If you are one of the thousands of tax payers dealing with IRS collection or enforcement actions, you may feel there is no way to get relief. Revenue Officers (collection agents) may have visited your home; they may have talked to your neighbors. They may have visited your place of employment; they may have spoken to your employer or co-workers.
If the IRS thinks you owe them money, they can clean out your bank account, take part of your paycheck and place liens on your home and everything else you own. These actions are intended to get your attention and bring you to your knees so that you will agree to whatever terms they demand.
If the IRS is auditing you, the Revenue Agents (auditors) may require documents from a few years ago that are difficult to locate. If you can’t find these quickly enough to satisfy them, they may disallow your deductions and chalk up additional taxes for you to pay. They sometimes have the attitude that everyone is cheating the government. They may be inflexible and expect you to pay amounts you do not have and meet deadlines you find impossible.
All things considered, it is no wonder citizens feel the Internal Revenue Service is unfair and uncaring. However, the reality is that you have rights when dealing with IRS and there are several programs available that may provide relief from the harsh actions the IRS has taken or is threatening to take.
These rights and programs can be used to resolve your tax problem and provide the path to ending the IRS nightmare. These rights are all a part of “The Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” If you have unpaid taxes or unfiled tax returns, you must end the pain and get your life back. Some of the programs include:
- Offer in Compromise, which is a settlement for the amount you can afford rather than the amount you owe plus penalties and interests.
- Installment Agreement plans that provide an opportunity to pay what you owe over an extended period of time.
- Bankruptcy can eliminate certain tax debts when they meet the conditions for discharge.
- Innocent Spouse Relief may remove you from responsibility for tax due that should be the responsibility of your spouse or former spouse.
- Penalty Abatement may reduce your balance due by eliminating the onerous penalties the IRS has added to the tax owned. The interest on any abated penalty is also eliminated when the penalty is removed.
- Statute of Limitations may apply as the Internal Revenue Service has 10 years to collect a balance due from a taxpayer. The Statute of Limitations on collection starts when the tax is assessed and continues for 10 years. Certain events like bankruptcy, filing an Offer in Compromise, or requesting a Collection Due Process Hearing suspend the running of the 10 years for the time they are pending plus a tack-on period.
As you can see from this short list of some of the IRS programs, there are many options available to afford you relief. However, you cannot rely on the Internal Revenue Service to search out and recommend what is your best alternative. It is their job to collect as many tax dollars as possible and as quickly as possible. However, it is your job to prevent the IRS from bullying you. Remember, 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.