FAQs

You’ll get an honest answer from us.

Why do I need a tax attorney?
In most cases, you’re better off hiring an experienced tax attorney to represent you with the IRS. We know what your options are, and we’re fully aware of the consequences of every statement we make to the IRS. Talking to someone from the IRS can be a stressful experience that can quickly turn into a personal conflict. This is one of the best reasons to hire an attorney. Don’t squander your rights. If you lose your head, or if you say the wrong thing, it will be used against you, and you will most likely lose your case. Oftentimes, our clients would have saved more money if they had come to us first, before talking to the IRS.

Why can’t I just go for non-collectible status?
For some clients, non-collectible is the way to go. But when you talk to the IRS agent and try to make your own case for non-collectible status, consider this: the agent’s mission is to collect taxes. He or she will ask you a lot of questions to determine whether you qualify. If you don’t qualify, you’ve just given the IRS all the information they need to find your assets and issue bank levies and/or wage garnishments.
Also, keep in mind that non-collectible status is only temporary. Interest will accrue, and any refunds will be intercepted and captured. Within 1-2 years, you may get levied and garnished again. And if you do, you’ll owe the IRS substantially more money.

I read about some tips for success with Offers in Compromise. Can’t I just do this myself?
You can, but keep in mind that 75% of Offers in Compromise are REJECTED. Some of our clients come to us after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate an Offer in Compromise, which makes this option harder for us to use. Before going ahead on your own, you might want to read our section on Offers in Compromise first.

If an Offer in Compromise is a good match for your circumstances, we’ll file your paperwork correctly and provide you the best chance of having your offer accepted by the IRS. Additionally, if you qualify for an Offer in Compromise, you’ll likely pay much less than the original amount you owed.

Why is tax court so difficult?
Cases are often dismissed because someone missed a filing deadline. We know the process very well and understand the filing procedures and deadlines. Find out more about tax court here.

The audit process sounds incredibly painful. Is it?
If you have inadequate representation, an audit can be the worst experience you ever have and from a financial perspective, incredibly painful. But, if you keep decent records and hire a good tax attorney to represent you in your audit, the audit procedure is often relatively quick and painless. For more information regarding the audit process please read our Audit Representation section.

Can a levy actually result in a family of three living on less than $300 a week?
Yes. Levies are extremely painful. If you are ignoring a tax issue, keep in mind that a levy is one of the most common reasons clients come to us. It is much easier and less expensive, if you contact us before you receive a levy. Don’t ignore the possibility of a bank or wage levy! The IRS will levy as far back as ten years, and they have teams of specialists who focus on levying old cases.

Can I get rid of back taxes through bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a great way to get rid of back taxes. However, there are huge exceptions. Only certain types of taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy and there are specific filing and timing requirements. Other tax resolution companies won’t necessarily give you an honest answer about bankruptcy, because they aren’t attorneys and they can’t help you with the bankruptcy process. Contact us if you think bankruptcy may be an option for you. We’ll let you know what all of your choices are, and offer you our best advice.

Are Offers in Compromise routinely granted?
In a word, NO! Offers in Compromise are infrequently granted. The national average for acceptance is about 25% and although our acceptance rate is much higher, we can’t guarantee that every Offer in Compromise we submit will be accepted. The same exact Offers in Compromise can have different results. Well-prepared Offers in Compromise are frequently rejected, even after participating in the appeals process. Our attorneys and tax professionals will look at all of your options and discuss your chances of having an offer accepted.

If I already owe money to the IRS, do I make things worse by filing my taxes?
NO! We strongly recommend that you always file your tax returns, even if you owe money. It’s NOT a crime to owe the IRS money, but it IS A CRIME not to file.

Can I protest the policies of the government by not filing my taxes?
Tax protestors get the full brunt of the IRS. The federal courts do not rule in favor of tax protestors, in spite of any and every internet rumor. There are other more successful ways to protest the policies of the local, state, or federal governments. Whatever your personal beliefs about the tax code, it is the law.

I have a post office box. Does that protect me from getting federal tax lien notices or other paperwork the IRS is required to send me before they can attach my property?
NO. The IRS is only required to send you notice to the most recent address they have on file. A Federal Tax Lien puts the world on notice that you owe the IRS money. It attaches to property currently owned, and will attach to any future property interest. Note: If you get married and you have tax problems, it can impact your spouse’s property interests.

Can the IRS seize my car?
Vehicle seizures are rare, but they are more likely to happen if you have a second vehicle not tied to business use or if you are using the car as a device to frustrate tax collection. Purchasing a very expensive car after you’ve received a tax assessment from the IRS doesn’t protect your assets.

Can the IRS levy my Social Security Benefits?
YES! The IRS can (and does) levy Social Security payments. We’ve worked with many clients who have faced these circumstances and we’ve been successful at achieving reasonable resolutions.

Are IRS agents aware of all current business endeavors?
It sometimes takes the IRS years to figure out that a taxpayer has not been in compliance. But this is not a good thing. Taxpayers frequently take this lag time as a sign that the IRS isn’t concerned with them. This approach allows the problem to get much much worse, because when the problem is discovered, the taxpayer will be liable for the interest and penalties that have accrued. If you have already been deemed to be a problem taxpayer, the IRS is watching you very closely. We can help you file past-due tax returns and get in front of any tax problems before the IRS catches up with you. In doing so, you have a better chance of attaining a favorable (and less expensive) outcome. Contact us and we’ll get started.

If I overpaid the IRS, can I get my money back any time?
Generally, you only have 3 years from the date the tax return was filed or 2 years from the date the tax was paid to seek a refund. So, if you are owed refunds from unfiled tax returns, you may lose them permanently if you don’t act quickly.

Can’t I just claim ten exemptions so less is taken out of my paycheck?
Yes, but only if you actually have ten exemptions. Otherwise, it becomes a problem that gets compounded year after year, resulting in a tax bill that is much more than if you had claimed the correct number of exemptions every year.

Am I financially better off paying down my credit cards, or paying down my IRS bill?
Calculating the interest rate on a tax liability is difficult. If you ask the IRS how much interest you are paying, they can’t usually tell you right away; it often takes a few days for them to give you an answer.

If you don’t file, interest is compounded daily on what you owe – the quarterly federal short-term rate, plus 3%. Non-filers also pay a .5% late payment penalty plus a 4.5% late filing penalty, for a combined penalty of 5% for the first month their return is late. For every month that you don’t file, the penalties double, capping at 47.5% (22.5% late filing penalty + 25% late payment penalty) after just five months.

For example, if you owe $10,000 and you wait five months, you’ll end up owing $14,750 plus interest. If you have the ability to pay the IRS in full it is usually a good idea to do so.

I have more questions.
Please feel free to contact us. One of our attorneys or tax professionals would be glad to discuss your particular concerns.

 

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