Tax Relief Solutions

IRS Fresh Start Initiative to Allow More Consumers to Settle Tax Debt

The IRS brings good news this week to middle-class Americans who continue to struggle with tax debt by expanding their Fresh Start Initiative.

Loosened guidelines for the Offer in Compromise program, which forgives a portion of a taxpayer’s debt, will allow more Americans to qualify as well as eliminate their tax debt in as little as two years, compared with four or five years.

The adjustments to the program come after the IRS recognizes that many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills. They wanted to apply a common sense approach to reflect real-world scenarios.

Changes to the program include:

  • Revising the method of calculating taxpayer’s future income.
  • Flexibility in repaying student loans.
  • Flexibility in paying local and state delinquent taxes
  • Expanding the Allowable Living Expense allowance (expenses such as credit card payments and bank fees can now be taken into account).

The changes will allow many more consumers to qualify for tax relief under the Offer in Compromise program. Specifically, when the IRS calculates a taxpayer’s reasonable collection potential, it will now look at only one year of future income for offers paid in five or fewer months, down from four years, and two years of future income for offers paid in six to 24 months, down from five years.

“This phase of Fresh Start will assist some taxpayers who have faced the most financial hardships in recent years,” said IRS commissioner Doug Shulman. “It is part of our multi-year effort to help taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet.”

The IRS, having a reputation of rigidity, surprised many Americans with this welcomed announcement of increased flexibility. Full details of the announcement are available at theIRS website.

Report: 10 Things to Know When You Owe the IRS

Dealing with the IRS can be a nerve racking and pain staking process for taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Code is so complicated and convoluted that most people feel completely in the dark when approaching the IRS to resolve their tax debt problems. The less knowledge a taxpayer has about the inner workings of the IRS, the more intimidated they feel when it comes time to resolving their issues. This complexity and intimidation is a significant advantage for the IRS when it comes to negotiating with most consumers.

There are certain facts that the IRS would never readily share with consumers that shed light on their internal strategies and processes. In an effort to better educate and assist consumers, Optima Tax Relief has compiled the following report of 10 Facts you have to know when dealing with the IRS:

1. The approval percentage of an Offer in Compromise is significantly higher when submitted by a tax professional.

Submitting an Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a very intricate process, and there are many underwriting guidelines that need to be met to be successful. An Enrolled Agent, CPA or Tax Attorney with sufficient experience in the OIC process knows the eligibility requirement and what the IRS is looking for. It is paramount that a consumer has professional help to tailor these offers properly.

2. The conviction rates of IRS criminal cases is above 80%.

When it comes to criminal cases the IRS has a very high success rate. If you are facing civil or criminal tax charges from the IRS, getting professional legal representation is absolutely indispensable.

3. The IRS would rather settle your case before it goes to trial.

The IRS is an incredibly overworked and underfunded agency. If they have an opportunity to settle your case before it goes to the courtroom, they would prefer that option. Tax Resolution professionals are trained to take advantage of these settlement opportunities on your behalf.

4. The IRS will typically only move to seize assets when it cannot resolve otherwise.

It is in your best interest to begin the settlement process with the IRS as soon as possible so that you demonstrate that you are willing to resolve your back tax issues. Showing you are willing to engage the IRS will help you retain your assets while you are in the process of negotiation.

5. There is no percentage limitation on what the IRS can garnish from your paycheck!

The IRS is the most aggressive collector on the planet. This should be reason enough to seek help from a reputable Tax Resolution company to resolve your unpaid tax issues with the IRS.

6. In many instances, entry level auditors and collection agents do not have tax or financial backgrounds.

Be very selective who you choose to help you in IRS tax resolution assistance. Typical tax preparation companies and accounting firms are generally not trained in handling the various IRS resolution strategies. To resolve past due taxes and become compliant with the IRS, you want to work with a professional that has in depth knowledge and has successfully represented numerous clients in IRS negotiations.

7. The IRS has a 10 year period to collect taxes from the due date, but can extend this out in many cases.

Just because the IRS did not come calling after a couple of years of missed taxes does not mean you are in the free and clear. They most likely have not gotten around to processing your file yet. You should be proactive about becoming compliant now, to avoid worse problems down the road. Eventually your file will rise to the top of their stack.

8. Taxes are very difficult to remove through a bankruptcy.

Even through bankruptcy, unpaid taxes can stay with you. Bankruptcy is not a solution to your unresolved tax issues. Even if you have filed bankruptcy, or are considering it, make sure to get legal advice on how that might affect any back taxes you owe to the IRS or state agencies.

9. Anything you write or say to an agent can be used against you.

This is one of the most important reasons how an experienced Tax Relief organization can benefit you with professional representation and protection. Good firms will know how to present your case and what information to share (and not share) to achieve an optimal solution. The slightest misinformation or misfiling could set you back to square one.

10. IRS interest and penalties can reach over 40% of the tax debt!

That is a tremendous amount of penalties that can be added to your unpaid taxes. Don’t let this happen to you! If it does, you do not necessarily have to pay that in full. Oftentimes in reaching a settlement with the IRS, you can achieve a substantial or full reduction of the past due interest and penalties.

Successful IRS Tax Relief Strategies that Work

Individuals with tax debt can seek successful tax relief strategies that work. Many options are available depending on specific circumstances.

Offer in Compromise

This is a program offered by the IRS to taxpayers that allows individuals to pay off tax debt at less than they currently owe. If you suffer from a financial hardship, then an offer in compromise is an option for you to consider. The factors that are considered by the IRS for an offer in compromise include the ability of an individual to pay, current level of income, their expenses and their asset equity. You should consult a debt specialist to see if this is a viable strategy for your situation.

Penalty Abatement

This is a tax strategy where you can request that any penalties or interest be removed from your tax debt. The use of an abatement is an option if you can show the IRS good reason why you cannot pay all your taxes when they are due. This can include death, the loss of income, or imprisonment. Consult with your debt specialist to see if a penalty abatement is a viable strategy.

Installment Agreement

This is an option to pay your tax debt when you cannot make the full payment in full or on time. If you owe less than $50,000 in taxes, then you can apply for an installment agreement. You can complete this process online or over the phone. This is a valid strategy if your taxes are current.

Innocent Spouse Relief

This is a strategy for tax relief if married taxpayers have filed jointly. If you have a spouse that failed to report income to the IRS, then this is an option to obtain relief from taxes that are owed. This is also an option for people that are separated or recently divorced. You must request relief from tax debt within a 2-year period of being notified of taxes that are due.

Currently Not Collectible

Taxpayers that do not have the income or resources to pay taxes can request currently not collectible status by contacting the IRS. Consult with your debt specialist for additional details.

The post Successful IRS Tax Relief Strategies that Work appeared first on Debt America.

How to Remove an IRS Levy

A IRS tax levy is the toughest collection tool in the IRS arsenal.  An IRS tax levy means that the government has the right to seize your property and assets in payment for unpaid tax debt.  Unlike a lien, a tax levy actually gives the IRS the right to take and sell your property to settle your debt.  If you have been issued a tax levy, don’t give up:  you can still settle your tax debt.

There are several ways you can remove an IRS levy:

  • Pay the tax debt in full.  Once the debt is paid, the IRS will immediate halt the collection process.  If you don’t have the funds available to pay the entire debt, options might include taking out a loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or refinancing your home.  The IRS agent might be willing to put a temporary hold on collection procedures if you have a reasonable plan for coming up with the money.
  • Set up a payment plan.  This may be the simplest and easiest option.  If you owe less than $25,000 in back taxes, the IRS will typically stop the tax levy once you have agreed to an IRS payment plan.
  • Set up a partial payment plan.  Similar to the installment plan, in a partial payment plan you will agree to pay the IRS what you owe over time.  The main difference is that your payments will be smaller than with the installment plan and you must be able to prove that you don’t have the financial resources to make the payments required under the installment plan.
  • Submit a compromise offer.  If you submit an offer in compromise the IRS will automatically halt collection proceedings until the offer is reviewed.  If the offer is accepted, you must pay the amount of the offer.  If the offer is rejected, the IRS will resume collection proceedings unless you can set up a payment agreement.
  • Prove that the levy is causing undue financial hardship.  The conditions on this are stringent and the IRS is the final judge.  If you can prove that the levy is making it difficult to provide for your families basic needs such as food and shelter, the IRS will lift the levy.
  • Prove that the IRS is trying to collect on assets with no equity.  If you can show the IRS that it’s not worth their effort to collect, the IRS may lift the levy.  This would only apply in situations where you have little or no equity in your assets, such as a home with a mortgage large enough to offset the selling price.
  • Let the statute of limitations expire.  There is a 10 year statute of limitations on IRS tax debt.  If the 10 year limit is drawing near, the IRS may try to extend the time limit by getting you to agree to a payment plan or other settlement.  If you are on year nine of the ten year period however, you may be able to let the statute of limitations expire without payment.

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