Most people who have IRS problems haven’t filed in a few years. It’s a common problem. You are not alone. Don’t be embarrassed. Nearly 10 million people have delinquent tax returns. In all my years of practicing before the IRS I’ve seen people who had a rough patch in their lives that kept them from filing and paying their taxes. IRS problems happen to good people. Someone gets sick and they can’t work, someone loses his job. It’s terrible. There’s no money to pay the taxes one year so they don’t file, and the person is afraid to file after that. They don’t want to get caught and they certainly don’t want to end up in jail. But worse than not paying your taxes is not filing your return—it’s against the law.
You may be asking, “Is there anything I can do to get my life back”? Yes there is! You can get your life back. First you have to decide that you want your life back. You have to decide that you aren’t going to take this anymore and that you want to fix it. Once you make the decision that you want help, and you no longer want to live in fear, or hide from those dreaded IRS notices, phone calls and visits—you will have taken the biggest step in getting your life back on track. Don’t let the IRS bully you into hiding under a rock, in the closet, or under your blankets. There are many options and ways to get your life back—and even better yet, there’s a way to protect your savings and your paycheck, a way for you to keep your car!
Even if you don’t have the money to pay, at least file your taxes. There are two penalties. One is “Failure to File Penalty” and the other is “Failure to Pay Penalty.” You can avoid one of these severe penalties by filing your taxes. There are all types of programs that are available from the IRS to settle your tax debt. The most important thing is that you want to be compliant with the tax laws.
The laws have changed over the years—there are laws to protect taxpayers nowadays. Years ago you were just at the mercy of the IRS. But now you have a chance to get your life back. You could opt to represent yourself before the IRS. There is the offer-in-compromise program. Some people do go that route. But representing yourself before the IRS is like going to court without a lawyer. I wouldn’t recommend that. Or, you can hire someone who knows all the ins-and-outs and navigates the IRS maze on a daily basis. You can hire someone who knows how to protect you and your rights. Once you take that first big step and decide you are done with sleepless nights, you need to make the second biggest decision—hire a competent professional who cares about you and is an expert taking on the IRS. They can help find your old tax records, including your W-2s, 1099s and 1098s that were previously reported to the IRS.
Believe it or not there are new laws that have gone into effect to help financially strapped taxpayers today. The IRS announced its “Fresh Start Initiative” which allows more taxpayers than ever before to settle up with the agency. Now is the time to take advantage of these less-stringent, more flexible programs before the IRS changes its mind again. Remember, that for every tax problem there is a solution!
Constant W. Watson III, CPA, CTRS, is both a Certified Public Accountant and one of only ten Certified Tax Resolution Specialists in the State of Illinois certified by the ASTPS. Watson has more than 30 years of income tax and accounting experience. You can hear his radio program, “Watson On Taxes,” every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. by tuning in to AM 1390. For more information, visit WatsonOnTaxes.com or call (708) 206-9900.