The Internal Revenue Service has become, unfortunately, a feared and stress-provoking institution. However, as a taxpayer you have rights and you don’t have to tolerate being pushed around. The Swaim & Associates team understands what the IRS can and cannot do, and will stand up for your rights.
Business owners, investors, self-employed professionals and affluent individuals can often find themselves the target of audits. In some cases, taxpayers may have failed to file state or federal tax returns for a period of time, or may have filed incomplete returns.
Even simple, unintentional errors on a tax return can result in penalties from the IRS. The agency also charges interest on those penalties, and interest on the interest. When the IRS believes it has not received tax payments or penalties it is due, it may use liens, levies and wage garnishment to take your money.
If you do not take action to resolve your tax problem then to satisfy your tax debt, the government can seize your assets including: any real estate that you may own, your automobile, jewelry, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other assets and investments. They can levy against the cash value of your life insurance policy and garnish your paychecks or retirement checks. They can even take any money, real estate or other assets that you acquire in the future, including inheritances, until the tax debt is settled.
It is possible, depending on your individual circumstances, to have the tax debt greatly reduced or totally eliminated and forgiven by the government. We have a variety of ways to assist you: Offers in Compromise; monthly payment plans; Taxpayer Assistance Orders; Amended Returns; and Appeals. Please bear in mind that not all taxpayers qualify for an Offer in Compromise, so beware of firms that advertise “We can settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar.” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We do not promise the moon, only that we will do our professional best to solve your problem. There are strict mathematical and legal procedures to determine if you qualify for an Offer in Compromise. Maybe you are just behind in filing your returns, we can take of that also.
There is no charge for initial consultations. We will evaluate your case to determine if your circumstances are such that we can reasonably expect to prevail over the government in your favor. We only take cases where there is a high probability of reducing the tax debt significantly. Our fees are based on the complexity of your case, type of tax, amount owed, and amount of legal research and accounting work needed to bring your case to a satisfactory resolution. Naturally the fees vary from case to case because no two cases are alike.
For your convenience we can work with you by phone, mail, fax, or email if the drive to Greensboro is too far from your home, OR we will come to you. We prepare many offers in compromise for clients from Florida up to Maryland and occasionally other states.
No matter your situation, Swaim & Associates’ experienced, savvy Enrolled Agents can help.
IRS LIENS: THE IRS CAN RUIN YOUR LIFE BY FILING FEDERAL TAX LIENS.
Federal tax liens are a public record that shows that you owe back taxes. Liens are filed with the County Clerk of Court. Because these liens are public records, they will show up on your credit report. This makes it nearly impossible for you to obtain a car loan or home mortgage. A lien effectively freezes your assets to the point that you cannot sell or purchase anything. Issuing a lien is a drastic step that the IRS takes when they tried to and failed to get the taxpayer to respond to collection letters. Ignoring the IRS is the worst thing you can do. They are not going to give up and go away.
I.R.S. LEVIES: A LEVY IS THE SEIZURE OF YOUR ASSETS BY THE I.R.S. TO SATISFY A TAX DEBT
The most common levies are those issued to banks in order to empty out your checking and savings accounts and safe deposit box and hand the assets over to the I.R.S. The IRS can also issue a levy notice to your employer to garnish your wages. Many taxpayers end up getting fired when their employer receives a levy notice from the I.R.S. to garnish wages. Your relationship with your bank can also be ruined if they receive a levy notice from the I.R.S. against you. Levies should be avoided at all costs. Levy Notices are usually issued as a last resort by the I.R.S. in their attempt to collect taxes. The IRS is not to be be ignored. We can prevent levies.
FAILURE TO FILE: AN UNUSUALLY LARGE NUMBER OF TAXPAYERS, FOR ANY REASON, FAIL TO FILE THEIR TAX RETURNS FOR A GIVEN YEAR OR YEARS.
If you are one of them, you are not alone. You should know that failure to file a tax return is punishable by up to one year in prison. It not is a crime to fail to pay the tax. So even if you don’t have the money to pay the tax you owe, you should always file the return. There are severe monetary penalties for failure to file the tax return. If you have not filed a prior year return, you should hire a tax professional to do so. Often times people who fail to file are surprised to learn that the I.R.S. owes them money. If you have “reasonable cause” for failing to file your tax returns in prior years, you may be able to escape penalties and interest.
I.R.S. PENALTIES: EACH YEAR THE I.R.S. ASSESES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PENALTIES AGAINST TAXPAYERS
They charge penalties on top of penalties and double penalties. There are penalties for: failure to file; filing late; failure to pay; paying late; underpayment; there is even a penalty if you make a mistake writing down your social security number on the return and are off by one digit. To make matters worse, the IRS charges you interest on the penalties and interest on the interest. Penalties can be anywhere from 25% to 100% of the tax owed and after they add on the interest you can end up owing triple the amount of tax. Penalties can be “abated” (erased/forgiven), but the IRS will never do it voluntarily. You must have a representative who knows the tax code to petition for abatement.
All tax accountants are not the same
“Enrolled Agent” is a top credential tax practitioner recognized by the IRS as well as all 50 states. Our status as Enrolled Agents, as well as our in-depth knowledge of the tax code, tax law and tax court rulings, helps us achieve better outcomes for taxpayers facing various kinds of tax problems.
We deal with the IRS frequently. Let us help you.
ROBERT M. SWAIM, MAcc.
Enrolled Agent & Tax Accountant