofessional tax resolution firms. Contact us today and let’s start creating a game plan for a better future. See http://www.irsallstar.com/pre-game


IRS Rolls Out “Fast Track Settlement” Program For Business Owners and Self-Employed Individuals

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

An IRS dispute can be a long, stressful, and expensive process. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to experience an audit or tax dispute you know exactly what we mean. Recently, the IRS has taken steps aimed at making the process less tedious, at least for some taxpayers. This month, the agency announced their rollout of a “fast track” program designed to provide rapid resolution to disputes.

Is this program a good option for taxpayers? First, the facts… BusinessManagementDaily.com reports:

The IRS has announced a nationwide rollout of its “fast track settlement” (FTS) program. Previously, the program was available only in certain specified jurisdictions.

In 2006, the SB/SE division launched the FTS as a pilot program for small businesses and self-employed individuals in 2006. It expanded the pilot program in 2011 to Chicago; Houston; St. Paul, Minn.; Philadelphia; central New Jersey; and San Diego, Laguna Niguel and Riverside, Calif. (IRS Announcement 2011-5)

According to Announcement 2011-5, the FTS program is generally available for cases under the jurisdiction of the SB/SE Division if:

  • Issues are fully developed.
  • The taxpayer has stated a position in writing (or filed a small case request in which the total amount for any tax period is less than $25,000).
  • There are a limited number of contested issues.

Now the IRS says that FTS is available to small businesses and self-employeds around the country. It expedites case resolution through alternative dispute resolution techniques. Thus, it can help avoid formal administrative appeals or lengthy litigation. Audit issues are usually resolved within 60 days, rather than months or years.

So, is the “fast track” program a good option for taxpayers? That will depend on the specific issues involved in the case (please contact us if you’d like to discuss your case).

It is critical to understand when dealing with the IRS, either through this “fast track” program or in any other context, that taking on the agency without an experienced tax attorney on your team is a big mistake. The IRS has thousands of attorneys working for them – so shouldn’t you have an attorney on your team as well?

If you’d like to learn more about the IRS “fast track” program, or if you’d like help resolving your IRS dispute, we’re here to help. Please contact us today to learn more


If You’re Tempted to Hide Funds Offshore…

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Ty Warner was an actor who didn’t quite make it in Hollywood. Instead he invested all he had in his company, Ty Inc. and subsequently made a fortune. The self-made billionaire is now admitting to tax evasion and faces up to five years in prison.

Warner is the man behind the trendy, cute Beanie Babies which took America by storm in the 90’s. The adorable little animals brought Warner billions of dollars, but not without consequences. Now he is being accused of failing to report more than $3 million in income from an offshore account. Warner is cooperating with the IRS and has plead guilty. He will pay a $53.6 million penalty.

The action comes after negotiations between the U.S. and Switzerland have left the Swiss obligated to share information about American funds they have aided in hosting over the years.

Federal tax law requires U.S. taxpayers to pay taxes on any income earned worldwide. Failing to do so can result in up to five years in prison. USA Today has more on this topic: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/18/beanie-babies-founder-warner-tax-evasion/2833359/


Italy Says NO to Multinational Tax Loopholes

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Apple, Inc. has been in hot water for its creative tax accounting many times over the years. Yet this company and other large multinationals continue to get away with making billions in profits while paying very little in taxes. Now, Apple is stirring up tax controversy again, this time in Italy. The company is facing allegations of hiding over $1 billion from Italian tax authorities. How are they doing this?

The simple answer is: other foreign subsidiaries. Apple booked some of its profits through its Irish subsidiary, which drastically lowers the taxable income in Italy and allows the income to be taxed at the lower Irish rate. The world has known for years that multinational corporations do this. Perhaps Italy and other countries under financial distress are becoming more aggressive with such companies. Apple is certainly no newcomer to such allegations. The company is scrutinized and often audited by countries around the world.

“There is a global process under way and the Italian tax authority is one of the most active,” said an Italian tax source. “In general, the focus is shifting towards multinationals that are able to lower their tax base through their international operations.”

We can expect to see similar actions in the future. Receive more details about the case at Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/13/us-apple-italy-tax-idUSBRE9AC0RW20131113


The Tax Code: Need a Little Perspective?

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Atlas Shrugged… 645,000 words.

The Bible… 700,000 words.

The Federal Tax Code… 3,700,000 words.

The amount of time taxpayers spend each year trying to comply with the tax code is over 6,000,000,000 hours…that’s 6 BILLION! (This is equal to 8,758 LIFETIMES.)

Number of changes congress has made to the tax code since 2001…5,000. (That’s more than one change per day from January 1, 2001 until now!)

The good news is since WE understand the tax code, you don’t have to! We take pride in handling your tax problems the right way. No matter how confusing your situation is, we can find the right solution. Don’t put it off another day. Put us to work for you. Contact our experienced tax professionals at 877-254-4254 or online at http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us


The IRS Still Drowns in Backlog

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Ever since the government shut down, the IRS has been scrambling to catch up. During the shutdown, the tax collecting organization received over 400,000 pieces of correspondence. They reportedly had 1 million items already in the queue before the shutdown. To add to the backlog, they are also implementing additional training, programming, and testing to provide additional checks and balances against fraud and identity theft.

Because of this massive backlog, the agency recently announced a one to two week delay in beginning the 2014 tax filing season. The original date to begin processing tax returns was scheduled to be January 21st. Now the starting day will occur somewhere between January 28th and February 4th. The new date will be solidified very soon and the IRS will not process paper tax returns prior to this start date. Of course, this does not mean the deadline to file your tax return will change! The April 15th deadline will remain intact.

Your source for the latest tax related information, see our blog: http://www.irsallstar.com/blog


Be Aware of Charity Scams

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Our top priority at The Willis Firm is to help you find a peaceful resolution to your IRS problem. But, it’s also important for us to keep our clients and friends informed about other tax related issues that could have an impact on any taxpayer. One of the biggest issues we see these days are scams. With all the natural disasters happening as of late, charity scams are popping up left and right.

The IRS has issued warnings to watch out for charity scams. They often occur after major disasters such as the typhoon in the Philippines, or the tornadoes in the Midwest. These crooks take advantage of innocent, well-meaning citizens who are just trying to help during times of disaster. The very impulse that drives them to give to charities can also make them less cautious about who they are giving to.

How can you spot a scam charity? It can be tricky because they appear to be legitimate. Such scammers may claim to be with real charities in order to gain your trust. They may also use charity names that sound similar to well-established groups. They may attack via email, leading people to official-looking websites that take phony donations. Scam websites can also be lurking at the URLs of common misspellings of legitimate organizations. Other times, they will use the phone to contact people and ask for “charitable donations.” The new trend in crowd-funding allows more opportunities than ever for charitable giving, but it also allows more opportunities to be the target of scammers.

“You can read stories about individuals in need, or organizations that may be soliciting for various projects,” says Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “Don’t assume that the organizations or individuals on those sites have necessarily been vetted to any great degree. They may have verified that the organization has tax-exempt status, and that may be it.” This means you may be able to take a deduction for your donation, but the entity you are funding isn’t necessarily putting your money to use in the way you intended.

A big concern for charity scam watchers such as the Wise Giving Alliance is that people often don’t know they’ve been scammed. They don’t expect anything in return, so the truth is not discovered until much later, only after many folks have already been victimized.

The best way to protect yourself from charity scams is to only give to highly qualified charities. You can learn which charities are qualified at www.fema.gov. Organizations like the Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator also provide online information about charities, including whether they meet certain standards and how efficiently they spend their money.

Never give out personal information such as social security numbers, credit card or bank account numbers, or passwords. Your identity and money can be stolen this way. Additionally, don’t give or send cash. This is for tax purposes. If you contribute to a charity, use a check or credit card so you have documentation of the donation. Finally, If you suspect tax or charity fraud, report it to the IRS on their website, www.irs.gov and click on “Reporting Phishing.”

Most charities are reputable and they do good work in the world. But just rust remember to always be careful and do your homework before giving. Here at The Willis Firm, our experienced tax professionals are doing our best to keep you alert and informed. Visit us at http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


IRS Tax Controversy: The IRS is Coming After MC Hammer

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

One thing you can say about the IRS – the agency doesn’t play favorites when it comes to collecting revenue from taxpayers. Whether you’re a celebrity, a business owner, or a student… the IRS will do whatever it can to extract every last penny from your wallet.

We received another reminder of this reality recently, when the IRS placed a lien on singer / celebrity MC Hammer. Forbes.com reports:

Stanley Kirk Burrell, known to his fans as MC Hammer, is facing a new challenge. According to TMZ, Hammer owes the Internal Revenue Service nearly $800,000 in back taxes. And now, it’s time to pay up: the IRS has slapped Hammer and his wife, Stephanie, with a $798,033.48 lien for failure to pay taxes dating back to 1996 and 1997.

[Burrell] struggled as a young rapper until the late 1980s when he was finally picked up by Capitol Records. His first album with the company sold over 2 million copies. His second album spawned the wildly popular single, “U Can’t Touch This” which he performed on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1989. He went on to release a number of other popular songs, including “Pray” and “2 Legit 2 Quit.”

The IRS generally has three years after the due date of the return, or 3 years after the date the return was actually filed, whichever is later, to assess a deficiency. The statute can be extended in cases of fraud or failure to file a return. After the assessment, the IRS has ten years to collect. It’s not unusual for the IRS to file a lien against an assessed taxpayer in order to protect what they believe to be their interest.

While it may take years for this dispute to be resolved, you can count on the IRS to come after Mr. Burrell’s assets relentlessly. We’ve seen firsthand the impact that IRS collection efforts can have on taxpayers and business owners. It’s an unpleasant, stressful, and costly process. The good news, if you find yourself facing an IRS dispute, is that a qualified attorney can handle the dispute on your behalf. If you’re stuck in an IRS controversy and not sure where to turn, we want to help. Please give us a call today to learn more!


Avoid Tax Scams

Monday, December 9th, 2013

If the IRS is knocking on your door, it’s important to work with a seasoned tax attorney who is trustworthy. In the midst of your stress, it may be tempting to take the easy way out and work with the first “IRS tax guy” you can find. However, when it comes to tax resolution with Uncle Sam, make sure to engage a reputable firm with an honest track record. You’ll want a tax professional on your side who is experienced with the legal code and IRS jargon and who knows the intricacies of IRS negotiations.

Unfortunately, not all IRS tax professionals are created equal. Some “professionals” prey on the vulnerability of their clients for selfish gains. Don’t be the next victim of a tax scam. Avoid fraudulent crooks like the one described in this article: http://www.fraudoftheday.com/2013/08/12/bragging-rights/

 


Timely Tax Resolution in Pensacola Florida

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just a part of life. When it comes to owing the IRS money, there is a very fine line between unintentional oversight and overt tax evasion. If you’ve made a mistake on a tax return, you may wonder how long you will need to worry about the issue. In general terms, the IRS has three years to audit you if they’ve found a mistake on your return. However, if Uncle Sam suspects that you’ve hidden more than 25% of your income (intentionally or not); they have 6 years to audit your return.

Most reasonable people would agree that 6 years is a long time to wait it out. What’s worse, the IRS may not start running the clock until after they identify the “last act of evasion.” Believe me, this is a gamble you do not want to wage. It’s time to stop worrying and do something about your tax issue. Under the cover of attorney-client privilege, you can ask the questions that you’ve needed to ask, and get the answers you seek. Hire an experienced Gulf Coast tax attorney and get this problem behind you.

Timing is everything! Act now before it’s too late! Read this Forbes article to learn more about what you might be up against if you’ve made a mistake on a tax return: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/10/13/how-far-back-can-irs-claim-tax-evasion-or-fraud-timing-is-everything/

 


Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Can Land You In Jail

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

You can see it every day. It’s on the radio, TV, social media, and even talked about openly at events with friends and family. No one is immune to the current state of our economy. When it comes to stressful financial times, folks often have no choice but to get creative. You know, withdrawing from one account to cover other expenses… However, when it comes to owing Uncle Sam payroll tax, it is illegal, unethical and personally dangerous if you rob Peter to pay Paul. In fact, it can land you in jail.

With other forms of IRS tax debt, it can take the IRS years to figure it out and begin the audit or collections process. However, with regard to payroll tax debt, Uncle Sam is extremely proactive. Did you know that the IRS has the authority and the legal means to padlock your business doors, intercept payments from your clients, and hold you (and your officers) financially responsible for payroll tax debt? This means that Uncle Sam can seize your personal assets including bank accounts, homes, cars, and even commissions from your clients to satisfy payroll tax debt.

I cannot overstate the seriousness of Payroll Tax problems. And here’s why… The IRS views payroll tax as a “trust fund tax” because as an employer, you are entrusted with funds that actually belong to your employees and/or the government. If you spend withheld payroll tax funds on anything other than payroll tax, it is illegal. When you don’t pay the payroll tax, it’s considered theft. I’m sure you realize that bad things happen to people who steal from the IRS.

If you’ve found yourself saddled with an IRS payroll tax dispute, it’s important to act quickly. Jay Willis and The Willis Firm can help you negotiate with the IRS, the right way, so that you can obtain the best solution possible. Contact us today! 877-254-5254.

Remember: When it comes to payroll tax, NEVER rob Peter to pay Paul! For more information regarding this issue, visit: http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#11

 


Jay Willis is the Gulf Coast IRS Underdog Advocate

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Although there isn’t really a medical term for it, I often say that my clients have “Beaten Puppy Syndrome” because they are the underdog in a vicious battle with Uncle Sam. In this regard, I find great satisfaction in advocating for those on the Gulf Coast that are under-represented with the IRS. We all have our strengths, and I enjoy sharing my IRS knowledge with people who need my help.

The first thing I want all clients to know is that they are not alone. I’ve been at this tax resolution business for a very long time. Good people often find themselves in a troubling tax battle with the IRS. Over the years, I’ve helped countless individuals throughout the Gulf Coast transform from “IRS Under Dog” to “IRS Power Dog” by assisting them to grasp the true scope of their problem, understand their options, and turn their situation around. I believe that everyone deserves to be free from IRS tax problems. Being set free is a great feeling for my clients. As their attorney, setting my clients free is a great feeling for me.

Dealing with the IRS is intimidating. I’ve invested my career in learning the complexities of the IRS tax code. Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness. With my experience, we’ll identify the best possible solution for your tax problems. If you owe more than $15,000 to the IRS (no matter how you got there), it’s time to schedule a consultation and begin the process. You’ll be glad you did!

It’s time to free your inner puppy! Call our office 877-254-4254 or visit us online:

http://www.irsallstar.com/

 


This Isn’t Your Mother’s ABC Soup

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Remember how fun it was, as a child, to eat alphabet soup? The soup was delicious and there was something magical about spooning through all the letters to find words that we’d understand with our limited vocabulary. A lot has changed since those bygone days of our youth. Somewhere between bills, career, commuting, and raising a family, things have become much more complicated. For example, when the IRS dishes up ABC soup it’s more in the form of painful notices chocked-full of confusing acronyms. If an IRS envelope works its way into your mailbox, don’t panic. Jay Willis and The Willis Firm are here to help you deal with your IRS problem the right way.

If you receive a notice from the IRS, it’s important to realize that you are not alone. Every year, the IRS sends out millions of notices. Most of the time they are sent to make taxpayers aware of common filing mistakes that result in tax bill changes. Other notices are sent to request additional information about particular returns. Each notice is intended to define a specific issue and to provide a course of action needed to resolve the matter. It’s important that you give the notice immediate attention and take care of the problem right away.

Making Sense Out of IRS ABC Soup

Each IRS notice is defined by its CP (collection process) number located in the upper right corner of the first page of the correspondence. Each also has a large, bold title near the center of page one.

To help clarify, here is a list of the most common tax notices and why are they are issued:

 

CP number  -  Reason for Contact:

CP 12  -  Correction needed for a miscalculation on return.

CP 14  -  More money owed on unpaid taxes.

CP 49  -  Overpaid tax applied to other taxes owed.

CP-90C & CP-297C (sent simultaneously)  -  Final notice: notice of intent to levy and  notice of your right to a hearing.

CP-91 & CP-298 (sent simultaneously)  -  Final notice before levy on Social Security benefits.

CP 161  -  No math error, balance due.

CP 501  -  Reminder notice that a balance is due.

CP 504  -  Urgent notice regarding balance due, seizure of state income tax refund imminent.

CP 523  -  Notice of default on installment agreement and imminent seizure of assets.

CP 2000  -  Income and/or payment details on the return does not match IRS records.

 

For more information regarding the notices listed above, or if you’ve received a notice that isn’t listed above, you may check the special IRS.gov notices page for the document: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Understanding-Your-IRS-Notice-or-Letter.

You also have the option of calling the IRS directly at the number listed on your notice or at the agency’s toll-free help line at 800-829-1040. (Warning: it’s not uncommon to be placed on hold for extended periods of time when calling the IRS. We recommend checking their website first. If you aren’t able to get through, we can help.)

If this whole process is overwhelming, please call our office for a FREE consultation. We understand that this is a lot of information. Here at The Willis Firm, we’ve spent years studying the laws and representing taxpayers just like you. We will help you solve whatever IRS problems you are having.
Just because the IRS serves up ABC soup doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Call The Willis Firm today! 877-254-4254 or visit us online at: http://www.irsallstar.com/


IRS to Small Businesses: We’re Coming for You

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

As if small business owners didn’t already spend enough time dealing with the IRS and their complicated tax code, the agency has recently announced that they will be broadening their focus and targeting a growing number of small businesses.

As Bloomberg News reports:

The Internal Revenue Service is shifting its small-business audit focus from corporations to various types of partnerships as those entities have grown more prevalent and complex, according to an agency official.

Examining the returns from partnerships and other so-called pass-throughs will be the “top priority” of the IRS’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division over the next year and beyond, said Faris Fink, the head of the office. As part of that shift, more and better training of IRS agents is needed, Fink said at the American Institute of CPAs National Tax Conference last week in Washington, Bloomberg BNA reported.

“The Service has for a long time focused its energy on corporations,” he said. “Frankly, we’re a little bit behind the curve in getting around to developing a partnership strategy.”

Pass-throughs, which include S corporations and sole proprietorships, are businesses that don’t pay income taxes directly. Instead, their income is passed through to their owners who pay taxes on it on their individual returns. Pass-throughs comprise almost 95 percent of all U.S. business entities, according to IRS statistics.

In other words, if your business is structured as an S-corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship… the IRS is coming for you.

This is certainly not news that most business owners will be excited to hear. However, there is good news. First of all, despite additional IRS attention, business owners who follow best practices when it comes to their accounting and tax reporting will have nothing to worry about. And secondly, should your business run into trouble with the IRS… we are here to help! We’ll handle the IRS so that you can focus on running your business and living your life.

If you’d like to learn more, or if you need immediate help with an IRS problem, please contact us today!


Will Tax Loopholes Close for Large Corporations?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

During the G-20 summit in Moscow a few months ago, governments from the world’s richest nations agreed that widely used tax avoidance loopholes by multinational corporations should cease. Such loopholes have allowed large multinationals to pay a pittance in corporate income taxes for years.

It will most likely be many years before any changes actually take place, but this is the first time so many nations agreed that new implementations are necessary. However, it is expected that large companies will bring out their best lobbyists to fight against such measures.

Even so, the government has a strong motivation to push such changes…with lack of funds being the big one. Furthermore, common citizens are more aware than ever that they are paying higher tax rates while large corporations are legally getting away scot-free. Apple, for example, being the most profitable technology company in America, avoids billions of dollars in taxes globally. Get more information in this detailed article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/business/global/g-20-nations-back-plan-to-curb-corporate-tax-evasion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 


CPA Disbarred by the IRS

Friday, November 1st, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has disbarred a CPA after he was convicted of misappropriating funds while serving as conservator of his daughter’s trust account. David O. Christensen’s CPA licenses in Washington and Oregon have been revoked.

Christensen requested permission to continue a limited practice in preparing tax returns. He argued that his theft conviction resulted from a family matter that had nothing to do with his ability to prepare tax returns. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied his request.

Karen L. Hawkins, Director of OPR said, “OPR strives to protect the integrity of the tax system from unscrupulous and incompetent practitioners regardless of how those traits become known. Agreeing with OPR’s proposed sanction, the ALJ held the seriousness of Christensen’s offense warranted disbarment from practicing before the IRS finding that the “Respondent has displayed a lack of integrity, including in his testimony at trial, in attempting to distinguish his professional actions from his ‘father-daughter’ relationship.”

See more here: http://www.workplace-weekly.com/2013/09/24/irs-cpa-david-o-christensen-debarred-for-theft/


We Make Sense of Tax Problems for Florida Panhandle Residents

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

When you get notice after notice from the IRS, it may be frightening and seem like they own you. Your situation may seem so complicated that you don’t know where to begin. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can help you make sense of your situation. You most likely have several options for dealing with the IRS and getting them off of your back for good.

Obviously, the first and easiest action to take is to pay off your IRS debt in full and as soon as possible. If you have the resources, this is your best option. This will immediately stop the IRS’s actions against you. Of course, this is easier said than done. For most people, paying the IRS in full is not possible. Even a payment plan can be extremely difficult and can stress your finances and your life. If you fall into this category, do not be alarmed. There are other options. These could include reducing the amount you owe, being declared uncollectible, or various other options.

If you are paying off your tax debt in full or if you can handle the payments the IRS sets up for you, you can potentially take care of that on your own. But if these options aren’t available to you, or you don’t feel comfortable trying to accomplish one of these options on your own, then it’s smart to have a tax professional on your side. We can put your mind at ease by finding the best option for your specific situation.

If you are having complex problems with the IRS, we can help. We can evaluate your situation, make sense of the confusion and recommend a plan of action for you to follow. Get started on the road to freedom today. Call 877-254-4254 or on the web at http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us.


The Truth About Wage Levies

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Every day, many people get notices from the IRS that their wages are about to be levied. A wage levy is when the IRS takes a portion of your paycheck to pay down the debt you owe for taxes. Other forms of levies, such as a levy against your bank account, are only enacted once. But a wage levy will affect your wages continuously until the tax debt is settled.

This usually creates a huge burden for the taxpayer because they are already struggling to pay their bills. The good news is that under certain circumstances, it is possible to get a wage levy released. This may be difficult to accomplish on your own. It usually requires specific supporting paperwork and dealing with the IRS. But if you do successfully have a wage levy release, your paychecks go back to normal.

Generally, an IRS wage levy can be released if it can be shown that the levy causes an economic hardship that makes it difficult for the taxpayer to provide the basic necessities of day-to-day living. The catch, however, is that the IRS defines “basic necessities” different from how the taxpayer defines them. Because of this, it’s important to have a good understanding of how the tax laws work. This is where we come in.

If you have a wage levy and are trying to get it released, do not do it alone. We have the experience necessary to help you. Contact our experienced tax law professionals today at 877-254-4254 and see our 100% guarantee: http://www.irsallstar.com/100-guarantee.

 


Three Mississippi Gulf Coast Tax Scams to Avoid This Fall

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The holiday season is just around the corner and your mind is probably busy making plans. It’s doubtful that you are thinking about taxes or tax returns right now. However, just because you aren’t thinking about taxes or tax returns doesn’t mean that tax-related scam artists aren’t thinking about it! Unfortunately, these scammers work year round so it’s best to always be aware of their latest scams and tactics.

The most common tax scam these days is identity theft.

Identity thieves have ways of getting your personal information. They can retrieve personal data by illegally buying or stealing information from individuals, employers, hospitals, nursing homes and various other sources. Once they have your information, the scammers will file a false tax return in your name and claim a refund from the IRS. And the crime of tax identity theft is on the rise!  When this happens, it’s a time consuming processes to clear the legitimate taxpayer’s name. They must endure months of proving that they are who they say they are and ridiculous amounts of time waiting for the backlogged IRS to respond. If you are a victim of tax identity theft, here is what you need to know and what you should do:

  1. Report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338, ftc.gov/complaint.
  2. File a report with the local police.
  3. Close any affected bank and credit card accounts.
  4. Inform all credit bureaus and consider putting a credit freeze on your accounts.
  5. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 and, if necessary, complete Form 14039. (However, you will need to be patient. Taxpayers have recently waited over an hour to speak with an IRS employee.)
  6. Respond to all IRS notices immediately, using the name and number printed on the notice.

If you receive an email from the IRS…it’s not really from the IRS.

Phishing scammers may pose as the IRS and send fake emails, set up phony websites, or even call you. They are usually offering a fictitious refund, the threat of an audit, or an investigation to lure people into giving out their personal information. Phishers then use the information to steal identities, access bank accounts, or file fraudulent returns.

To protect yourself from phishers, consider the following:

1. The IRS NEVER sends email. If you receive an email from the IRS, it IS a scam.

2. Do NOT click on any links contained in such email messages.

3. Forward suspicious email messages to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov or submit these messages through the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing.

4. Never email personal information. Email is not a secure form of communication.

Know who is preparing your tax returns if you outsource this task.

By and large most people who prepare taxes are qualified accountants or reputable tax specialists. But, as with any industry, there are some dishonest people. Sometimes they will skim a portion of your refund or charge unnecessary or unreasonably high tax preparation fees. Some fraudulent return preparers promise tax refunds that are too good to be true. Here is some advice for selecting a tax preparer:

1. Check the tax preparer’s qualifications and history. All paid tax return preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). You can view the preparer’s history via the Better Business Bureau website.

2. Ask about service fees up front. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund. You should also ensure that your refund is deposited directly into your bank account, not theirs.

3. Never sign a blank tax return.

4. Review the entire tax return before signing.

5. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS on Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. You can get the form on the IRS website.

If you have been a victim of any of these scams it is important to act promptly. If you have additional questions about tax-related scams or need further advice, please call us now at 877-254-4254 or contact us online at http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us.

 

 

 

 


IRS Strategy: What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for Your Tax Responsibilities?

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

As you know, the US government is currently in the midst of a partial “shutdown.” One of the many governmental agencies impacted by the shutdown is the IRS. In fact, according to CNN, over 90% of IRS employees are currently not working due to the shutdown.

So what does this mean for your tax responsibilities? A recent CNN reports addresses several common questions:

If you were thinking that the government shutdown meant you would get out of paying your taxes, think again.

While only 9% of Internal Revenue Service employees — roughly 8,750 out of nearly 95,000 workers — are currently working, the underlying tax law remains in effect.

Here are some other things you need to know about your taxes and the IRS during the shutdown:

Will I still have to meet the October 15 deadline?

Yes. Regular filing deadlines will remain in effect during the shutdown. So anyone who requested an extension on their taxes last spring should still file their returns by October 15.

The IRS is urging individuals and businesses to file their tax returns electronically because those returns are usually processed automatically. Paper returns will not be processed until full government operations resume. Yet, they still must be postmarked by October 15 to be considered filed on time.

That means I’ll get the tax refund I’ve been waiting for, right?

Wrong. While tax returns and payments are still expected to be filed during the shutdown, refunds won’t be issued until operations return to normal, the IRS said. 

In other words- yes, you still owe the IRS money and are expected to pay, despite the shutdown. But if the IRS happens to owe you money… well, you’ll have to wait until the shutdown is resolved. This doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who are familiar with the IRS, but it is another reminder of how one-sided the agency can be.

The bottom line, for tax purposes, is that nothing significantly changes during the shutdown. As much as we may wish that the shutdown was a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for taxpayers, that isn’t the case. If you’d like to learn more, or if you need help resolving an IRS dispute, please get in touch with us today!


Can an IRS Lien Override a Mortgage?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

If you owe taxes and haven’t paid, the IRS can place a lien on all personal property including real estate. But what if you have a mortgage on that property? The IRS does not get priority over other liens placed on that property at an earlier date. Therefore the mortgage, which is also considered a lien, is always the most superior lien on a property. This is because the bank granting the mortgage must use the property as collateral in case the homeowner defaults on the loan. An IRS lien never trumps the mortgage lender. This means the IRS can foreclose on a property, but they must pay the mortgage lender off first before collecting any remaining amount to cover tax debt.

Although a Forgiveness and Debt Relief Act exists to protect debtors who lose their homes to foreclosure, not all homeowners are protected. In certain cases the homeowner must pay the taxes. Learn more in this article: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/irs-liens-priority-over-mortgages-7035.html


Wage Garnishments Can Be Avoided

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

If you are having issues with the IRS and it’s been going on for a while, you may be close to having your wages garnished. A wage garnishment is when the IRS takes money from your paycheck before you even see it. There is no limit on the amount the IRS can take out of your paycheck. There is only a limit on how much they have to leave you with. Anything over that amount will go straight from your employer to the IRS. As you can imagine this is a devastating outcome and one to be avoided when possible.

The good news is it usually IS possible to avoid wage garnishments. The IRS does provide a Wage Garnishment Release, which can stop the money from being taken out of your paycheck. This can be a viable option, but the requirements to qualify are strict.

The best way to handle tax problems is to start working with the IRS before they take a nasty action against you! Everyone’s situation is different and at The Willis Firm, we help you find the BEST option to clean up the problem. This video explains more about IRS Wage Garnishments. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyIWI8Bp1mg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUoUryOwvukxCP6VmqJ4KDAg


We Fight For You and Help You Heal

Friday, September 27th, 2013

People feel desperate when they come into our office. Perhaps they’ve made attempts to resolve their issue with the IRS but they aren’t getting anywhere. They know they could lose their house, their car, they could lose everything. The IRS is powerful and they even fear going to jail. I believe in doing things the right way. I’m here to restore your peace of mind and when you’re being harassed by the IRS, I love helping the little guy succeed!

Once you begin working with us, we take the burden off your back and we carry it for you. We have a game plan, one that we’ve used time and again. But we don’t run off and leave you standing in the dust. We explain to you exactly what we are doing and we inform you of each step along the way in your case.

We develop relationships with our clients. We learn who they are, what they do for a living, and we truly help them reach a positive resolution with the IRS. We also form relationships with our business clients and offer them more than tax resolution. We do tax preparation, and we figure out new deductions you may qualify for. But that’s not all we do. We also help our clients through the healing process. You go through mental and emotional hardship getting tax issues fixed and there is a healing process that we help people through to get back into a good mental space.

We offer long-term management and hand-holding for businesses that have had tax problems in the past. We help you with your present problem, help you heal, and offer guidance for future planning. We help you now and in the future. With us on your team you can expect positive results and you will sleep better at night. Call us now at 877-254-4254 and learn more about our services: http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


We Deal With The IRS One-On-One for Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi Residents

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Whether you’ve dealt with the IRS or not you can probably imagine how tough dealing with them can be. If you say the wrong thing, for example, it can be used against you. When you call the IRS you may be on hold for long periods. When you call each time you will probably get a different person each time. It can be a headache.

This is another reason to work with a tax attorney. We develop professional relationships with the IRS caseworkers. We can get your case assigned to a single caseworker and then deal one-on-one with that caseworker. The ability to create this relationship allows us to speak with one agent about your case, and work to save your retirement while helping you maintain the lifestyle you want to live and STILL resolve your tax issues. When you work with an expert you can get the best resolution to your problem. Call us today to get started on the path to freedom and the comfort of letting an expert deal with the IRS on your behalf and represent your best interests. Call us at 877-254-4254 and learn how to get started here: http://www.irsallstar.com/pre-game

 


IRS Tax Strategy: How to Survive an IRS Audit

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The last thing any taxpayer wants to experience is an IRS audit. But it happens to millions of unfortunate taxpayers every year. And as you know, if you’ve been paying attention to these blog entries and articles, small business owners are somewhat more likely to be audited than individual taxpayers.

So what should you do if you receive a notification from the IRS that you’re being audited?

First and foremost – get professional help! It’s a bad idea to face the IRS on your own. A recent Huffington Post article offers a number of additional suggestions:

  • Respond to the IRS within the stated deadline — usually 30 days.
  • Gather and organize receipts pertinent to the issues they’ve identified. This could include statements for credit card, bank, retirement or investment accounts, cancelled checks, W-2 and 1099 forms, cost-basis for property and taxable investments, etc.
  • If you won’t have all requested information ready in time for the audit, contact your auditor to discuss whether it can proceed anyway, or if they’ll agree to postpone it.
  • Bring or send only documentation requested in the initial notice. If you’re meeting for an in-person audit, keep your answers brief and don’t voluntarily provide information that could launch a fishing expedition.
  • If the examiner questions you on an item not mentioned in the initial notice, you’re allowed to ask for additional time to fulfill additional requests.
  • Seek representation, especially if you don’t understand the process or if it’s a field or office audit.
  • Never give original receipts to the IRS agent — they are not responsible for lost paperwork.
  • Always be polite. Acting belligerent or evasive can only hurt your cause.

These tips are helpful, and sticking to them will help avoid further trouble with the IRS. But we can’t stress enough how important it is to be represented by an attorney who focuses exclusively on IRS or tax matters when you face the agency. IRS agents rely on intimidation and other threatening tactics in order to get what they want. And unfortunately, most taxpayers simply aren’t familiar enough with the law to know their own rights and properly defend themselves against the IRS. That’s why you are always better off having an experienced lawyer on your team!

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.


Retirees in Pensacola, Florida Protect Their Retirement Accounts

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Florida Gulf Coast is known as a great place to retire. You may be retired already or getting close, or even in the earlier planning stages. But what happens when you fall into trouble with the IRS? Can the IRS seize your retirement accounts? Even though retirement plans are protected from creditors, unfortunately, the IRS is an exception.

The general rule is if you can get access to it so can the IRS. The IRS can seize retirement accounts, including 401k plans, IRAs, and self-employed plans like SEP-IRAs and Keogh plans. There are no prohibitions in the Internal Revenue Code against it.

How might a person end up in this situation? Imagine someone who has been laid off and has difficulty finding another job. He is forced to live off of his retirement account. Then he gets hit with the tax bill for taking early distribution plus the 10% early distribution penalty, he has no way to pay the amount owed. If your only source of money is continuing to take distributions from your retirement accounts, the IRS will expect you to liquidate the account to pay off the taxes and penalties due.

However, many retirement plans deny you access to your funds unless you retire at the pre-designated age, separate from service, or experience a disability. Also, if you take a job with another company you cannot access the funds. This is good news for you. The IRS cannot force you to end your employment, and as long as you continue working the IRS cannot access your retirement account. The bad news is the IRS will still hunt for its money. They will look towards your wages and other personal assets in order to claim the taxes owed.

What happens if you do have rights to the money in your retirement account and the IRS can get to it? There are a couple of aspects to consider. First, what was your conduct leading to the liability. Was it flagrant? Examples of “flagrant conduct” would be tax evasion, fraud, or making contributions to the account while the unpaid taxes were becoming due. The second consideration is whether you depend on the money in the retirement account, or will in the near future. If it can be determined that your conduct was not flagrant or that you need to depend on the retirement money the IRS CANNOT levy your retirement account.

The IRS must stop trying to claim money that it has no rights to. Occasionally an aggressive IRS Revenue Officer will agree to not touch the retirement account but will instead place a levy on wages if the retirement money is not voluntarily withdrawn. But as you can see there are ways to protect your retirement account.

Any way you look at it though, once you are out of compliance with the IRS they can go to extreme lengths to collect the taxes. Don’t let it get to the point of retirement accounts and wage levies. If you’re in the Gulf Coast area we can help. Come in and meet us and let us show you some better options to get the IRS off your back for good. Call now at 877-254-4254, http://www.irsallstar.com/


Do You Know How to Face a Tax Audit?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

You don’t have to feel bad if you do not know how to face a tax audit. Most people do not have experience dealing with this situation until it is unexpectedly put in their lap. It’s no wonder that it conjures up stress and extreme feelings of fear and dread. If you find that you are facing an audit and you are confused or overwhelmed by the process then you should remember that you have rights. Talking with a qualified tax resolution professional will help you better understand what you should do to protect those rights.

You should also be aware that there are different types of IRS audits and that not all audits are full audits. Sometimes the IRS contacts you for clarification on a specific item that they may be unsure of on your tax return. Other times they may only be challenging a portion of what was included on your tax return. These partial audits can often be taken care of by simply supplying the receipts or needed items that pertain to the section of your return that is under question.

Again, if you feel the IRS has made mistakes or is being unfair towards you then contact us today at 877-254-4254. To read Smart Money Resources description of the different types of tax audits go here. http://www.smartmoneyresources.com/86/what-to-do-when-you-are-facing-a-tax-audit/


Government Report Points Out that Many IRS Seizures are Illegal

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

With all of the scandals that the IRS has recently been facing they can’t really afford to be hit with more bad press. However, that is exactly what is happening. A recent evaluation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that many IRS seizures are actually illegal.

So what does this mean for a taxpayer? Well, it means that if you have tax problems you should make sure that you verify all claims against you and scrutinize how they are handled. It should also encourage you to seek professional advice when facing the IRS. Read more about the Government report in this article by Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/07/05/many-irs-seizures-are-illegal-government-report-reveals/


The IRS is Watching You: Reports Expose IRS Partnership with the NSA and the DEA

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The subject of government spying has been discussed at length recently, particularly as it relates to former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Edward Snowden and his publication of classified information.

Not surprisingly, information has recently become available which indicates that the IRS may have partnered with agencies such as the NSA and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to gather information on unsuspecting taxpayers.

RT.com reports:

The Internal Revenue Service reportedly received incriminating information on US citizens from the Drug Enforcement Agency, with the assistance of the National Security Agency, before concealing the paper trail from defendants.

Details of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program that provides tips to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and then advises them to “recreate the investigative trail” were published in a manual used by IRS agents for two years, Reuters revealed.

The practice of concealing the source of information has attracted the scrutiny of legal experts and is now under review by the US Justice Department.

A brief entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the US tax agency to omit any reference to information provided by the DEA’s Special Operations Division, especially with regard to “affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files.”

The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and removed in early 2007.  An IRS spokesman had no comment on the entry or on why it was removed from the manual, Reuters reported.

The brutal collection efforts that the IRS employs are no surprise to anyone at this point – but it is troubling to learn that the IRS may be leveraging illegal sources of information in their investigations of taxpayers.

Many Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of the government spying on Americans in any context, including national security. How much more uncomfortable should we be knowing that the IRS may be, in effect, spying on Americans in order to collect more taxes? And that they are then trying to “cover their tracks” to prevent the public from knowing about it?

The bottom line is that the IRS will do whatever they can to collect from taxpayers. That’s why it is so critical to work with a tax attorney in the event of an IRS dispute – because an attorney can force the agency to play by the rules. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more!


Read This Before You Select Your Tax Resolutions Representative

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

You’re in trouble with the IRS. You feel overwhelmed, scared and confused. Now is the time that you need to find and speak with a qualified tax resolution professional. However, even though you may feel desperate, you need to take a bit of time to make sure that the representative you choose is qualified, capable and motivated to find the right solution for your specific case. You need to make sure that they have your best interests in mind. So how do you do that? Well, you can start by asking them a few questions.

You should ask:

  • Are you a licensed attorney, a CPA or an enrolled agent?  These are the three types of individuals who have the appropriate credentials to represent you before the IRS.
  • Do you participate in tax resolution and tax law continuing education activities? The tax laws change and you need to know that your representative is keeping up to date on those changes.
  • Are you an active member of any tax specific professional organization? Active membership in such organizations shows their current involvement and their interest in the profession.
  • How much of your practice is devoted to IRS tax resolution? A high percentage of their practice being focused on tax resolution gives you an idea of how much experience they have in the field. Less than 100 percent translates into less tax resolution experience and it also reflect that their focus is on other areas of the law.

Starting with these questions will give you a better idea of the representatives experience and qualifications. Remember, many questionable tax resolution companies have very few adequately trained employees. Your initial consultation should be directly with a licensed attorney, CPA or an enrolled agent. Only someone with those qualifications can adequately help you. That first consultation SHOULD NOT BE WITH A SALESPERSON. If you find that the company you are talking to is using high pressure sales tactics, trying to get you to pay ridiculous upfront fees or making promises of unbelievable results then keep looking. A qualified representative will be straightforward and honest with you and will be looking out for your best interests not their personal sales commission. http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us


Has The IRS Levied Your Bank Account? Garnished Your Wages? Now What Do You Do?

Monday, August 12th, 2013

An IRS Bank Levy or Wage Garnishment can be detrimental to an individual’s financial well being. You should know that it is possible to get your money back or have the garnishment removed. An IRS levy or garnishment can be reversed or released if it is causing you and your family significant economic hardship.

We believe in helping our clients face their tax problems the right way and to help rid them of the economic devastation that the IRS can cause. You can look at these extreme collection tactics by the IRS as a “wake up” call that is meant to get your attention. If you have a severe economic hardship that has been caused by a bank levy or wage garnishment then contact us today. We can schedule a free confidential consultation with you to discuss your options and start finding the right way to help you face your tax problems. http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us


What Exactly Does a Reputable Tax Resolution Professional Do?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

You have tax problems. That is a serious issue and one that should lead you to look for help. Perhaps you are hesitating because you do not know how to find help or who to go to. It is normal for you to feel anxiety and stress when faced with tax problems but this is no reason to jump onto the first “quick fix” that you are offered. Your very first step should be to schedule a consultation with a licensed attorney, a CPA or an enrolled agent. Whoever you choose should have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Avoid large tax resolution firms that use strong sales pitches, offer extreme promises of success and ask for large upfront fees before they have even done anything.

So, you may ask, “Alright, I’ll look for a reputable tax resolution professional but what exactly will they do for me?”

Well, quite simply, an experienced tax resolution professional will perform specific actions to successfully engage the IRS on your behalf. They will start by doing some serious research and fact-finding on your case. An initial consultation can take an hour or longer so that they can collect all of the information on your existing tax issues. At this stage it is very important that you are honest with them so that they can select the best available options for solving your case. Hiding information from them may lead to certain factors about your case being looked over, factors that could be game changers in the success of your resolution.

A few things they may want to know about include:

  • What type of taxes that you owe. Individual, corporate, payroll, estate or excise taxes?
  • Whether or not you owe federal or state taxes. Of if you owe a combination of both.
  • Whether or not you have filed all of your past tax returns. If you haven’t they will want to know which years you missed.
  • Your financial goals.
  • If you think you have overpaid your taxes or if you believe the IRS has made a mistake in their assessment of what you owe.
  • Finally, they should want to know if you are confused, overwhelmed and perhaps unsure of what is going on with your case.

Taking the information from the consultation the tax resolution professional will also conduct research into your case to try to fully understand what you are facing. They may conduct an investigation of their own into what the IRS has on file about you and what charges you are facing exactly.

After the research is conducted the tax resolution professional will have a pretty good idea of what options are available to you. They will present you with your options and should explain in detail what each option will do for your specific situation. They will build a strategy to face your IRS problem using viable options and then take you through a step-by-step process to implement that strategy. They will shield you from the IRS and help relieve the pressure that may be being placed on you through liens, levies and garnishments. Finally, they will help you finalize a solution with the IRS that works in your best interest and help pull you out of financial hardship.

If you are facing tax problems make sure you schedule a consultation with a qualified tax resolution professional today. Don’t wait. Every day you ignore the problem is another day that the IRS will use to increase their collection pressure tactics. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Several Montgomery Alabama Residents Indicted For Tax Fraud!

Friday, June 28th, 2013

A group of Montgomery Alabama Residents were recently indicted by a federal grand jury for involvement in tax fraud. The group faces charges that include conspiracy and theft of government money.  One of the individuals charged, Tarrish Tellis, was also indicted on 5 counts of aggravated identity theft. The groups is accused of using the identities to file false federal income tax returns. If convicted each of the defendants faces a maximum potential sentence of five years for conspiracy . They also face 10 years in prison for each theft of government funds and Tarrish faces a mandatory 2 years sentence for aggravated identity theft.

Identity theft has been shown to be on the rise in the last few years. You can do a few things to protect yourself. One way to avoid having someone target your tax refund is to file your taxes early.

  • You can also follow a few tricks to help prevent Identity theft:
  • Create passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers.
  • Keep a list of account numbers and their expiration dates and contact telephone numbers filed away.
  • Pay attention to account notices telling you that your account information has changed and make sure you are the one that changed that information.
  • Keep your social security number safe.
  • Sign up for a credit monitoring service so that you can stay on top of credit activity.
  • Be careful what personal information you give over the phone.
  • Shred  bank statements, returned checks, credit card offers, receipts and other sensitive information before you throw it away.
  • Pick up your new checks at the bank and avoid them being grabbed while in the mail.
  • Don’t carry all of your documents with you all of the time. Only carry what you need.
  • Make sure anyone who has access to your records is reliable and keeps them guarded as well.

Doing these few things will help you avoid being a target for identity thieves. To read about the individuals being accused in Alabama read this. http://www.wtvy.com/home/headlines/Alabama-Residents-Indicted-on–204899041.html


IRS Tax Liens Have Increased in the Past Few Year.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Recently the news has been reporting regularly about Mary J. Blige facing a 3.4 Million IRS Tax Lien for her unpaid taxes. The Grammy award winning singer and her husband owe back taxes for 2009, 2010 and 2011. This all comes shortly after it was reported that Lauryn Hill, another Grammy award artist, will start a three month jail sentence beginning in July for tax evasion

However, the truth is Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill are not the only people being faced with strict IRS collection tactic. According to tax statistics the IRS has increased the amount of tax liens they are placing on properties in the last few years. Often a lien is the very first collection tactic the taxman pursues if you have failed to pay an IRS Notice and Demand of Payment. If you’re facing this situation make sure that you get help as soon as possible. Don’t let the tax problems build. To read more about the case of Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill you can read these articles.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323728204578513480981736420.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/singer-lauryn-hill-prepares-for-jail-for-tax-evasion-while-also-facing-eviction


Facing a Tax Lien? Find Out Your Options Now.

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Does your Alabama home already have a tax lien on it? Do you feel trapped and unable to move forward? Are you afraid to try to sell your home for fear of the tax lien holding back the sale? Are you hiding from taking action because you don’t feel you have any options? You need to know that there are options, there is a way out.

If you have received an IRS Notice & Demand of Payment and you have chosen not to pay then you have 10 days before the IRS can begin the process of placing a lien on your property. However, this is not the only problem you face if you do not take action. The IRS can also garnish your wages and seize property if you don’t act. Again, you do have options and your first step to facing your problem and beginning the process of taking care of it starts with getting help. Learn more about facing tax liens and receiving relief. http://taxhelpmobile.com/


IRS Tax Controversy: Can We Trust the IRS?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

None of us like the IRS. As taxpayers, it is natural that we want to keep as much of our hard earned money in our own pockets each year. At the same time, most of us understand that the government does need revenue in order to function, and recognize that some level of taxation is necessary, even if we don’t enjoy it.

But last month we learned that the agency in charge of collecting these revenues, the IRS, was inappropriately targeting conservative political organizations for additional scrutiny. And while most of us don’t run political organizations, we do deal with the IRS. And if we can’t trust the agency to operate ethically with regards to political groups, how can we trust them to operate fairly in our own affairs?

A recent article posted on FOXNEWS.com points out just how troubling these developments are:

In the last few weeks we’ve learned that the IRS has been reading private email, monitoring private phone records, using audits to harass conservatives, and will soon be policing our health care.

U.S. citizens have testified before Congress that their conservative organization’s confidential donor list was leaked to its “principal political opponent,” which could be a felony.

A few days after the news hit headlines, IRS executive Lois Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment, exercising her constitutional right under the fifth amendment, not to incriminate herself. Ironically, while on her watch, the IRS blatantly violated the civil rights of countless Americans.

Acting IRS Director Steven Miller, speaking under oath, told a congressional committee that he didn’t know his low-level operatives were targeting more than 300 organizations—all conservative, many faith-based—and denied or delayed their applications for non-profit status.

The arrogant power grab is leading us down a path toward a nanny state. We don’t believe the government should have the power to control our speech, our religious liberties and now our health care. No wonder they also want to control our guns.

If the question is “can we trust the IRS to operate legally and responsibly?” the answer is clearly “no.” For the future of our democracy, let’s all hope that the agency can make the changes necessary to ensure that each and every taxpayers is treated fairly.

In the meantime, if you’re involved in an IRS dispute, we can help. Please contact us today to learn more!


Why the Pre-Game Checklist is Helpful

Monday, June 17th, 2013

You have decided to face your tax problem and are ready to talk with someone. Why then would you want to use our pre-game checklist before you call? After all, you want to take care of your tax issues right now! Well, there are two main reasons why we provide a Pre-Game Checklist.

First, it helps get the information in order. Having the correct information available when you call us will help us better assess your situation and determine what next steps to take. It allows us to make sure your case starts off the right way, with the right facts and helps us address your needs correctly.

The second reason we like the Pre-game checklist is that it changes the way that YOU think about your tax problem. When you gather the facts together you start the path towards empowering yourself through conscious action. The few small steps you take to pull together the basic information helps you begin taking control and finding the courage to move forward. Then, when you call, we can help you look at that information and find the right solutions. To see the Pre-Game Checklist go here. http://www.irsallstar.com/pre-game


Facing Your Tax Problems In the Right Way

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

When you have tax problems the fear you feel can overwhelm your thoughts. When this happens you may try to hide or ignore what is happening. However, this is not the best tactic for your situation or for yourself. Ignoring your tax problem will only make the stress build, your anxiety grow, and will eventually lead to an increase in the IRS’s pressure on you. In order to avoid this increase of stress and IRS pressure you need to face the problem and take the correct steps to care for your specific tax issue.

The first step to facing the IRS is finding help. Often clients we help are not only fearful but confused and unsure of the options available to them. We believe in doing things the right way and finding the best options for our clients. We stand between you and the IRS and defend you against them. We help you face the fear and the anxiety and work towards empowering you with the correct steps and knowledge to take care of your tax problems. http://www.irsallstar.com/about-us


Best Ways to Prepare Yourself For a Tax Audit

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

None of us wants to face a tax audit. The IRS is an intimidating organization and often the idea of facing them can strike fear in anyone. However, there are some things that you can do that will help make a tax audit go a bit smoother.

Maintain accurate records now.

Ultimately the IRS makes it your responsibility to keep accurate records to prove your deductions and income in the event of an audit. When you collect and organize your records throughout the year it will make it easier to prepare your return and it will help you ensure your filed tax return will be accurate. The other plus side of maintaining records is that having them will allow you to build a solid defense if the IRS audits you.

Records you should get in the habit of maintaining are: At least three years of tax returns and all related tax return materials. Accurate records of your checking and savings accounts, including checkbook stubs. Categorized receipts from all purchases and copies of your regular bills. Records of all costs to maintain property and any investments that are taxable. A journal of your deductible items that you write in at the time you pay for each item. If for any reason you do not feel capable of organizing these records yourself then you could benefit greatly by hiring a qualified tax professional to help you.

So what if you have already been picked for a tax audit? Well, you need to get yourself prepared to face it immediately. Don’t try to hide from this event. Trying to avoid the IRS will only make the situation worse.

First - Take a look at the details of your return and make sure you have a good understanding of the contents. If you did not file your return then get help immediately and start filing as soon as you can.

Make sure you organize your return so that you can support any items being questioned by the IRS. Again, getting help at this time from a tax attorney who knows how the IRS works and how to take care of these situations the right way can be very helpful. This is especially true if you are confused or you feel that the situation being brought to you by the IRS is over your head. Don’t feel ashamed to get help, it is your right to seek council and taxes can be very confusing.

Second - Understand what penalties you are facing

These are some of the common penalties the IRS may be threatening you with.

  • Interest Due – Interest will accumulate from the due date of your return (which includes extensions) until the date that you pay the cost of the penalty on any violations that have to do with fraud, negligence, failure to file on time and misrepresentation of property or asset value.  If the penalty is for anything else then interest will not be charged as long as you pay within 21 days and the penalty is under 100,000.
  • 20% penalty usually applies to whatever portion of tax underpayment was associated to misvaluation of property, negligence or disregard for the rules and severe tax liability understatement.
  • 75% Penalty often applies to serious tax underpayments that are based on fraud. If the IRS is accusing you of fraud you need to seek legal counsel immediately and realise that it will be on you to prove that the IRS is wrong.

Prison – Serious cases of tax evasion and other tax crimes can result in severe fines, the forfeiture of assets and incarceration. Avoid this at all cost. Seek help from legal counsel immediately if you are facing this type of IRS investigation.

Finally, If you have unfiled tax returns, are facing severe penalties, are being audited for business or unpaid payroll taxes or find yourself overwhelmed in anyway seek help now. Talking with a tax attorney will help you be sure of the correct steps to take in order to handle your case. Having someone on your side at a time like this will ease the stress and confusion. Call us today at. 877-254-4254 or email us at help@irsallstar.com.  Or you can fill out our online form here. http://www.irsallstar.com/contact-us


Taking a Hike Up the Fiscal Cliff:

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Many of us have heard of, if aren’t entirely familiar with, the Fiscal Cliff Deal that Obama passed this past January, but many of us seem to have forgotten about the Bush Tax Cuts. We know that this year, our taxes went up 2%, but while many individuals think of it as a tax hike, it is actually the end of an era of tax cuts. See, back in 2001, President George W. Bush began to slowly phase in reduced income tax rates in order to bolster an economic recession that had its roots in Clinton’s presidency. The goal of the tax breaks was to create a stronger foundation for future growth.

By 2003, it was clear that the slow-going way in which Bush was trying to introduce the tax cuts wasn’t helping the economy any. So, not one to give up, President Bush, with Congressional Approval, decided to speed up those rate reductions, to lower rates on capital gains and to get rid of the estate tax altogether. It was at about the time that he made these changes that the economy began to show significant signs of growth.

The Bush-era tax breaks were supposed to be permanent improvements to the tax system, but even though they were granted a two-year extension, they were forced to an abrupt end by the approval of 2013’s Fiscal Cliff Deal. When the Fiscal Cliff Deal was proposed by the Obama administration last year, it was met with so much resistance that there was talk of it not even going through – which, even though that’s what many people wanted, wouldn’t have helped our economy any. However, during the final hours of 2012, it was approved, and Americans across the nation began to prepare for the worst – the worst namely being the 2% tax increase.

But now, it’s actually looking as if the Fiscal Cliff Deal wasn’t all-bad. With our country boasting over $700 billion of debt, experts are starting to weigh in, with some being so bold as to say that the extra 2% can really help to turn this economy around. Read on to find out what the experts are saying: http://bit.ly/14sW0x8


IRS Admits to Inappropriately Targeting Political Organizations

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Plenty of taxpayers have dealt with IRS scrutiny, particularly in the form of an audit or tax controversy. We have personally worked with hundreds of taxpayers in their battles with the agency. And while these disputes are unpleasant, at least we can take solace in the fact that the IRS is staffed with agents who will consistently uphold the law and deal fairly with each person.

Right?

Not really. As you probably already know, it was revealed this month that IRS agents spent more than a year singling out specific organizations for extra scrutiny. As the LA Times reports:

Congressional investigators are broadening their inquiry into the Internal Revenue Service’s mishandling of groups seeking tax-exempt status, indicating that they plan to examine how the agency dealt with a wide swath of nonprofit applications during the last three years.

An inspector general’s report found that some 501(c)4 applications by conservative groups were singled out for extra review and that the groups were sent intrusive requests for additional information.

“Targeting applicants for tax-exempt status using political labels threatens to undermine the public’s trust in the IRS,” the senators wrote. “Lack of candor in advising the Senate of this practice is equally troubling.”

This case is alarming for a variety of reasons. It makes one wonder how much more of this type of behavior exists but simply goes undetected.

More practically, it erodes confidence in the IRS. A taxpayer that is engaged in an audit or a tax dispute already feels like he or she is in an impossible situation—but the knowledge that IRS agents have been known to violate the law makes it seem even worse.

And then there is the hypocrisy—an agency that expects taxpayers to account for every penny they spend and follow every obscure regulation doesn’t hold themselves to the same standard. It’s disappointing to say the least.

All of this underscores the need to work with an attorney who understands tax law. You clearly can’t expect the IRS to play by the rules—so if you’re facing an IRS dispute, give us a call and let us keep them honest. Please feel free to contact us today to learn more!


“I’m spending a year dead for tax reasons…” If this is you, I understand—but there is an easier way:

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Tax-day has come and gone, and while many taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief, there are just as many more individuals who will be receiving collection notices from the IRS any day now—not because they didn’t file on time, but because they simply can’t afford to pay all the money owed up front. If you are in this situation, I understand that instinct says to hide from the IRS, or “play dead,” until the storm has passed, but this is the worst thing you can do. Yes, the IRS is powerful, and yes, they can be scary, but if you just talk to them, chances are, they’ll work out an agreement with you.

For many Americans, making a deal with the IRS is comparative to striking a deal with the devil – It’s foolish! Dangerous! It’s just asking for trouble! But you would be surprised that, even if they aren’t the most warm and fuzzy American institution, the IRS is reasonable. There are real-life people working behind the green curtain, and each of them has their own bills to pay and stomachs to feed – if you just explain to them that your budget is tight and you need to make monthly payments instead of one mass one, they won’t deny you.

But if it’s that easy, many people wonder, why don’t more people do it? Well, for starters, you have to have a legitimate reason for needing an installment plan. Coming to an agreement with the IRS involves much more than a traditional handshake – it involves full financial disclosure on your part and much analysis on theirs. Not only will they determine whether or not you’re really strapped for cash, but they’ll want to get a good estimate of just how much you can afford to pay them each month. They will let you set the monthly amount, but if it’s too low, they’ll demand more, so you want to be sure to come up with an amount that works for the both of you.

Lastly, most people would prefer to clean out their bank accounts on April 15th and be done with the IRS for the next year than to have to deal with them every month for the foreseeable future. If you choose to do monthly installments, there is no telling how long you’ll have the IRS knocking at your door for. Just know that if you opt for an installment agreement, you’re opting to live with Uncle Sam until your taxes are paid off in full.

I understand that dealing with the IRS alone can be scary, even if you are trying to work with them, which is why I make it my job to help you. I don’t want taxes to be your undoing, and I don’t want you to play dead for a year – for support, and advice on how to apply for an installment agreement, contact my office today. http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services#5


With no one to regulate them, tax preparers are making their own rules—Don’t be the one to pay for their mistakes:

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Welcome to the Wild, Wild West, where honest, tax-paying citizens are hoodwinked for a quick buck and then hung-out to dry. This tax-season, an estimated 60% of the 140 million tax-filers will employ the help of a professional preparer, according to the Internal Revenue Service. While for many, this may seem like the best way to get the most from their return, recent investigations are discovering that paid preparers are responsible for a vast majority of the IRS’s headaches. In fact, Tax Preparer Fraud ranked third on the IRS’s list of top 12 scams this year. This is due to the many professionals who are entrusted with millions of returns each year, and who don’t feel any qualms about short-changing their customers on refunds or preparing fraudulent returns—just to gain some extra pocket change.

Unfortunately, though the IRS is doing everything in their power to protect the taxpayer, the only ones who will be protected this tax-season—and who will remain unscathed from the backlash of the scams—are the preparers themselves. As it stands now, taxes are an individual’s responsibility, and if fraud occurs at the hands of somebody else, the taxpayer is still liable, which means that the innocent will be the ones to pay.

So, how do you know if you’re the victim of tax-fraud? And if you are, what can you do about it?

For starters, be weary of a too-big refund. I know many of you don’t want to hear this, but if a refund is too big, it generally indicates that something went awry during filing. Oftentimes, deductions were too large, dependents were unjustified or incomes falsified. Though your preparer could have made these errors in innocence, more often than not, mistakes such as these are made intentionally. Many preparers demand a generous portion of the filer’s refund, and the larger the refund, the bigger the paycheck. This is illegal, but with no one to regulate their actions, tax-preparers get away with it time and time again.

If you suspect that your refund is much more than you paid in taxes last year, seek the second opinion of another professional. Though it might take them years to get to your case, chances are good that the IRS will come after you for their money, and what it might cost you to get a second opinion won’t be near as much as what you will owe the IRS should they determine you’re worth an investigation.

Too little a refund is also a sign of tax-preparer fraud. Private investigators have been turning up evidence of professional preparers shorting filers on their refunds and keeping the remaining balance for themselves. The tax-preparer is ultimately responsible for what information is entered on the return, and the tax formula is so complicated that the normal, everyday person wouldn’t know what to look for on an ill-prepared return even if they wanted to double check it—which they don’t, because most people trust their tax-preparer.

Unfortunately, trusting your tax-preparer can be a mistake. Because they have so much control – and because many individuals are blissfully ignorant of the way the tax-system works – preparers have worked out a seemingly foul-proof way to scam the average worker out of their hard earned cash.

The tax-preparer gets the client to sign a fake or incomplete return, one that shows a refund amount of only a few hundred dollars. Though the amount is a lot smaller than they expected, the disheartened filer shrugs his or her shoulders, signs on the dotted line and pays the preparer a small fee for their services. The preparer tells the filer they’ll call when the refund is in, and the filer leaves feeling duped—not by the preparer, but by the government.

Meanwhile, the preparer completes the real return—which shows a refund of a couple thousand—sends it in to the IRS and receives the full refund, which they keep. To keep up appearances, they send a couple hundred to the filer, who is none the wiser, and everybody is happy.

There are a few ways you can keep a situation like this from happening to you. First of all, don’t ever sign an incomplete return. If you notice that some lines are empty, or that the numbers don’t match the numbers you gave the preparer, question them. These are you taxes, and this is your money – you have a right to ask as many questions and demand as many answers as you please. Secondly, don’t ever agree to have the return sent to your preparer. Doing so is not a common custom, and any preparer that says so is hiding something. Lastly, just be smart. If a tax-preparer seems unprofessional, is quick to get you in and out of the door, demands a fee, or can’t seem to answer any of your questions—walk away. The headache of trying to find a legitimate tax-preparer is nothing when compared to the headache of having to deal with the IRS after an ill-prepared return.

What the IRS is doing to prevent tax-preparer fraud:

Last year, the IRS was pushing for a law that would crack down on professional preparers, and therefore, eradicate fraud and abuse in tax return filing. They proposed the following:

  • All paid preparers will be required to register with the IRS and obtain an identification number. These preparers would be subject to a compliance check to ensure that all returns are being filed correctly, and that the taxes due will be paid on time.
  • All paid tax preparers will be required to take a competency test.
  • They will be required to receive on-going professional education.
  • All ethical rules that apply to attorneys, CPAs and EAs will apply to paid preparers as well.

However, the case was shot down at the beginning of this year; but with rising fraud, it looks like something will need to be done here in the very near future.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of tax fraud, or if you want to avoid the possibility altogether, visit me at IRS All-Star, where we value nothing more than our relationship with you, and where we pride ourselves on being ethical through and through. http://www.irsallstar.com


Five Tax Tips for Business Owners and the Self-Employed

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Tax season is winding down, and I hope that all of you made it through without too much trauma!

In all seriousness, this is a great time to review your strategy in order to determine whether you need to change things moving forward. Perhaps your current strategy increases the chances that you will face an audit or an IRS dispute—or maybe it’s leading to overpayment of taxes.

Whatever the case may be, it makes sense to review your strategy as we move into 2013. This is particularly true for business owners and self-employed individuals because their tax filing requirements can be particularly complicated. In that spirit, today I’d like to share five critical steps that every business owner should keep in mind as they consider their tax strategy.

1) Withhold, withhold, withhold. The most common reason that the self-employed get into trouble with the IRS is because they haven’t been withholding money for taxes. Because you don’t have an employer to withhold taxes from each paycheck, it’s up to you to withhold on your own. Twenty percent is usually a good place to start.

2) Keep business expenses and personal expenses separate. Mixing up your business transactions and personal transactions can be an accounting nightmare—but worse, it’s a giant red flag to the IRS. Separate bank accounts and credit cards are highly recommended.

3) Keep accurate records of income. If the IRS audits you and finds that you didn’t report all of your income, you will face substantial penalties. Record your income and report it accurately. It’s not worth trying to hide income from the IRS.

4) Record your expenses and deductions. As a business owner, you are entitled to a variety of tax deductions—everything from vehicle mileage to a home-office deduction. But if you don’t record it, you can’t claim it. So keep ALL necessary records! This is vital in the event that you are audited by the IRS.

5) Don’t stress yourself out. Sure, dealing with the IRS isn’t pleasant. But if you are disciplined and keep careful records all year long, tax season doesn’t have to be a painful and stressful experience.

Questions or comments? Would you like to learn more? Or perhaps you need assistance resolving an IRS dispute? We can help- please feel free to contact us today!


Filing Your Taxes Soon? These IRS Tips Will Help

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

As the month of April rolls around, millions of taxpayers across the country will be filing their taxes in order to meet the IRS deadline of April 15. If you’re one of these people, an article recently posted on BizJournals.com has some suggestions that may be helpful. Below are three of them:

1. E-file your taxes. It’s a fast, easy and accurate way to file, and for most people it’s free. The IRS’s Free File partnership with several tax software companies allows most filers to prepare and e-file their returns free online. It’s only available at www.irs.gov . Extensions are free, too, through IRS Free File, but must be filed by April 15.

2. Don’t miss the earned income tax credit. Many lower-income workers, including some grandparents raising grandchildren and rural residents, miss out on EITC each year. Even if you couldn’t claim EITC on previous tax returns, changes in your income or marital status or having a child may allow you claim it for 2012. If you worked some part of last year and your household income was below $50,270, you may qualify for EITC. Use the EITC Assistant at IRS.gov to find out.

3. Watch out for tax scams. Emails that appear to be from the IRS probably are not. Scammers may go phishing for your private information by alerting you to a nonexistent refund or threatening you with an audit if you don’t respond. The IRS never uses email, texts or any social media to initiate contact with taxpayers. Never.

At this point, you’ve still got time to complete your taxes—but remember that if you fail to have your return completed and postmarked by April 15, your return is late and you are subject to IRS penalties. In addition, waiting until the last moment often causes increased stress—and increases the likelihood of mistakes as you rush to beat the deadline. So don’t put it off much longer!

If you’d like help preparing your tax returns, we would be glad to assist. In addition, if you’re facing an IRS dispute or other complications, we can help. Our team is standing by… please get in touch with us today!


Paying Taxes with Credit? Is It a Good Idea.

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The article “Should I Pay My Taxes With Plastic?” posted on Smartmoney.com gives us a bit of insight into the issues with paying your taxes with your credit card. While you may dread the idea of owing the IRS money and find that charging you taxes to the plastic is convenient you may be overlooking the overall cost of extra charges. The “convenience fee” charge may not be overwhelming when you owe a small amount but it can get hefty when paying larger bills.

Also, by paying with a credit card you may be overlooking options to pay your debt that will charge you less interest over the long run. There is the possibility that you may qualify to set up an installment-payment plan with the IRS directly. While the interest rate the IRS charges is subject to change there is a good chance it is cheaper than the interest rate that you will get from your credit card company.

Keep in mind if your tax debt is extreme, delinquent and/or you are facing IRS collection actions make sure you contact a reliable tax attorney to find out the best options available for your situation. To read the SmartMoney article about paying your taxes with your credit card see http://www.smartmoney.com/taxes/income/tax-tips-should-i-pay-my-taxes-with-plastic/


The Bankruptcy Option

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Many tax resolution companies do not talk about your option to file for bankruptcy to relieve yourself from your tax debt. It is a common myth that bankruptcy can not be used to discharge tax debt. However, bankruptcy, while frequently a last resort, is the best option for certain clients. Don’t let other resolution companies automatically take this option out of your tax resolution strategy. The reason many of them avoid this possibility is because they are not attorneys and therefore can not help you with the bankruptcy process.

If you are dealing with tax debt, IRS collection, or are afraid that you will be in the future it will serve you well to speak with a tax attorney who knows how to handle your case the right way. A reliable tax attorney will know all of the options that are available to you and will be able to advise you on the best options available for your specific situation. Bankruptcy may be a good option for you but hesitating to take care of your tax problem is not. Learn more about your options. See http://www.irsallstar.com/our-services


John Willis Co-author of “Protect and Defend – Proven Strategies from America’s Leading Attorneys.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Legal problems can happen to anyone but not many of us are prepared for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you had professional advice from some of Americas leading attorneys at your side? Introducing “Protect and Defend” a book that brings together the practical advice of America’s Leading Attorneys on their specific area of expertise.

Included in this helpful book is a chapter written by tax attorney John P. Willis who gives us advice on how to select an allstar tax resolution team. This chapter walks you through the process of finding a reputable tax resolution professional and what qualifications that representative should have. He also touches on the tax resolution fee structure and why guaranteed results should raise concerns when dealing with a tax resolution professional.

Click here to learn more about the book and Tax Resolution Attorney John P. Willis. http://www.irsallstar.com/news/tax-resolution-attorney-john-p-willis-iv-signs-publishing-deal-with-celebritypress-to-release-protect-and-defend.php


How To Steer Clear of Creating IRS Problems.

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Whether you are currently dealing with tax problems, just cleared yourself and are starting fresh or have never had an issue with the IRS you can benefit from taking steps that will help you avoid problems with the IRS in the future. Below you will find a few simple reminders and steps that will help keep you out of tax trouble.

File Your Tax Returns on Time

Making sure you file your taxes correctly every year for yourself as well as your business will help you avoid the slippery slope to larger IRS problems. Filing on time helps you avoid penalties and fees. Also if the IRS ever audits your returns the fact that you filed on time will be in your favor.

Pay Future Taxes

The number one reason taxpayers have IRS problems is due to the fact that they didn’t pay taxes they owed. If you want to avoid tax problems you must make sure you “Pay As You Go”. This means that if you are employed make sure that your current tax withholding is enough to pay this years taxes! If you do not know how to figure this out then you must find a competent professional who can help you.

If you are self-employed you can really hurt yourself with the IRS. Since no one is taking out tax withholdings from your checks you can make the mistake of not setting aside and paying the correct amount of taxes needed for you to be safe at tax time. In order to avoid problems with self-employment pay you need to pay Estimated Taxes. By doing this you will also be showing the IRS that you have good intentions to pay and this may work in your favor if there are any problems.

There is an easy way to pay the IRS during the year. Basically, whenever you get a check or cash from a customer as payment you should immediately take 20% of the check or cash and send it to the IRS for this year’s taxes. The percentage may be a little high or low but it is a starting place and can be adjusted later. By sending in an estimated tax to the IRS you can avoid owing more at the end of the year then you can afford. Make sure you send the check or money order with you name, social security number and the words “1040ES Tax Year 20XX”(“XX” is the year in question) written in the memo area. Make sure you keep a clear record and copies of the checks or money orders that you do send.

If you follow these simple tips you can avoid a lot of future problems with the IRS. If tax issues do arise the IRS is more likely to look kindly on your case since you showed a certain amount of good intention in regards to your tax responsibilities.

Again, if you are confused by your taxes make sure that you get competent help from a professional. If you find that you have not done so well with your taxes in the past, owe tax debt, have not filed in awhile or have the IRS pursuing you for unpaid taxes make sure you find a reliable tax attorney to help you take care of your tax problems the right way. http://www.irsallstar.com/


Attention Parents: Keep These Tips in Mind While Filing Your Taxes

Monday, February 18th, 2013

If you’re a parent, you know that kids are expensive. They’re fun, they’re fulfilling… but they’re expensive! However, when it comes to paying your taxes, your kids can actually save you money. Patch.com identifies several specific ways that parents can reduce their tax burden:

Dependents. In most cases, you can claim a child as a dependent even if your child was born anytime in 2012.   For more information, see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for each of your children that were under age 17 at the end of 2012. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information, see the instructions for Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid someone to care for your child or children under age 13, so that you could work or look for work. See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

Earned Income Tax Credit. If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you may qualify for EITC. If you have qualifying children, you may get up to $5,891 dollars extra back when you file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant to find out if you qualify. See Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit.

Adoption Credit. You may be able to take a tax credit for certain expenses you incurred to adopt a child. For details about this credit, see the instructions for IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

You’ve worked hard for your money all year long—so don’t pay the IRS a penny more than you must. As a parent, there are a number of opportunities to save money on your taxes. If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like help maximizing deducting and credits when you file your taxes, please get in touch with us today!


The Inside Life of a Former IRS Collections Official

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

IRS revenue officers are among the most powerful people on the government payroll. Ten days after the IRS demands payment, they can seize a taxpayer’s possessions. They can serve a levy on a third party such as a bank or employer. If they suspect you may try to skip town they can seize your possessions right away. And all of this can be done without a court order!

I want to direct you to a fascinating article written by a former IRS Revenue Officer. He admits that the motive of IRS tactics is not so much about collecting the money, as it is about instilling fear and creating a vision of massive IRS power in the eyes of the public. In reality, there are not enough IRS Revenue Officers to handle all of their collection cases. It is much easier to create the illusion of fear in order to scare people into compliance. This former IRS employee was encouraged to seize property and create a big ruckus in the media when he knew full well that these taxpayers would be eligible for installment agreements and other collection alternatives to help them deal with their tax debts. This former employee talks about one administrator he knew who earned a promotion by refusing every offer in compromise brought before him.

As a taxpayer who may be in trouble, this is what you are up against. This is why having an experienced and knowledgeable tax attorney is critical to your success. Eliminating this “fear-factor” and removing the “drama” is one of the reasons why I love doing what I do. Together we can figure out your issues and get your life back! I encourage you to call us today: http://www.irsallstar.com/

Also, to read the full story from the former IRS agent, check the article here: http://www.unclefed.com/TxprBoR/JWWade.html


The Truth about Bankruptcy and Back Taxes

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

One of the biggest misconceptions I see is the belief that bankruptcy is not a realistic option for eliminating back taxes. I want to clarify this misunderstanding. Bankruptcy is a good option for some people. There are some big exceptions when it comes to bankruptcy as a method of tax relief because not all taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and it’s often considered a last resort. Bankruptcy laws have recently become more restricted, so if you file for bankruptcy it doesn’t necessarily mean your tax debt will be discharged. There is a lot of bad information out there about this. Rest assured we can help you decide what the best option is for you. Don’t assume something isn’t possible. We can help you see what IS possible. Call us today for an initial consultation: http://www.irsallstar.com/


Tax Attorney Advice: Do’s and Don’ts with the IRS

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

When that knock comes on your door and you want to hide because you know it’s the IRS here’s what you should and shouldn’t do…
DO
- Consult with an experienced tax professional
- File all of your tax returns whether or not you can afford to pay what’s owed. Not filing your tax returns is a crime!
- Meet the callback deadlines provided discussed in IRS correspondence and notices.
-Treat IRS employees with respect, even when you don’t want to.

DON’T
- Lie to the IRS
- Hire any firm telling you there are legal ways to exempt yourself from taxes. These are scammers!
- Procrastinate
- Blame others for your situation. Let’s get to a solution as quickly as possible. Call us today to learn more: http://www.irsallstar.com/


IRS Controversy: If You’re Not Careful, Your Dispute Will Spiral Out of Control

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

You’ve probably heard the saying “don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” It’s common sense, something most of us heard from our parents or our teachers—the idea that we shouldn’t take a small problem and blow it up into something huge. Well, somebody needs to explain this concept to the IRS. It’s amazing how often a minor error or a perfectly innocent mistake balloons into a huge problem. IRS penalties and interest add up and quickly become unrealistic.

And then, before you know it, the IRS is coming after your home or other assets. A recent article published in South Carolina’s Aiken Standard reports one such story:

An Aiken man who owes more than $1.7 million in taxes, interest and penalties could lose his home and the 150-acre property on which the Internal Revenue Service has a tax lien.

On Wednesday, the IRS and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against Edward “Ed” F. Scanlon, his wife Debra J. Scanlon and the First Citizens Bank and Trust Company hoping to foreclose on that lien.

The suit alleges that the Scanlons failed jointly to fully pay federal income tax in 2002, 2003 and 2004; and that Ed Scanlon failed to pay individually in 1999 and 2000. The total debt, according to court documents, is $1,709,654.90.

First Citizens is named in the suit as it holds the mortgage on the Kitchings Mill area property which the IRS wishes to foreclose on.

“This is an ongoing, longstanding problem between me and the IRS, having to do with income I generated years ago,” Ed Scanlon said Thursday, who was unaware of the suit until contacted by the Aiken Standard. “I’m in the middle of changing my legal (and financial) representation. I hoped, I had hoped, they would defer any action for a month so I could get this worked out.”

Without knowing the details of the case, it’s impossible to comment on it specifically. But there are countless taxpayers and business owners in this country who could share similar stories of IRS over-aggression. And many times, it was simple mistakes that caused the problem to begin with.

If you’re in a similar situation, it’s important that you take steps to resolve it quickly while it is still manageable. If you’d like to learn more, or if you


Staying Out of Jail and How Your Tax Attorney Can Help

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

When I meet with a new client for the first time I understand they are afraid. They are scared of losing their property. Maybe they have not filed their tax returns for a few years, or they simply don’t have the funds to pay what they owe. The biggest question on their mind is “Will I go to jail?” My answer is: Take a deep breath and know that many options are available.

It is not a crime to owe the IRS money. However, failing to file is a crime. The law states that one year of jail time can be required for each year taxes aren’t filed. Tax evasion is a federal offense. Therefore, sentencing on such cases can be influenced by the Guidelines established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. These “Guidelines” list every possible federal violation and rank them in a way in which the larger offenses are more heavily penalized than the smaller offenses. So owing the IRS $5,000 would not be punished as harshly as owing them $250,000. However, this manual is only a guideline and judges are allowed to take liberties with what the text suggests.

Each case is different. A person may be sentenced to community service, probation, or home confinement rather than jail. Probation is when the offender is ordered to follow certain rules and conditions established by the court and the offender is often supervised by a probation officer. These conditions may include providing the probation officer open access to computer files, state and federal tax returns, bank accounts and any other investments or financial transactions. “Home confinement” refers to being forced to stay in one’s home or specified location instead of jail. The offender may only leave the location under strict circumstances such as a medical emergency.

You may feel like the “underdog” when up against the powerful force of the IRS. That’s understandable. But this is what I love doing the most- taking on the IRS and helping the little guy win! Together we can devise a plan that results in a positive outcome for you, a way to clean up past regrets and give you a clean slate for the future. The best way to ensure staying out of jail is to be cooperative and honest with the IRS. If a person can demonstrate he is taking responsibility for his situation and working towards a solution, the IRS and the courts will tend to be more understanding. I work with people to create this kind of practical path.

Sometimes, this path may include filing past due tax returns and/or amended tax returns. However, it is important to consult with a competent tax attorney because submitting these returns is an “admission” of the amount owed to the IRS. Another potential option is to file a Voluntary Disclosure. Under this program, the IRS offers people with undisclosed income in offshore accounts a chance to “come clean” and get current with their taxes.

The courts consider many aspects of each case when deciding an outcome. They will take into consideration the details and the nature of the situation and the history of the defendant. The judge may consider the guidelines of the sentencing commission and will compare the case to other similar cases.

There are many options available to avoid jail. But in any case it is critical to seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced tax attorney. Call our office today to learn how we can help with your specific case. 877-254-4254


 

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