KIP’S TIPS

Monthly tips on how to deal successfully with your tax debt, from the desk of our CEO, Kip Sharp, Esq.

 

 


Monday, December 21, 2015

Be wary of taking anything your revenue officer says too literally. 
Just because the IRS agent is polite or even nice doesn’t mean you can rely on what he or she tells you. The revenue agent is not being paid to help you, they are paid to collect money and stop the accrual of new taxes.  Rarely does a revenue agent tell you all your options for resolving your tax debt or how to save money.  Our attorneys’ experience has shown that many times a revenue agent will give wrong or misleading information.
In fact, you can’t even rely on the instructions the IRS publishes on its own website telling you how to fill out its forms. There are many cases in which people have cited IRS publications that appear to support their case, only to lose to the IRS because the instructions are not officially part of tax law.
Know your rights. We are here to help you and we will make sure you get the best and most cost-effective resolution possible for your tax debt issues. Don’t wait any longer. Penalties and interest continue to accrue daily.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Federal Tax Laws and Regulations are Now Over 10 Million Words Long

“In a recent Pew poll, (http://www.people-press.org) 72 percent of Americans said that they were bothered by how complex the federal tax system is. These taxpayers are justified in their complaints: as of 2015, federal tax laws and regulations have grown to over 10 million words in length.” (See full article here).

Nothing, absolutely nothing, should take over 10 million words to explain (with the exception of your teenager explaining how the car got wrecked!).   But the exception only shows that the IRS feels they need to bury the truth under mountains of technical jargon, so that your only recourse is to give up trying to understand and do whatever they say.

It’s inexcusable, but until things change those are the rules–all 10 million words of them. It’s not the IRS’s business to help you figure out how to pay what you owe; so if you want to win against the IRS you had better have someone on your team that knows the rules and can explain the rules to you in a way that makes sense. Only then can you make the right decisions to avoid paying unnecessary penalties, interest and taxes. Our attorneys will make sure the IRS plays fairly and honestly with you and we’ll explain what your options are for paying the least amount of taxes!

Best wishes,

Kip

 


Monday, October 12, 2015

Understanding Your IRS Notice

No one likes getting love letters from the IRS. Your heart begins to race and you wonder if your employees or mail man saw the notice.  Some will just throw it out, others add it to the pile and still others open the letter. You take a quick review, hoping it’s not a notice of levy or intent to levy, or you read it carefully only to scratch your head because you’re left with more questions than answers.

There are several reasons you may receive a notice from the IRS:

  • Some notices are intended to inform: the IRS needs information, you owe money, they are taking action such as audit, levy etc.; sometimes it is to provide you with information about your account;
  • Some notices require action on your part and may have important deadlines;
  • Others are sent to scare you into action; a notice of intent to levy or seize has rights to appeal to stop the IRS from taking action;
  • Others are fraudulent letters from companies trying to get you to call so they can try to sell you their services.

Don’t ignore these notices. Read the notice carefully and respond accordingly.  Understand that ignoring or failing to pick up certified letters DOES NOT STOP COLLECTION ACTION.  If you don’t understand what one of these letters means, give us a call. One of our qualified attorneys will review the letter with you and explain what it means and how it can affect you, all without charge.

I have been helping people in your situation for 15 years, and it has been my experience that ignoring or procrastinating only makes your situation worse. Penalties and interest continue to grow, stress grows, time is lost. Don’t wait any longer. You’re only making it harder and more expensive for yourself.

Best wishes,

Kip

 


Wednesday, August 13, 2015

You May Qualify for Penalty Relief

Everyone wants to know how to get rid of those ridiculous penalties, so read on to see if you qualify for an abatement of penalties.

If you have been charged a penalty for failing to file your return or pay your taxes on time, you may be eligible for penalty relief:

  • If you filed your tax returns and paid your taxes on time for the past 3 years, we may be able to remove the penalties based on First Time Abatement.

OR:

  • If you believe the circumstances that prevented you from meeting your tax obligation were beyond your control, we may be able to remove the penalties based on Reasonable Cause.

Your Reasonable Cause explanation must:

  1.     Explain why you didn’t file your return or pay the tax you owed by the return due date
  2.      Provide the dates of the event that prevented you from meeting your tax obligations
  3.     Explain why you couldn’t have anticipated this situation
  4.      Explain how this event prevented you from meeting your obligations, as well as other obligations (unable to work, pay bills or attend to other financial matters, etc.)

Be aware that not all taxpayers will qualify for penalty relief and as a former defense attorney I can tell you how you present the facts can make a big difference.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation with you to determine whether you might qualify for penalty abatement.

Best wishes,

Kip

 


Monday, July 13, 2015

How to Cope with the Effects of Stress

If you are reading this letter, you are likely dealing with stress.  How can I infer this when we haven’t even met? The answer is simple; we all deal with stress.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, healthy or ill, young or old — even children experience stress.  Stop dreaming that if you could only win the lottery, your life would be stress-free and start managing your stress now.

Step One: Acknowledge and accept that you have a significant amount of stress in your life.            

You can’t do anything about stress if you’re denying you have it. You can still respond with, “Fine” when your spouse asks you how your day was.  However, you must focus on recognizing the root causes of the stress and then move forward to address the issues directly. 

Try to practice living in the moment and not “sweating the small stuff.” Determine which situations are within your control, meaning those situations which you have the power to change, and concede those situations which you cannot change as they are not within your control.  

Step Two: Take responsibility for your own life, decisions and actions.

Refuse to consider yourself a victim. Wake up each day and be mentally strong and make conscious changes to the way you do things envisioning a positive outcome.

Step Three: Take care of yourself.  

You will not be able to take care others if you don’t make a concerted effort to take proper care of yourself.  Do not allow yourself to withdraw from family or friends and learn to balance work and play, as both are equally important to leading a balanced life. 

It is also important to seek out a healthy way to manage everyday stress.  You don’t have to begin training to be a Ninja Warrior or Iron Man / Woman, but going for a walk or working on a hobby you enjoy can refocus your energy on something positive. 

It is very important to get a sufficient amount of sleep in order to work smarter during your work day. Skimping on sleep and working a longer, harder day can be counter-productive as your brain operates at its best when rested.

Step Four: Use everyday stress to make yourself stronger and better.

It’s true that, given time and adequate pressure, coal turns into diamonds.  The pressure you’re feeling on a day-to-day basis can either turn you into a bitter, grumpy person with a low quality of life or it can make you stronger and more successful.  Decide to make the change and use stress to propel you to a better place in life.

I hope you each take a little time to yourselves each day to become stronger, healthier and happier.   I also hope you do win the lottery… because even though you will still have stress, you can be stressed while lounging on your yacht.

Best wishes,

Kip

 


Monday, June 8, 2015

You Haven’t Heard from Your Revenue Officer in a While. Should You Contact them or do You Let the Sleeping Dog Lie?  

What I have learned in my 14 years of practicing before the IRS is that the answer depends on a lot of different factors, which I would be happy to discuss with you individually. However, if you are trying to assess the situation yourself the two biggest factors are: Compliance (all returns are filed, you are paying your taxes on time and in full); and whether or not you are safe from enforced collection action. If you are not current or you don’t know if you’re safe from enforcement then you need to stay in contact with your revenue officer. What you don’t know could hurt you and/or your business.

That being said, I will tell you what I would tell a family member: If you or your business owes money to the IRS, the state or the city, it is a legal matter and as such you should not be talking directly with the Revenue Officer.  The revenue officer, no matter how sweet, is there to collect as much money as possible by whatever means possible.  Call an attorney, know your rights and your options. You’ll save money and sleep better at night.  



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mistakes with Tax Debt More Costly than a Leaky Faucet     

When you work in a business for long enough it’s easy to spot when something is done well and when it’s not.  Then there are those times when there’s nothing left to do but to rip it out and start over.  I was reminded of this four days ago when a business owner came to me with a federal payroll tax liability, a state tax liability and a city tax.     

Usually just one of those taxes is enough to get someone to seek professional help but he decided to do it himself.  Now I don’t blame him, I’ve done it myself, my most recent mistake was to help my mom out by replacing her leaky faucet; how tough could it be? To make a long story short, the faucet I installed leaked into the condo below and caused some costly damage.   Plus, I had to hear about it from my mom, my wife and my sister, not a good choice on my part.  However, if you’re a guy either you’ve made this mistake or you are going to make this mistake someday and there is nothing anyone can say to change that.  Hopefully this email can stop you from making this mistake fixing your tax debt on your own.  Because the cost to you can be much greater than the plaster and paint I had to pay for, it can cost you your business and years of happiness.     

If you are dealing with tax debt, how you address it will make a big difference in how much you pay; and deciding on whether to address the city, state or federal taxes makes a big difference.   For example a shop here in Boulder was shut down by the state over a $12,000 debt; this didn’t have to happen.     

The IRS manual is a 17,000 page instruction manual, the instruction on how to fix the faucet was about 5 pages, don’t do this alone give us a call and let’s discuss your case.



Monday, April 13, 2015

What Should I Do If I Can’t Afford to Pay My 2014 Taxes on Time?

If you are current with your 2015 taxes, then you should pay as much of the 2014 taxes as possible before the filing deadline.  Go to IRS.GOV for information on how to pay or give us a call and we can help you out (877) 415-9100.  Failure to pay penalties are based on how much you owe, by paying as much as possible you will reduce the amount of penalties assessed against you.

If you need to file other returns for previous years and/or you can’t afford to pay all of the taxes right away or doing so would create a hardship, then it is time to look at other options to resolve your tax liabilities. 

Many tax payers take the position that I owe the taxes so I will find a way to pay them, somehow. Unfortunately, penalties and interest add up so fast that you just end up accruing more liability. Don’t fall into this trap, you may qualify for other options such as an offer in compromise or a partial payment plan which will allow you to pay your back taxes and get your financials back in line.

Give me a call and let’s talk about your situation and what options might be available. 



Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Save Time and Money Resolving Your Tax Liability   

Many small businesses and individuals are stuck with large tax debts caused from fighting to stay in business during these difficult economic times.  The IRS has also placed a fair number of taxpayers into a non-collectible status, also known as CNC or Currently Not Collectible.  This is not a resolution, it is not a break, it is an opportunity to resolve your taxes for a lot less money! If you owe money to the state or federal government and you don’t have the ability to pay, then you don’t have time to waste, call us now to learn how to resolve your taxes for less.

How do you resolve this debt, when the IRS charges more than 25% in penalties and interest?  How do you resolve this debt effectively when the IRS won’t tell you your options or how to reduce your liability?

The first step is to understand your options; our attorneys work one on one with you to determine what options you have and the best way to save you money. Then they will work with you to address the underlying causes of the tax debt, when it is needed.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can handle it yourself; this is a legal matter, so your attorney will take over all communication with the IRS in order to get you the best outcome.  Your attorney will review your financial situation and talk with the taxing authority to understand the extent of your liability and the status of your case in order to determine your options.  Once that is done they will discuss with you your options and how best to resolve your tax debt and then they will help you execute your plan to get rid of your tax debt quickly and effectively.

The next issue: how do you find professional assistance? Many of you have received countless phone calls from people promising you the world for a flat fee; you’re skeptical but you need help and you don’t have extra money laying around.  Do your homework, nothing makes me more angry then hearing stories of clients who have had previous representation that took their money and did nothing; not only are they out the flat fee paid, but their liability has grown and the IRS or State revenue officer is angry at the taxpayer because of all of the delays.

If they guarantee an attorney will handle your case, get their name and bar number before you send your money and make sure that you only deal with that attorney.    

Many companies out there quote a flat fee, only to bill the client more later. To avoid being defrauded, have the attorney handling your case put it in writing, along with their name and bar number, so that you will not be billed any additional fees; after all, a flat fee means that you pay one fee for all services.

Tax Resolution Center, Inc. only hires experienced attorneys who are trained to handle cases like yours.  You will work one on one with the attorney handling your case and they are accountable to you! 

Give us a call right now to see if we can help you reach your goals.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Don’t Be Scammed!

If you are called by someone claiming to be with the IRS and you haven’t received any written communication from this person before it’s probably a scam!

I recently received a call from someone who was scared to death because he received a call from a person claiming to be with the IRS. This person demanded that the taxpayer meet him at a local grocery store and provide him with a money order or he was going to jail.

I immediately let him know it was a scam and that he should not meet this person.  Because he was so upset and concerned we called the number he had been given; I questioned the person and the person on the other end started swearing at me and hung up.

It still amazes me that there are people out there impersonating the IRS! 

According to the IRS website: It is important to know that the IRS:

  • Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
  • Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations
  • Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
     

If you have received notices of intent to levy or seize then you are at risk of levy or seizure and you should seek advice from an attorney as soon as possible; it is easier to protect you from levy or seizure then it is to get the money or property back.

There are many people out there looking to use your financial troubles to take advantage of you; don’t be a victim.  Give us a call to tell us about your situation and what options are available.  

Best wishes,

Kip



Monday, January 12, 2015

Congratulations to Clients Starting 2015 Debt-Free 

All of us at the Tax Resolution Center, Inc. would like to wish you a Happy New Year.  We would like to congratulate those or our clients who are starting 2015 debt free. We would like to encourage our other clients to keep working with us to assure you will resolve your tax debts this year.  For those of you who have a tax liability but haven’t been able to resolve it to give us a call and discuss your tax issue; if we can’t help you we can point you in the right direction. 

We would also ask everyone to take a moment to take a few deep breaths and remember what’s most important and then make a plan to spend more time this year with family and friends and/or doing those things that are important to you.

If you just don’t ever seem to have the time, because you are always at work, then you need to make changes, delegate and get help.  

Best wishes,

Kip

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