We are a network of Tax Professionals
When dealing with Tax Relief Advocates you will always have access to a Tax Professional even if you have not signed up for our services yet.
We have the highest integrity
All Tax Professionals are held by a strict code of conduct where if we do not abide we will lose our license and incur hefty fees. On top of that we started in this industry to truly help as many individuals as we can. So losing our license is not an option.
WHAT WE OFFER
We have resolved tax issues for thousands of clients. TR Advocates has the experience to resolve the most difficult IRS problem. You will receive customized care and personalized solutions crafted to fit your specific issue.
Tax Consultation/ Preparation
If you need your taxes filed for your business or personal, or facing the possibility of an IRS collection action, a tax consultation from Tax Relief Advocates could be the best possible decisions you could make – and we are ready to assist you. By making the decision to get a tax consultation from us, you can expect the expert advice, guidance and representation needed to get you through the various IRS collection processes as quickly, cost effective and painlessly as possible. Your tax consultation doesn’t just end with your first call to one of our specialists, as we have an entire team of consultants, attorneys, enrolled agents and CPAs ready and willing to stand with you. What’s more is the fact that our entire team has a proven track record of results in helping people just like you, in the same situation and in the same state of mind – you are not alone. By getting a tax consultation with Tax Relief Advocates you’ll receive the numerous benefits of years of experience from some of the top tax professionals in America.
How do you negotiate with the IRS? If the thought terrifies you, relax. There are licensed professionals out there that specialize in helping residents just like you resolve your tax headaches. Depending on your financial circumstances and how much you owe, you may be able to make payments over time, or pay a reduced amount, either in a lump sum or in payments. In some cases you won’t have to pay the back taxes at all, at least for now. In some cases, you can have your back tax obligations permanently wiped clean.
Currently Not Collectible
There are times where you agree with the IRS that you owe taxes, but you can’t pay due to your current financial situation. If the IRS agrees that you can’t both pay your taxes and your reasonable living expenses, it may place your account in Currently Not Collectible (CNC) (hardship) status. While your account is in CNC status, the IRS will not generally engage in collection activity (for example, it won’t levy on your assets and income). However, the IRS will still charge interest and penalties to your account, and may keep your refunds and apply them to your debt. Before the IRS will place your account in CNC status, it may ask you to file any delinquent tax returns. If you request CNC status, the IRS may ask you to provide financial information, including your income and expenses, and whether you can sell any assets or get a loan. If your account is placed in CNC status, during the time it can collect the debt the IRS may review your income annually to see if your situation has improved . Generally, the IRS can attempt to collect your taxes up to 10 years from the date they were assessed, though the 10-year period is suspended in certain cases. The time the suspension is in effect will extend the time the IRS has to collect the tax.
The IRS may provide administrative relief from a penalty that would otherwise be applicable under its First Time Penalty Abatement policy. You may qualify for administrative relief from penalties for failing to file a tax return, pay on time, and/or to deposit taxes when due under the Service’s First Time Penalty Abatement policy if the following are true:
- You didn’t previously have to file a return or you have no penalties for the 3 tax years prior to the tax year in which you received a penalty.
- You filed all currently required returns or filed an extension of time to file.
- You have paid, or arranged to pay, any tax due.
The failure-to-pay penalty will continue to accrue, until the tax is paid in full. It may be to your advantage to wait until you fully pay the tax due prior to requesting penalty relief under the Service’s first time penalty abatement policy. Other administrative relief: If you received incorrect oral advice from the IRS, you may qualify for administrative relief.
IRS Installment Plans
If you’re financially unable to pay your tax debt immediately, you can make monthly payments through an installment agreement. As long as you pay your tax debt in full, you can reduce or eliminate your payment of penalties or interest, and avoid the fee associated with setting up the agreement. Before applying for any payment agreement, you must file all required tax returns.
You may be eligible to apply for an online payment agreement
- Individuals must owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest, and have filed all required returns.
- Businesses must owe $25,000 or less in payroll taxes and have filed all required returns.
- If you meet these requirements, you can apply for an online payment agreement.
Even if you’re ineligible for an online payment agreement, you can still pay in installments
- Complete and mail Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request (PDF) and Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement (PDF);
- Call 800-829-1040 or the phone number on your bill or notice
Small Businesses with employees can apply for an in-Business Trust Fund Express installment agreement
- These installment agreements generally do not require a financial statement or financial verification as part of the application process.
- Find out if you qualify and how to apply.
Understand and manage your agreement to avoid default
- Confirm your payment information, date and amount by logging in to the Online Payment Agreement tool;
- Ensure your statement is sent to the correct address, contact us if you move or complete and mail Form 8822, Change of Address (PDF).
- Request any other changes to your agreement online or through contacting us;
- Your future refunds will be applied to your tax debt until it is paid in full;
- Pay at least your minimum monthly payment when it’s due;
- Include your name, address, SSN, daytime phone number, tax year and return type on your payment;
- File all required tax returns on time & pay all taxes in-full and on time (contact us to change your existing agreement if you cannot); and
- Make all scheduled payments even if we apply your refund to your account balance
If you don’t receive your statement, send your payment to the address listed in your agreement. There may be a reinstatement fee if your agreement goes into default. Penalties and interest continue to accrue until your balance is paid in full. If you are in danger of defaulting on your payment agreement for any reason, contact us immediately. We will generally not take enforced collection actions:
- When an installment agreement is being considered;
- While an agreement is in effect;
- For 30 days after a request is rejected, or
- During the period the IRS evaluates an appeal of a rejected or terminated agreement.
Offer In Compromise
Here is how an IRS Offer-in-Compromise works:
- Both you and the IRS acknowledge that there is no feasible way to pay off all your tax debt. This means that you do not have enough income to pay off your debt and do not have enough valuable assets that the IRS could seize
- You offer to pay the IRS the maximum amount that you can afford even though that amount may fall far short of the actual tax debt
- If the IRS accepts that the amount you offer to pay is the most that it could reasonably expect to collect from you, it will agree to compromise and essentially lower your tax debt to match the amount you can pay
- Once you have finished paying the agreed upon amount, the tax debt is considered “paid in full.” This is true even if the agreed-upon Offer-in-Compromise is only a small percentage of what you originally owed
Getting Help with Offer In Compromise
- Doubt as to Liability – Doubt exists that the assessed tax is correct.
- Doubt as to Collectibility – Doubt exists that the taxpayer could ever pay the full amount of tax owed.
- Effective Tax Administration – There is no doubt the tax is correct and could be collected but an exceptional circumstance exists that allows the IRS to consider a taxpayer’s OIC.
Innocent Spouse Relief
The IRS can sometimes saddle you with a tax debt that is actually the responsibility of your spouse or ex-spouse. If the actions of your spouse caused the tax problem and you were unaware of or had no part in those actions, you can use the IRS Form 8857 to request tax resolution called “innocent spouse relief” and have the tax debt and penalties removed.
Can you afford to live on 50% of your paycheck? Probably not. When the IRS or a State has failed to collect back taxes, they will begin to seize assets. If phone calls and letters are not returned, they will take the next step. This process is called a “levy”. The taxing authorities are legally allowed to seize bank accounts, demand payment from accounts receivable, take control of property for auction, and assume title on vehicles. Virtually anything of value can be seized to satisfy the outstanding debt. Wage garnishments are another form of tax levy, though the seizure of assets from your paycheck is an ongoing process. If the levy on your wages is removed through tax resolution, the wage garnishments will be stopped. Since wage garnishments function as a basic form of a forced, involuntary installment plan, they can sometimes be removed through tax resolution by setting up a regular and approved installment plan. Besides removing the burden from your employer and giving you the power to handle the payments yourself, an installment plan can often be set up with payments that are considerably less than the wage garnishment amounts. That is why this form of tax resolution is very common. Levies and wage garnishment can be the most stressful and humiliating of all collection tactics. They do this to force taxpayers into willful compliance. We may be able to release your wages from garnishment and/or possibly stop the levy. Tax Relief Advocates has been successful in getting levies lifted and garnishments stopped in a timely manner. We know your rights as a taxpayer and we are here to help.
Tax Levy Release
When the IRS issues a notice that it intends to levy and seize your assets you have 30 days to challenge the tax levy to attempt tax resolution or pay the amount due. If you cannot pay the tax debt in full before the IRS is scheduled to seize your assets, you may be able to remove the tax levy anyway with proper tax resolution by setting up an installment plan with the IRS or by making other arrangements. But the best course of action is to work out a mutually agreeable solution with the IRS – and avoid the levy altogether.
The IRS is far from perfect, and does make mistakes. There are a few perfectly legitimate ways to remove a tax lien if you know where to start.
You Can Appeal the Lien
You can get the IRS to remove Notice of Federal Tax Lien if you can show that the IRS was in the wrong. A lien can be removed with tax resolution on appeal if:
- The tax debt has already been paid in full.
- The lien was filed in error.
- The lien was filed in error and the IRS made a processing error with your return.
- The IRS did not follow proper procedures.
- You were going through bankruptcy when the lien was filed.
- You weren’t given a chance to dispute the amount assessed by the IRS.
- You wish to make spousal defenses by claiming that your spouse should be liable for the lien.
- You want to discuss collection options, like through the Fresh Start Initiative.
- The statute of limitations of 10 years on collecting the tax debt has passed.
On the notice of the lien, you are given the option to request a Collection Due Process hearing with the Office of Appeals. The request for an appeal must be made within 30 days after fifth day of the lien being filed, or by the date indicated on the notice. We can deal with the IRS and provide assistance with filing an appeal, or requesting a lien withdrawal.
A new tax lien policy allowing for “withdrawal” gives hope to many struggling taxpayers. Withdrawal removes the lien as if it was never there, and occurs when the taxpayer’s lien is paid off, or it’s proven that the lien was filed falsely. Withdrawal is also possible if you qualify for the Fresh Start Initiative, have entered a direct debit agreement, and your balance is lower than $25,000. In order to complete an official withdrawal of a lien, the taxpayer must make a formal request to the IRS (using IRS Form 12277, also known as Application for Withdrawal of Filed Form 668(y), Notice of Federal Lien). Once this request is filed, the IRS will return a form 10916(c), which is the magic word to open the door to cleared credit. It is important to note that this new policy does not include tax liens held at the state levels. Those liens will still be evident on your credit reports. Also not subject to complete withdrawal are tax settlements. Such settlements, commonly called “Offers in Compromise,” are present when a taxpayer and the IRS settle on terms of a lien where less than what is actually owed is considered adequate payment. Due to this not being an exact repayment in full, the IRS grants what they call a “release” rather than an actual withdrawal.
The same as with a withdrawal, if you qualify for FSI and your balance is below $25,000, you can request that the lien be released. Otherwise, once your debt has been paid in full, or you’ve arranged a streamlined installment agreement, your lien will be released after 30 days. A lien that’s been “released” means that it’s no longer attached to your property and assets, and public records will reflect the change. But unlike a withdrawal, a release will remain on your credit report for up to ten years after the debt has been paid. Once you receive a copy of the lien release, you can use it to update your credit report with the credit reporting bureaus.
Another common term in lien removal is subordination, which allows another creditor to “subordinate” the IRS’ interest in a property and move ahead of the line. The IRS will only permit this if it’ll help them get paid more or sooner. For example: if you’re trying to refinance your home, the IRS will allow a lender to go above the lien and refinance in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. This process is complicated, though, and professional assistance is always recommended.
How to Remove a Lien from your Credit Reports
Once you have the tax lien removed, either through withdrawal or release, it’s time to contact the three credit agencies to make sure they’ve updated your reports.
- Once you have received a Notification of Withdrawal or Release from the IRS, get a copy of your credit report (AnnualCreditReport.com) to find the status of the lien. Often, the bureaus will automatically update the lien on your report with no work on your part.
- If it has not been updated, contact each agency to dispute the lien.
- The agencies will then contact your local courthouse to establish that your information is accurate. Then each agency will alert you on how each dispute turned out, and if the lien was removed or not.
- Experian, in particular, will send instructions with what you should send to verify that the lien was released. With those documents, they should be able to update the status of the lien.
Tax liens can slash your credit score, and will tarnish your credit history for years to come. Ensure that any liens are updated or removed from your credit report as soon as possible.
How to Avoid a Property Tax Lien
Pay your taxes in full and on time! File your taxes before the IRS has the time, or the reason, to send an IRS rep out to file a tax lien against you at your local courthouse. The damage a lien could do to your credit report is serious, so it’s best to avoid having one filed in the first place. Easier said than done, right? Well, there are a few ways you can prevent a tax lien if you can’t pay your taxes on time.
- DO NOT ignore or misplace any notices or letters the IRS sends.
- DO keep track of your tax status, and keep all of your records in a safe, secure place.
- DO respond quickly to any notices, either by phone, mail or fax. Wait too long and the IRS might feel you are trying to avoid paying the debt, and file a lien.
- DO contact the IRS immediately if you believe the tax lien was filed in error.
- DO arrange for an extension if you cannot pay your tax debt by April 15th.
- DO set up an installment agreement with the IRS if you cannot pay the debt in one full payment. If the IRS knows that you have negotiated an installment plan, they will not file a lien against you. If you fail to pay on schedule, you’ll lose your credibility with the IRS and they’ll file a lien against you immediately.
- DO contact a professional tax attorney for tax resolution if you are wary of working directly with the IRS. They can explain your options, your next steps, and help you set up any payment plans or extensions with the IRS. They can also help you file an appeal if a lien was filed erroneously.
Tax Relief Advocates can help. If you owe IRS tax debt, have already received a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, or feel that a lien was filed against you wrongly, our tax attorneys will work to have your tax issues resolved once and for all.
Unfiled Tax Returns
We find that taxpayers do not file tax returns for one or more years for various reasons and the problem can become overwhelming. Missing all or a portion of their records, personal hardship and/or neglect are one of many reasons people fall behind in filing their taxes. Fortunately, there are ways to approach the problem of unfiled returns. The IRS maintains a file going back numerous years of all W2′s, 1099′s and 1098′s (mortgage interest paid) filed in the name of individual taxpayers. Tax Relief Advocates can determine certain facts from Master File Transcripts, available for those years where the IRS has prepared a Substitute Return. These ‘records of account’ provide Adjusted Gross Income, Taxable Income, Tax, Number of Exemptions, Filing Status and Self Employment Tax. When we take on this kind of case, we will assist in re-filing your returns and our negotiations will be based on our more favorable returns for your benefit. Tax Relief Advocates can prepare past returns using various substitute sources when there are missing records. Those returns should be filed as soon as possible in order to avoid accumulated compounding interest. Also, it should be noted that if returns have not been filed in the most recent three tax years, those returns should be prepared immediately in order to claim any refunds that may be due.