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Tax Problem Resolution

By Thomas M. Zeiders
December 08, 2020

There is no such thing as a hopeless tax problem!

As a tax attorney, my legal practice is devoted to defending the rights of taxpayers. I have successfully assisted many individuals and small businesses in resolving their tax problems. I know what your legal rights are, I am committed to defending your rights in all dealings with the IRS and I insist that the IRS respect your rights.

“Do tax attorneys really help or can I just handle this on my own?” is a question I often hear. If you are dealing with tax issues and facing levies or garnishment, an experienced tax attorney who knows the IRS playbook, including federal statutes, IRS regulations, and tax court decisions, is more likely to achieve a favorable outcome than a taxpayer who decides to handle the problem on their own.

This is because the taxpayer lacks full knowledge of their legal rights and the actions the IRS can and can’t take against them. The taxpayer is typically also unaware of the options that exist to resolve the problem. The IRS employee on the other side of the table has no concern for your rights. They will not try to resolve the issue in a way that is most favorable to you unless you know your rights or are represented by an experienced tax attorney.  

There is too much at stake to just try and go it alone. Depending on your circumstances, there may be multiple options available to you to resolve your problem. An experienced tax attorney can help you determine the plan of defense which is the least intrusive and the most beneficial financially so you can get the IRS off your back for good.

These are just a few of the legal options available to solve your tax problems:

 

- Offer In Compromise

The Offer in Compromise (“OIC”) allows you to pay a portion of the taxes you

owe as a full and final settlement of your entire federal tax liability. In May 2012, the IRS adopted sweeping changes to the OIC program. As a result of the IRS changes, the up-front payment to IRS for most taxpayers is substantially reduced and the percentages of Offers in Compromise accepted by IRS has risen from 22% to 40%. I have helped many taxpayers obtain a fresh start to their lives through a successful OIC.

 

- Installment Agreements

Installment Agreements are payment plans in which you are allowed to pay your IRS debt in manageable installments. I have negotiated many IRS Installment Agreements. I can help you

come up with an IRS Installment Agreement that is fair and manageable, AND acceptable to the IRS!

 

- IRS Audit Representation

I have represented many small businesses and individual taxpayers in IRS audits. I know how the audit process works. I know what documents are necessary to support questioned deductions, and I know from experience how to present your information to ensure the best chance of success in the audit. 

Don’t let an inexperienced accountant or return preparer who has no knowledge of your rights or how the audit process works represent you in a tax audit. There’s too much at stake. You should hire an experienced tax attorney to assist you.

 

- IRS Audit Appeals

When the IRS Auditor issues a “Final Audit Report” it usually shows that all judgment calls were made in favor of the IRS. Auditors will assess the maximum amount of tax, penalty, and interest possible (within reason) and move on to the next audit. But the Auditor’s Final Report is not final. The Auditor’s Final Report merely recommends additions to the tax plus penalties and interest. 

Once the Auditor has submitted the Final Report, you have an absolute right to appeal the IRS Auditor’s findings with the IRS’s independent Office of Appeals. IRS Appeals’ mission is to help taxpayers resolve tax disagreements. Unlike the Auditor, IRS Appeals will typically resolve many issues in favor of the taxpayer. Most of the taxpayers I have represented in IRS Appeals have significantly reduced their tax liability on appeal.

 

- Collection Due Process Appeals

Before the IRS can take any money from a taxpayer by garnishing wages or levying bank accounts, the IRS is required by law to mail the taxpayer a Letter 1058: Final Notice Of Intent To Levy And Notice Of Your Right To A Hearing. Before the IRS garnishes your wages or takes money out of your bank account, you have an absolute legal right to file a Collection Due Process Appeal and stop the collection action. But you must act quickly. 

You must file your Collection Due Process Appeal within 30 days of the date of the 1058 letter. In most of the collection due process appeals I have filed, the IRS has accepted an installment agreement or some other reasonable collection alternative the taxpayer can afford. The Collection Due Process Appeal is a powerful tool the law provides to assist taxpayers in getting a fair shake. If you received a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing, you must act now! Don’t let the appeal time expire.

 

- Other Collection Defense Alternatives

Even if you’ve already received a Letter 1058 and you failed to file a timely Collection Due Process Appeal, you still have many other valuable collection defense rights. As I said before, there is no such thing as a hopeless tax problem!

 

- IRS Notice of Federal Tax Lien or Oklahoma Tax Commission Tax Warrant

If you have tax debt the IRS and/or OTC may file tax liens which can seriously affect your assets and your ability to obtain credit. A tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you owe a tax debt. Several options may be available to you to deal with a tax lien, including obtaining a discharge, a subordination, a withdrawal, or a release. There may also be options available to you to avoid a tax lien altogether.

 

- Innocent Spouse Requests

Innocent Spouse Requests are one of my specialties. I have filed many of them successfully. If you are liable for tax on a joint return due to income your spouse earned, you may be eligible for relief under the Innocent Spouse provisions. Contact me today.

 

- Audit Reconsideration Requests

The Audit Reconsideration is a little known IRS procedure in which the taxpayer gets another chance to prove his case to the IRS. For example:

 

  • You never received the IRS Audit Notice;

  • You failed to provide records the IRS requested;

  • You failed to respond to an IRS notice of additional tax due;

  • You didn’t file a return, and the IRS filed a return for you;

 

In these and dozens of other situations, the IRS will simply assess additional tax, penalty and interest, and demand payment. The solution can be an Audit Reconsideration, where you present your records to IRS, substantiate your income and deductions, and correct your tax liability. 

I have used the Audit Reconsideration process with great success and saved my clients thousands of dollars of taxes that they didn’t owe. Call me today about his exciting tool for reducing or eliminating your tax liability.

 

- Penalty Abatement Requests

At the beginning of the IRS’s Penalty Handbook, a section of the Internal Revenue Manual, IRS states: “In 1955 there were approximately 14 penalty provisions in the Internal Revenue Code. There are now more than ten times that number.” 

Penalty abatement is available if your late filing, late payment, or non-payment of taxes was due to circumstances beyond your control. I have secured penalty abatement for my clients for circumstances ranging from a serious illness, death of a close family member, fire, flood, or other disasters, even drug and alcohol abuse.

 

- Tax Court Representation

Before the IRS can assess additional tax against you, the IRS must send you a “Statutory Notice of Deficiency” by certified mail. You have the absolute right to protest the Notice of Deficiency by filing a case in the United States Tax Court, but you must file a Tax Court petition within 90 days after the Statutory Notice of Deficiency date or the Tax Court will not hear your case. 

Tax Court is a separate federal court devoted exclusively to tax cases, and most Tax Court cases (about 98%) are settled by agreement between the taxpayer and IRS Appeals without a trial. If you’ve received a Statutory Notice of Deficiency, Tax Court may be your best alternative.

 

- Bankruptcy Discharge of Federal and State Taxes

Most people don’t know that federal and state income taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy as long as the tax debts are old enough and the returns have been on file long enough. I have spent a great deal of time and effort learning the rules about discharging tax debts in bankruptcy. Find out if your tax debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Tax problems usually don’t just go away on their own. 

Call or email me to set up an appointment to discuss your tax problems and what tax resolution options are available to you. I can be reached at (918) 743-2000 or tom.zeiders@schafferherring.com.