Need Tax Help? If You Owe the IRS, Don’t Make These 7 Serious Mistakes
Maybe you’ve received a letter of intent to levy from the IRS. Perhaps you received a call or visit from an IRS revenue officer. While the circumstances may be slightly different, if you’re in need of tax help, you’re not alone.
There are others like you who are concerned that their wages or bank account could be subject to an IRS tax levy. For others, jail time is a real concern. Regardless of your situation, a tax attorney may be able to provide crucial guidance to get you through this trying financial situation.
While working with a tax attorney won’t make your IRS tax situation disappear, it will help give you peace of mind that finding a solution is possible. Plus, it may keep you from making some basic mistakes that could have dire consequences for your future.
If You Have an IRS Problem, Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes
• Do not ignore the situation – The best time to act on any correspondence from the IRS is now. If you’ve received a letter of collection action from the IRS, it’s not going to go away. Eventually it will give way to letters threatening an IRS tax levy, tax lien and possibly a seizure of your bank account, wages, home, car or other property. Open all mail from the IRS immediately. Also, if the postman leaves a pink slip stating that you have certified correspondence from the IRS that you must pick up at the post office, make sure that you retrieve it as soon as you can. Many IRS letters require that you take action within a certain amount of time stated in the letter. If you fail to pick up and open your mail you may miss a deadline for appealing a levy action that the IRS is planning on taking.
• Do not fraudulently conceal assets – Don’t make a bad situation worse. Tax debt problems can usually be worked out with the help of a professional, no matter what your personal situation is. Not being able to pay your taxes, in and of itself, is not a crime, but trying to remedy the situation by fraudulently concealing assets is.
• Do not talk to IRS representatives- There is no legal requirement for you to talk to IRS representatives. This even applies to an IRS Revenue Officer who may just show up at your home or place of business and catch you off-guard. The IRS is trying to collect money. IRS representatives are not your friends and they know more than you do about the tax laws. If you are contacted by the IRS obtain representation immediately to protect your rights.
• Do not take advice from the IRS- The IRS Collection Division only exists to collect tax money. They will do what they have to in order to accomplish that. They do not exist to help you or give you advice about what’s best for you. It is best to obtain a knowledgeable attorney who you can consult with to determine what legal strategies would be most helpful to you.
• Do not fail to appeal a final notice of levy- The IRS, in most instances, must give you notice that they are going to seize your money or property. You have appeal rights that will prevent the IRS from doing so. All appeals requests have deadlines. If you fail to appeal you may be giving up the best remedy that you have.
• Do not fail to file your tax returns – It is not a federal crime to merely fall behind on paying your taxes. However, it is a federal crime to fail to file your tax returns. Make sure you get all of your delinquent returns filed immediately. You should also know that the IRS will not negotiate tax debt remedies with a taxpayer who has not filed all of their tax returns.
• Do not try to go it alone – No matter who you are or what your background is, you are no match for the IRS Collection Division. The IRS relies on intimidation through the threatened use of their numerous legal powers. While choosing not to work with an attorney may seem like the cheaper alternative in the short-term, an attorney can most likely save you a lot of money and legal hassle in the long-term. An attorney may save you an amount in taxes, penalties and interest that greatly exceeds his or her fees. Not only that, an attorney may just save your business, your livelihood or your home.
Whether you’re either an individual or a business owner, who simply got behind on your taxes and needs an experienced representative to negotiate on your behalf, an attorney and the guidance that he or she can provide, can prove invaluable.