When the IRS lets you know that you owe taxes, a common and reasonable response is panic, particularly if you owe a lot of money to the government. People often seek help from tax relief services. These firms represent you before the IRS, submit Offer In Compromises, discuss payment plans, innocent spouses relief and other IRS collection alternatives.
After you receive a notice that you owe IRS money, you are likely to begin getting mail from companies claiming that they can help you negotiate the complex system of the IRS. Although these tax debt relief programs that promise to be a godsend, you should be conscious that this industry has a lot of scams and fraudulent organizations.
There are legitimate companies to choose from, and if you do choose to engage a tax relief business, it is important that you pay attention and ensure that the service you use is legitimate. To read more about IRS tax debt forgiveness and related issues, check out our posts on tax debt relief services and other issues.
Do I Need a Tax Debt Relief Agency, or Can I Do It Myself?
When you’re looking for tax debt relief, it’s important to take into account all of your choices. These companies are experts at interacting with and handling the IRS and can save you time and frustrations, but perhaps you should know that there are options for someone like you to make arrangements with the IRS on your own, completely for free with no need for guidance. If you want to work directly with the IRS, try the IRS Fresh Start Program. Guidance and representation can also be sought from the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
IRS Fresh Start Initiative for Tax Debt Relief
The IRS Fresh Start Initiative is a federal program that allows you to work with the IRS if you experience financial problems because you have a tax debt.
Through this program, you can enter into installment agreements that allow you to pay your tax debt in smaller payments over a longer period of time rather than in a lump sum at once.
With this initiative, you can also work with the IRS to reach an offer in compromise (OIC). The alternate solution deal allows you to clear your tax debt for less than the actual amount owed. You must be able to prove that you can not pay the full amount of money. The IRS can negotiate for a lower amount if you can demonstrate that the amount you are trying to settle for is the highest amount that the collection agency would be able to collect from you.
Tax Debt Relief Using the Taxpayer Advocate ServiceThe Taxpayer Advocate Service is part of the IRS that operates on your behalf. If you have tried and failed to do something with the IRS yourself, you may be eligible for this program, which is available free in all 50 states. The Taxpayer Advocate Service offers support for you to meet with the IRS and to do what the tax debt relief programs do. This service also works to enforce the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which covers all of the rights with the IRS, including your right to be consulted, to have representation and to contest the IRS and to be heard.
What to Expect When Choosing an IRS Tax Debt Relief Firm
The worst thing you can do when you start receiving notifications from the IRS is nothing. Whether you choose to deal with the IRS on your own or employ a tax debt relief company, make sure to find out what’s going on before tax levies are put on your account and before the government collects your property and assets.
The best tax debt relief companies will work with the IRS in advance to investigate your circumstances and figure out where your tax debt comes from and what initiatives and programs you are qualified for. Some may charge a fee for performing this service also known as a transcript analysis and evaluation.
What Tax Debt Relief Negotiations Can You Expect?
A legitimate tax debt relief firm will not guarantee that you will obtain a specific type of relief. You may meet the criteria for an offer in compromise, which is where you and the IRS pay less than what you owe, provided that you can prove that you can not pay the full amount.Instead, you may need to pay taxes and enter into a installment agreement, which is where the amount you owe is divided over time into smaller payments. The company may consider whether you qualify for innocent spouse relief, which means that if your spouse filed taxes incorrectly or did something illegal, you may not be held liable if you can prove innocent. You should also expect your company to offer negotiations for currently not collectible (meaning that you can not make payments due to economic hardship), as well as penalty abatements and levy and garnishment release. In these negotiations, the debt relief company works with the IRS to save the tax and penalties from being paid, and also seeks to exclude all levies on the income, properties and other belongings. Whatever your case, your tax debt relief program should be negotiating for what you are entitled to and what will best help you.
How Can I know if a Tax Debt Relief Business is Legitimate?
A lot of companies advertise that they can help you resolve your tax debt for “money pennies” or offer a deal that is only valid for a very limited amount of time. You might receive mail and phone calls that offer outstanding results that they can not really ensure. You should be mindful that these are common tactics used by tax relief scam artists.
I strongly recommend that you shouldn’t share any personal information with, and definitely do not pay any money to, any organization until you feel satisfied that it is legitimate. If you contact a company for more info, be sure to ask questions and evaluate the credentials of the owners of the organization.