Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly Tax Resolution Firms

The second most popular page on my personal blog lists the BBB ratings of tax relief firms. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to keep up with that list over the past year, so it is woefully out of date.

However, I did recently find another Enrolled Agent by the name of Jay Freeborne that quite diligently maintains a very comprehensive list of tax resolution companies. When I found his list, he my company (Tax Help HQ) listed on the page of new and unknown firms, but after an email discussion, he moved us up to his “new, but acceptable” list. He called me an “interesting fellow”, which I’ll take as a compliment, and he seems like a good guy himself. I plan to meet with him in person in the next few weeks up in Seattle.

Since Jay does such a good job maintaining a list of new companies and the companies that are just going to take your money and run, I’m going to defer to his list if you are looking for that information. Here are his two lists:

Not Recommended – Companies With D to F BBB Ratings + Honorable Mentions

New & Unrated Companies, with commentary

Overseas assets, FBARs, and FATCA: a.k.a., FUBAR

Last month while I was in Switzerland for a week, I had the “opportunity” of visiting the US Embassy in Bern so that I could obtain a replacement for my stolen U.S. passport.

While I was there, I met several interesting people. One was attempting to obtain a U.S. Social Security Number so that she could file the U.S. income tax returns that the IRS was demanding that she file, since she was born in America, although technically German and Swiss. She had never been to the U.S. since she was 5 years old, and was now in her 50’s and the IRS wanted her returns.

Another lady was there to renounce her U.S. citizenship, under very similar circumstances. She had also been born on U.S. soil, technically making her a U.S. citizen. She had no family or other ties to the U.S., and not visited the U.S. since her teens, but had dutifully filed a U.S. tax return for the past dozen years. She was in her mid-30’s, had no intention of ever living in the U.S., and was very happily Swiss. She was renouncing her U.S. citizenship and turning in her U.S. passport for no other reason than to get away from the hassle of filing a U.S. tax return.

For those two individuals, it made absolutely no sense for them to being filing an American tax return.

But what if you do live in America, or intend to keep your U.S. citizenship, but spend time overseas? If you have overseas assets, especially banking and investment accounts, the IRS has you right in their crosshairs, and they are increasing the pressure.

The recently enacted Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is the latest in a series of measures by the U.S. government to track down overseas assets and make sure that they are getting their cut. This legislation created a new form for us all to fill out, Form 8938, for certain overseas accounts. This is on top of the old Form TD F 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

Now keep in mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong, immoral, or illegal about having overseas assets or investments. In fact, it’s an incredibly smart move to invest some of your money overseas, since the U.S. dollar is so weak, U.S. banks are insolvent, and the U.S. economy stagnant. There are simply better places to obtain a higher rate of return on your money.

But what the IRS doesn’t like is when you are earning returns on that money, and not paying U.S. income tax on it. You see, America is one of the few countries in the world that taxes it’s citizens on their GLOBAL income, even if it wasn’t generated here. If you have overseas bond income, for example, then that is unearned income and subject to income tax, without the benefit of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (which allows you to exclude a certain amount of earned income each year that you earn overseas).

The IRS even wants to know how much money you have sitting in foreign bank accounts, even if that money has no tax impact, and has already been taxed as earnings here in the States. If you have more than $10,000 in a foreign bank or investment account at any time during the year, you have traditionally been required to file an FBAR report by June 30th of each year.

In addition, you must now file Form 8938 with your annual personal income tax return (Form 1040) if you have a foreign bank accounts, foreign stocks or other securities, or any other foreign financial interest if the total value of all your foreign stuff exceeds $50,000. The failure to report a foreign holding can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

Here’s the FUBAR’d part about new FATCA legislation: The U.S. government is now imposing a reporting requirement on foreign banks. That’s right: The U.S. government is forcing sovereign nations and their financial institutions to report information about American account holders to the U.S. government. Failure to make these reports will result in the U.S. government seizing 30% of any transaction coming into or out of the U.S. to or from that bank.

Some countries, such as Switzerland, that have traditionally had very strict bank secrecy protections, have been capitulating to the U.S. government and forcing their banks to send this information to the IRS, because American banking business is so important to the Swiss economy. However, many foreign financial institutions are simply choosing to no longer do business with American customers. There are nearly 6 million American citizens that legitimately live and work abroad that this could impact.

If you require assistance with FBAR compliance, taking advantage of the voluntary disclosure initiative open right now that waives criminal prosecution and some penalties, need help filling out Form 8938 or TD F 90-22.1, or have any questions regarding U.S. tax treaties with other countries or how to minimize your tax burden to the U.S., please contact me.

Are you ready for IRS collections season?

June is an interesting month at the IRS. It’s the month that marks the transition every year for the IRS from tax return processing season to tax collecting season. If you filed your 2011 tax return on time and had a balance due that you didn’t pay, then you’re now entering (or re-entering) the collections process.

If you had a 2011 tax balance, then you’ve probably already received a bill, and it’s about time that a lien gets filed if you haven’t paid the balance yet. If this is your first rodeo with the IRS, then you’re in for a not so fun ride. To learn what to expect, I suggest you read my article on How the IRS Works Collections Cases.

If 2011 brought you an increased balance on top of an existing tax debt, then you’ve already been through the drill. With return processing season finishing up, IRS personnel that were removed from other functions are now starting to be cycled back into their normal job functions. Many of these personnel are cycled from ACS, the IRS’ centralized collections agency. Now that they are going back to their normal jobs, the collections process will pick up.

I would highly encourage you to learn about your rights as a taxpayer (yes, you have rights), and to look at your options as soon as possible. DO NOT just ignore your tax debt, it doesn’t just go away. It is best to deal with it at the ACS level, and long before the IRS starts to consider enforced collections action against you, which could include levies and wage garnishments.

At TaxHelpHQ.com, we have many resources to help you resolve your tax debt situation. Be sure to look at the articles covering your specific situation, and take a look at our toolkits that may be applicable to your situation.

To fixing your tax issues,

Jassen Bowman, EA
TaxHelpHQ.com

Options for Low Income, Low Tax Debt Situations

A friend of a friend was recently referred to me for some help with a tax problem. This individual isn’t rich, works a regular job for a paycheck, and simply got behind on personal income taxes. The situation is compounded by the possibility of some errors on the originally filed tax returns, which I have yet to examine to make that determination one way or the other.

This is NOT an uncommon situation these days. Regular, working class folks that owe a few thousand this year that they can’t pay, and the same thing the next year, etc. Do this for 3 or 4 years, and suddenly you owe the IRS $10k, $15k, $20k…with penalties and interest growing it daily. So, what to do?

First and foremost, I have a rule. It kind of stems from my rule regarding work from home opportunities (“Never pay a fee to get a job”), and it goes like this: Don’t get screwed by a tax resolution firm promising you the world when you can easily fix the problem yourself.

Yes, the IRS carries a big stick. But they’re not going to hit you upside the head with it if you take care of the situation.

First of all, if you believe you’ve made mistakes on your tax returns that caused the liability, then you should have the tax returns amended. You have three years from the date a return was filed in order to correct it, so if you’re in that time window and you think you would owe less if they were fixed, start there.

Second, if your tax liability is under $25,000 and it’s personal income tax, then there is a special program available called a Streamline Installment Agreement that you should look at. Under this program, the IRS will let you enter up to a 5 year payment plan (or less, if you can shoulder the monthly payment), in order to pay this off. Warning: Penalties and interest still accrue while you’re on a payment plan!

If the tax debt is getting old, say older than 6 years, then another option might be to get you into a non-collectible status and just ride it out until the statute of limitations expires (which is 10 years). For this, you have to be able to demonstrate that, in a nutshell, you are flat broke and scrape by paycheck-to-paycheck. If you suddenly win the lottery, the IRS will see that and come knocking on your door again, of course.

The final option to consider, if you *are* broke and really just want the monkey off your back, is an Offer in Compromise. Despite the commercials you may see on TV, the Offer program is not a straight up “pennies on the dollar” deal, but you must rather demonstrate financial necessity. If you’re single with no kids, have a car payment, and don’t own anything of value (art, a house, coins, gold, guns, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, classic cars, an island, etc.), and you make less than about $3000 to $4000 per month (it depends on what part of the country you live in), then you might be a candidate for making an Offer in Compromise of some nominal amount (it has to be at least $1). This route requires extensive personal financial disclosure and takes about 6 months from start to finish, most of which is simply waiting on the IRS to process the application. If you have kids or a spouse, the amount you can make and still qualify goes up. If you don’t have a car payment, the amount you can make and still qualify goes down.

Elsewhere on this blog, I cover the OIC program and Streamline Installment Agreements in further detail. Also look for the Guaranteed Installment Agreement post if you owe less than $10,000 — those are easy as pie and can be done over the phone using an automated voice response system.

If you qualify for a Guaranteed or Streamline Installment Agreement, you can easily do it yourself over the phone. Getting into Status 53 (Currently Not Collectible) is almost as easy, and takes less than an hour on the phone with the IRS. An Offer in Compromise is obviously a bit more complicated, and while plenty of people do these themselves, many choose to hire representation to help them out on this (but you still need to be weary of getting screwed on fees and doing business with a reputable firm).

Until tomorrow,

Jassen Bowman, EA
TaxHelpHQ.com

IRS finally fixes the worst problem with the Offer in Compromise program

Yesterday, the IRS rolled out a shiny, brand new version of Form 656-B, the Offer in Compromise application booklet. After years of complaints from every corner of the tax world, including tax professionals, taxpayer advocacy groups, the government’s own Taxpayer Advocate panel, and even members of Congress, the IRS has finally fixed the worst problem that has ever existed with the Offer in Compromise program.

Under the system as it has existed for nearly 15 years, the IRS expected you to include in your offer amount the equivalent of your next 4 or 5 years worth of disposable income. In other words, the IRS would look at your current income, deduct your allowable household expenses, and then multiply that number by either 48 or 60…and then expect you to come up with that amount of money (plus the value of your assets) within the next few months, which obviously isn’t practical and defeats the very purpose of the OIC program.

Here’s an example: If you make $4,000 per month, and the IRS “allows” you credit for $3,500 in monthly expenses, then you have $500 per month left over. If you agree to pay your Offer amount in 5 months or less, they multiply that $500 times 48 months, which is $24,000. If you also happen to have $20,000 of equity between a car and your house, your minimum offer amount suddenly becomes $44,000, or almost an entire year’s salary…and they expect you to come up with that amount in 5 months. And if you owe the IRS less than this amount, then you’re not even eligible for the program.

In other words, the Offer program was really only an option for people that owed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, and could come up with that kind of cash to make a lump sum payment, OR was only good for people that were absolutely destitute, with absolutely no assets and so little income that they couldn’t even realistically put a roof over their head.

Well, the IRS finally wised up after years of effort by tax consultants such as myself, advocacy groups, and the Taxpayer Advocate. Under the new rules announced yesterday, the IRS has dropped the “multiply by 48 or 60” rule and made it a “multiply by 12 or 24 rule”. If you are paying your offer amount in full within 5 months, this means that your minimum offer amount you must send the IRS just dropped by 80%. Thank you, IRS, it’s about damn time!

If you would like professional assistance in preparing your Offer in Compromise application, please get in touch with me and consider my Offer in Compromise Application Service, which will save you thousands of dollars over traditional tax resolution options.

To furthering tax sanity,

Jassen Bowsman, EA
TaxHelpHQ.com

IRS Offers in Compromise And Your Tax Refund

Expecting a tax refund this year after you filed your tax return last month? You did file your tax return last month, right? A couple quick things about that.

First, if you have filed an IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC) and it is pending approval, or it has been accepted, you MUST file your tax returns on time and paid in full for a period of 5 years. If you fail to do this, your Offer in Compromise will be denied or, if already approved, REVOKED, and your full tax liability reinstated.

Second, if you filed your tax return and are waiting for that refund check, you’re going to be waiting for a very long time. One of the conditions of filing an Offer in Compromise is that the IRS will intercept (i.e., take) your tax refunds on any tax returns you file. They will do this through December 31st of the year in which your Offer in Compromise is ACCEPTED. Since it takes usually 6+ months for an Offer in Compromise to work it’s way through the complete bureaucracy of the IRS and negotiate it’s final acceptance, you really don’t want your Offer in Compromise to span multiple years.

If you are thinking about filing an Offer in Compromise anytime soon, do it NOW. Then, try to get it DONE before the end of this year. That way, you will get to keep any tax refund you might be due to get when you file your tax return next year.

If you need assistance with your Offer in Compromise, check out our Offer in Compromise Application Service, which offers preparation of your OIC application and required financial forms for a low flat rate as an alternative to traditional full service tax representation, which will typically cost you several thousand dollars for an Offer in Compromise application.

Federal Government Aims To Raid Federal Pension Funds

Many people may recall the debt/deficit debate that raged in the Federal government last August. The agreement that was reached included extensive budget cuts, a new national debt ceiling, and a clause prohibiting further debt ceiling increases unless certain budget cut trigger points were reached.

While nearly $1 trillion in budget cuts have been identified, spread out over the next decade plus, the trigger points have still not been met. Under current projections, the U.S. government will run out of money sometime towards the end of the year, perhaps in November or December.

The U.S. Treasury, along with it’s enforcer, the IRS, is pulling out all the stops to make available debt limits last as long as possible. In other words, the Treasury is stepping up enforcement, to collect as much money as humanly possible from as many sources as possible. Revenue Officers, the government’s collections agents, are under more and more pressure from their management to bring in as much money NOW as they can.

As an example, just two weeks ago a Revenue Officer issued a levy notice against one of my client’s banks, in an effort to seize any money that was in there. Fortunately, the account was nearly empty, and the IRS only took a few dollars out of the account. The problem was that this client is on an active payment plan and is compliant with current deposit and return filing requirements. Under these conditions, it is actually a violation of Federal law for the IRS to issue a levy and forcefully take money. My client has a legitimate claim to sue the U.S. government if he chose to, and no judge would rule in favor of the Feds.

In addition to actions like this, the Treasury is also trying to identify other sources of funds to extend the inevitable. The Treasury has been raiding the Social Security Trust Fund for decades, to the point where that trust fund doesn’t actually exist anymore, and all payroll taxes collected by the government that should be going into the Social Security fund actually go to pay current benefits and into the general fund.

Now, the Treasury is looking to raid other Federal pension funds. These are funds set aside to monthly benefits for Federal retirees, including both civil service and military pensions.

Yes, if you are a Federal retiree, your pension fund is going to be “borrowed from” later this summer in order to fund Federal government operations.

This sort of thing is going to continue until there is nothing left to borrow from. With the U.S. dollar on a path to be removed as the world’s reserve currency, the value of the dollar will continue to plummet, and there will be fewer and fewer buyers for U.S. Treasury debt.

If you haven’t already started, I would encourage you to start looking towards ways to hedge yourself against the inevitability of the U.S. reaching the same point that Greece and several other countries are already in. In future, I will be writing more and more about this topic, and we will be covering this topic quite a bit in the monthly Taxing Times Premium subscription newsletter.

Washington State Imposing B&O Tax On Out of State Businesses

A recent tax case in Washington state is starting to garner quite a bit of attention, and is raising significant questions about the extent of state taxing authority.

The case involves a processed food ingredient company that manufacturers rice byproducts and sells them as ingredients in other processed foods. The company operates out of three states, and ships it’s products to other manufacturers in all 50 states.

In 2011, the owner of the company was invited to visit the facility of a customer in Washington State, and he did so. This visit triggered an audit by the State of Washington, and resulted in a $180,000 tax bill for 7 years worth of unpaid business and occupation taxes.

While Washington does not have an income tax, it does have a tax on gross receipts of businesses. The tax rate varies based on the type of business, but as an example equals 1.8% of GROSS annual revenue for service businesses. Different product types have different taxing rates.

The manufacturer has no facilities, no sales reps, no offices, not even any registered vehicles in the state of Washington. By any legal definition, the company does not “conduct business” in the state.

However, the state of Washington has determined that, by making ONE business-related visit to the state, the manufacturer established a taxable presence in the state.

Obviously, this is complete and utter BS. However, it is apparently not an isolated case…simply the most egregious.

As state coffers are drained, they are all searching for every dime they can get their grubby hands on. In order to protect yourself, it is important to know the tax laws in regards to any location where you will be doing business.

Understanding the IRS Trust Fund Recovery Penalty

One of the most common points of confusion among business owners that I discuss tax problems with has to do with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty. I’d like to explain what “trust fund” taxes are, where they come, how the IRS holds somebody personally responsible for them, and, most importantly, what you can do about them. This is probably going to be a long article, so you might want to get comfortable.

What Are “Trust Fund” Taxes?

“Trust fund” taxes are any tax that is collected by you, on behalf of somebody else. There are many different trust fund taxes, but the two most common are sales taxes and income withholding taxes.

Most states are very aggressive about collecting sales taxes (North Carolina will physically arrest you for not paying them). Technically speaking, sales taxes are owed by the person making the purchase. However, because they are collected at the point of sale, they are a trust fund tax. This is because the person paying them (e.g., your customer) is “trusting” you to hold that tax money and pay it on their behalf. When you receive sales tax money from your customers, you are supposed to hold it in a separate “trust” account, and then hand it over to the tax man when you it is due (usually monthly, in most states/counties).

Income withholding taxes are also “entrusted” to you by your employees. Specifically, these are income taxes you withhold from paychecks, and the employee’s half of Social Security and Medicare that you take out of their paycheck.

Even though the employee never sees the money that’s taken out of their paycheck, they expect it to exist, somewhere. That somewhere is a trust account (generally your payroll account) where you save that money up and then pay it to the government every two weeks or monthly.

Payroll taxes are the single biggest enforcement concern to the IRS. Part of running a business and having employees is “exercising ordinary business care and prudence”. This is fancy lingo enshrined within the tax code that basically means the IRS expects you to exercise common sense in regards to running your business. Part of this common sense is to understand that your employees cost you more than just the paycheck you actually write them, and if your business doesn’t have the revenue to support those extra costs of having employees, then you shouldn’t have the employee.

So, to recap, trust fund taxes are taxes that are owed by other people, such as your customers (sales tax) and employees (income tax, Social Security, and Medicare withholding), but are held by you for actual payment.

Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Personal Assessment

As mentioned above, the collection of payroll taxes is the single biggest enforcement priority for the IRS. Why? Because those taxes are the actual money that funds the Federal government on a day to day basis. Payroll taxes are the Federal government’s biweekly and monthly paychecks from all of us that are working.

Because this is such an important part of funding government operations, trust fund taxes are the only taxes subject to an extremely powerful collections tool. This tool is special to the IRS, because for them, it does not require going to court. This tool is commonly referred to as “piercing the corporate veil”, and means that the government can come after not just your corporation, LLC, or partnership to collect the tax, but can come after individual corporate officers and try to collect these taxes from them personally.

The IRS is required to follow a procedure before sticking you personally with this tax bill. The process is all administrative, meaning that it is done by your Revenue Officer, and does not go to court, never seen by a judge, and no lawyers are involved.

In order to assess the trust fund against you as an individual, the IRS must determine two things:

  1. That you were the person within the company responsible for paying over the trust fund taxes.
  2. That you were willful in not paying them.

The responsible person is generally considered to be the person in the business that manages the finances, calculates payroll, and signs the paychecks. Even if another employee, such as an office manager or bookkeeper, actually does the physical work of crunching payroll and printing the checks, the responsible person is generally the corporate officer, LLC member, or manager that delegated that task to the employee. For most small businesses, the responsible person tends to be the owner. Also, keep in mind that multiple people can be held responsible.

The IRS must also demonstrate that the responsible person willfully failed to pay the trust fund taxes. What this means is that the person made a conscious decision to use that money for another purpose OR failed to make sure the money existed in the first place. In general, the IRS will look at what other bills got paid instead of the payroll taxes, and use that as sufficient evidence that “willful failure to pay” occurred.

The IRS uses a 4-page interview form to ask all the questions to determine who is “willfull” and “responsible”. This is called a Form 4180, and must be filled out by the IRS employee by telephone or in person. Your representative may use industry lingo and refer to this as a “4180 interview” for short — this is what he is talking about.

After a 4180 interview is conducted, the Revenue Officer will make a determination, and issue an IRS form called a Letter 1153, which is usually accompanied by a Form 2751. The Letter 1153 is the document proposing the assessment of the trust fund against you personally, and the Form 2751 is the form you would sign to skip the appeals process and simply accept the assessment.

In some cases, part of the resolution plan worked out by your representative will include simply accepting the assessment, in exchange for something else, such as a payment plan. However, unless your representative explains that it’s part of the plan, NEVER SIGN A FORM 2751!!!

If you did not file an Appeal, the Letter 1153 goes into force, and the trust fund is assessed against you after 60 days. Appeals will be discussed below.

If the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (the term for the individual assessment) is tacked onto your personal taxes, then you owe it just like you would personal income taxes. At this point, the IRS can come after your personal paychecks, personal assets, personal bank accounts, etc.

Resolving Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Cases

Resolving Trust Fund Recovery Penalty cases can be complicated. The first route usually taken by a tax professional that you hire to help you with this is to fight the “responsible” and “willful” determination. In a larger company, there is often one person responsible, and another willful, but neither is both.

An example of this is a company with a CFO or comptroller that makes financial decisions for the company, and might make the decision to pay rent, utility bills, paychecks, etc., instead of the taxes. However, this person is not the individual that is actually responsible for calculating payroll, signing paychecks, and performing other payroll related functions. In this case, there might be nobody that fits both the “responsible” and “willful” criteria.

Unfortunately, in most small companies, the person that is responsible and willful is generally the same person, usually the business owner. In the case of a small business owned by a married couple, it is fairly common for both spouses to be involved in the financial decision making for the business, which usually makes both of them responsible and willful.

Basically, the smaller the business, the more likely it is that one person, and only person (the owner), is going to get whacked with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty.

In some cases, the IRS may be willing to delay the assessment of the trust fund against a person. In order to do this, you’re going to need to agree to an extension of the maximum legal length of time that the IRS has for making the personal assessment, which is done by signing a Form 2750 (do not confuse this with Form 2751!). In exchange, the IRS will often accelerate the granting of a payment plan to the business itself, based on the theory that the business will pay off the trust fund over time, and therefore make it pointless to hold you personally responsible.

If the assessment can’t be avoided, then it becomes a personal tax matter. At this point, the other resolution options normally available for personal tax matters come into play, such as payment plans, reduced settlements (Offer in Compromise), and uncollectible status. One thing to keep in mind is that trust fund taxes CAN NOT be eliminated in bankruptcy.

Conclusion

This has been a long article, and probably a lot to digest. However, it explains the entire process of trust fund recovery penalty assessment, where it comes from, and what you can do about it. Hopefully, if you are facing this particular IRS demon, you now have a better understanding of how you can fight it.

While most tax problems really can be resolved on your own, Trust Fund Recovery Penalty cases are one of the few situations where I highly encourage people to obtain professional representation. If you are in this situation, please get in touch with me to to discuss your case.

Final Thoughts For 2011 Tax Returns on Deadline Day

Today is April 17th: Tax day. I’m sure that it will be discussed during the day’s talk shows and news broadcasts, and there will be long lines at the post offices that stay open until midnight. There will be reminders aplenty around you today that this is the day, the final day, the deadline, the “do it or go to jail” day.

In reality, that’s all hogwash.

In all actuality, there is only one firm, hard deadline today for most taxpayers: Today is the last day the IRS will accept e-files. If you file tomorrow, you have to mail it in.

What about an extension? Yes, if you want to file an extension, it’s a good idea to do so. But NOT filing an extension doesn’t have any real consequences.

If you owe the IRS money for 2011, then yes, today is theoretically the deadline to pay it. But for most people reading this particular article, the reason they’re reading this info in the first place is because they don’t have the cash on hand to pay their tax bills. So what really happens if you don’t file and pay on time?

Really, nothing of non-monetary consequence.

Yes, you’re going to pay some interest and penalties if you owe. There are both late filing penalties AND failure to pay penalties, and yes, they’re steep. These penalties are a percentage of what you owe, as are interest charges. Interest is compounded daily, which starts to add up.

If you’re able to pay your taxes with cash, a credit card, or borrowing the money from relatives, then do so, and do it on time. Even if you owe several thousand dollars and have room on a credit card to pay it, then do so, and do it on time — the finance charges on the card are going to be a lot lower than what the IRS will charge you over the course of 6 months to a year.

If you owe the IRS so much money that you simply can’t pay it no matter what, then don’t fret too much. If this is the first time you’ve accrued a tax liability, then the IRS has special rules that allow for the forgiveness of penalties for first time offenders.

If you have previous tax liabilities, then this will get added on to your total. As your total grows, so does your eligibility for certain tax resolution programs, such as the Offer in Compromise or the Currently Not Collectible program.

Here’s my bottom line advice: If you can’t pay your 2011 tax bill today by any means, then accept the fact that penalties are going to be added on, and start thinking about what arrangements you can make to take care of the situation. If you have questions regarding your personal situation, then please contact me, I’d be more than happy to speak with you regarding your tax liabilities, at no cost or obligation.

Happy tax day!

Sincerely,

Jassen Bowman, EA
TaxHelpHQ.com