Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need a tax professional to solve my IRS problem?
Every case is different, but the more the debt and the more the information the IRS is requesting, the more you should, at the very least, consult with a tax specialist. Most tax professionals offer a free consultation. You should take advantage of this. By the end of the consultation, you will know if you need help. If I do not believe I can offer a valued service to a prospective client, I will not work with them.
Can an accountant help me?
CPAs are licensed to practice in front of the IRS and some do a great job. However, many only devote a small percentage of their time to dealing with IRS problems. Their main business is preparing tax returns and doing bookkeeping, as opposed to an office like mine who only represents taxpayers with IRS problems. In fact, if you need me to do estate planning or a simple contract, I will immediately refer you to a well qualified attorney. There are other differences between attorneys and accountants. Attorneys have an attorney-client privilege that accountants do not have. Also, as an attorney, I may be able to take your case to Tax Court, where taxpayers often get their best settlement. Accountants can not practice in Tax Court. Finally, attorneys are trained for adversary proceedings, while many accountants are great at filing paperwork, but do not know how to represent a client with a tax problem.
Can an ex-IRS agent help me? Don’t they have friends in high places?
Some individuals leave the IRS and represent taxpayers. The perception is that they can call a friend at the IRS and get a great deal. First of all, no one can call an IRS employee and ask him or her to take on a case that is not assigned to them. Second, no one at the IRS is going to go against IRS rules and risk their job to do a favor for someone they once worked with.
Will the IRS punish me if I hire an attorney?
On the contrary, often the IRS is happy to see an attorney on the case. They know that the attorney will comply with the law and actually make their job easier so they can settle the case and close their file.
Am I going to jail?
Probably not. Unless you are a tax protestor or file fraudulent returns, the IRS usually has bigger fish to fry. Our best defense is to get all of your tax returns filed correctly.
Should I use a national tax practitioner?
If you call the guys you see on TV or hear on the radio, you will speak to a commissioned salesperson who will make you a bunch of promises that sound too good to be true- because they are. If you sign up with them, that is the last time you talk to that person. After that, you may have trouble getting someone on the telephone who knows anything about your case. Good luck if the IRS comes to your door and you need to speak to someone, especially if they are in a different time zone. My best advice is to Google the company with the word “scam”. Also, check them out on www.ripoffreports.com.
Can I get rid of the interest?
No. Believe me, I wish I could. The IRS does not abate interest. When you think about it, it makes sense. Why would the IRS give people interest free loans? If they did, who would pay their taxes on time?
Can I get rid of the penalty?
Yes. If you have reasonable cause as to why you did not pay on time or file on time, we may be able to get the IRS to abate all or part of the penalty. Penalties max out at 25% for not paying on time and 25% for not filing on time. This can save you thousands of dollars.
Can bankruptcy help me?
It depends on the type of tax, how old it is, and when you filed the tax return. I do not practice bankruptcy law, but if I think that is your best alternative, I will refer you to a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
Do you charge an hourly fee?
Generally, I find a flat fee works best for you and me. That way, you do not have to worry about calling me and getting a bill for $100. I often need to talk to you and I do not want you to think that the clock is ticking.
I owe the IRS more money than I can pay. How am I going to pay you?
I fully understand that most of my clients have financial difficulties. If I believe I can help you, I will work out a payment plan that you can afford.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes. Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover.
I am more comfortable speaking Spanish. Do you speak Spanish?
I did well in school, but language was never my thing. Luckily, my staff is fluent in Spanish. When I meet with you, they will translate.
Are there any guarantees?
I can never guarantee what the IRS will ultimately do. However, I can guarantee you that I will work hard on your behalf, always give you my best advise, and get you the best deal I can.
Can I do this myself?
You can try, but let me warn you that the IRS is not on your side. They want to collect what you owe them, so their advice is not always what is best for you. However, if I do not think it is worth it for you to hire me, I may give you some direction to do it yourself. This usually happens when you owe a small amount and can pay it relatively quickly.
Should I call the IRS?
Be careful. When you call the IRS, they will ask you questions that will help them collect from you, such as where do you work and where do you bank. My clients report to me that before they hired me, they called several times and received different answers to the same questions each time they called.
My biggest problem is that I do not know how to get started. What do I do?
Call me. I will get any old unfiled tax returns filed. I will then stop the madness with the IRS, so we can get your problem organized and begin to solve it.
I am a good person. I would never do anything illegal. I am so embarrassed. I am not like the other people who owe the IRS money. What do I do?
You are not alone. Most of my clients are just like you. I will tell you that once we get this problem under control, you will feel 100% better.
I want to talk to the attorney that is going to represent me, not a salesperson. If I call you, will I really be able to meet you?
Absolutely. You have my ear. Talk to me.
Can I settle for less than I owe?
Yes, but you have to qualify. Generally, if you do not have assets with equity, investments, or a high income, you may have a chance for an Offer in Compromise. That is part of my analysis that I do on every case.
I haven’t even filed my tax returns. What do I do?
If you do not have your tax returns filed, I can not stop the IRS from taking your paycheck or bank account. I will get your returns filed immediately.
The IRS filed my tax returns for me and they are saying I owe more than I really do. What do I do?
I will have correct returns filed and attempt to have the IRS accept your correct returns. We are usually successful in doing so.
The IRS is threatening to file my tax returns for me. What do I do?
Once we file them, they usually accept them and do not do them for you.
If I hire you, do I have to meet with or talk to the IRS?
My policy is that my clients almost never have direct contact with the IRS. When I receive your Power of Attorney, the law says that I can act on your behalf. If the IRS has any questions or needs any documentation, they have to ask me. As long as I can supply the information they need, they can not talk to you.
Is my first consultation free?
100% free whether I meet with you in person or talk to you on the telephone. I prefer to meet you. If I do not think it is worth it for you to hire me, I will tell you what you need to do.
Will you come see me?
I tried meeting new clients at their home or office many years ago. It just was not time effective for me, so I no longer can do it. I really would like to meet you in person, but if you can not come to my office, we will talk on the telephone.