When Should I Contact a Tax Representative?

When Should I Contact a Tax Representative?

In many cases, individuals and businesses can settle their tax issues on their own (or perhaps with a bit of research and help from an accountant). However, there does come a time for some taxpayers when their problems require the assistance of a skilled and experienced tax representative. 

If any of the following tax issues apply to you or your business, we recommend that you don’t try to resolve these issues alone. Instead, please contact the offices of S.H. Block Tax Services so that we can assess the situation and develop a proactive plan to lessen or even eliminate the problem altogether. 

You Have Unfiled Returns 

Falling behind on your taxes can be a very slippery slope, and this problem should be addressed as soon as possible. Please remember that not filing taxes is a crime. Even if you are unable to pay the amount in full, you should at least be sure to file to avoid potential legal action and reduce any penalties that might accrue. So do yourself a favor and remain in compliance with your tax filings, even if you can’t pay by the due date. Confronting a tax liability can be a frightening prospect, but it’s a whole lot messier to put it off and just hope it goes away — it won’t.  

In the event of an audit, the IRS will go through your records as far as six years back, so make sure that you gather all the tax-related documents you can find (1099s, W-2s, dividends, mortgage interest, etc.). That way, your tax representative can accurately assess your situation and try to help you. From there, an experienced tax representative should be able to negotiate with the IRS to come up with a solution that works for both parties. 

You Owe More than $10,000 in Back Taxes 

If you owe an especially large sum in back taxes, we recommend that you contact a tax attorney right away. In many instances, taxpayers who deal with the IRS on their own agree to larger payments than they can afford, which only makes their situation worse.  

Ideally, taxpayers should try to see if they qualify for the IRS’ Offer in Compromise (OIC) program, which allows eligible taxpayers to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount they owe (especially those taxpayers who are unable to afford their debt or would be placed in a financial hardship if they did so). While not everyone is eligible for this program, acceptance is trending upward. In 2016, over 45% of OIC’s were accepted, which is a substantial increase from past years.  

Another option could be to enter into an installment agreement with the IRS in which you make monthly payments. There are benefits and limitations to both approaches, so be sure to call us today to learn more and see if you qualify. 

You Are Receiving Threatening Letters from the IRS 

One thing you should know: all notices sent from the IRS will arrive directly by mail via the United States Postal Service. The IRS will almost never call, email, or text taxpayers, and if you’re receiving communications through those channels that claim to be from the IRS, you are likely the target of a scam attempt, which means you should contact the IRS or local authorities and report the activity immediately.  

If, however, you are receiving authentic letters from the IRS in which they threaten to seize your money or property, you need to take these threats seriously and confront them head on. The notices will explicitly state why the IRS is contacting you, what actions you need to take to resolve the issue, and the potential consequences you will face if you fail to comply. Receiving a letter from the IRS is one of the first signs that the IRS is ramping up their collection efforts, so we suggest you contact a reputable tax representative if you have received one or more of these letters. The only professionals who can represent you before the IRS or comptroller are an attorney, a certified public accountant, or an enrolled agent. 

You Are Facing Garnishments, License Holds, Liens, or Levies 

In 2001, an internal IRS study found that unpaid taxes for that year amounted to $345 billion (yes, that’s with a “b”), which prompted the organization to reshape and intensify its collection policies and practices. Today, the IRS is often quick to impose strict and harsh penalties on delinquent taxpayers.  

RELATED: Does the State of Maryland Have Their Own Offer in Compromise?

For instance, the IRS can impose wage garnishments without court approval, and they could also levy your property or place a lien on your finances or assets to satisfy your debt. This means they could potentially seize and sell any property you own or have an interest in to address your tax debt. 

The IRS isn’t the only government entity that can pressure you to pay your back taxes, either. In coordination with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, the Comptroller of Maryland can withhold or revoke your business or driver’s license if you have an unsatisfied state tax liability. However, by working with our office, you might be able to establish an approved payment plan with the state comptroller’s office, allowing you to renew or keep your license while we work toward a license release. We have years of experience in these releases and have worked with the director of this program to get special programs approved that taxpayers would not have been able to achieve on their own. 

If you’re facing any of these consequences, contact us immediately to de-escalate the situation before it gets any further out of control.  

You Are Being Audited by the IRS 

Even if you’re reasonably confident that you’ve done nothing wrong, being audited by the IRS can put you under a lot of stress. Still, many businesses and taxpayers attempt to handle IRS audits on their own. However, because audits require very close attention to detail regarding your individual or business finances and transactions, successfully navigating an audit requires an exhaustive knowledge of tax law, legal procedure, and accounting best practices. All relevant documents will need to be closely reviewed, and all recent previous years’ tax returns will need to be accounted for.  

An experienced and dedicated tax representative can help guide you through this difficult process and present your case to the IRS in a reasonable and compelling fashion. While many taxpayers are hesitant to hire a representative due to the potential costs, we find that many people who choose to go it alone eventually pay far more from an unsuccessful audit defense than the costs associated with retaining experienced tax representation.  

Don’t make that mistake: Call the team of experienced tax representatives at S.H. Block Tax Services today if you’re facing an audit. 

S.H. Block Tax Services: Maryland’s Trusted Tax Firm 

Tax law is a complicated and nuanced area that requires a great deal of knowledge and skill. There’s a lot of legal jargon, antiquated statutes, and strict protocols, all of which can make taxpayers uncomfortable and anxious if they’re facing any tax-related issues. 

If you ever find yourself feeling in over your head with back taxes or facing any of the issues listed above, contact the offices of S.H. Block Tax Services by calling (410) 872-8376. We offer free consultations with no strings attached. Our sincere hope is that you will be able to resolve your situation with minimal damage to your finances, assets, and emotional well-being — with or without our services. If you feel that you need someone to guide you through a stressful time, we’re happy to sit down with you and explore your options. 

Call our offices today or complete the brief form on this page to schedule your free consultation. You’re not alone. Together, we can work through your tax issues and help you get a fresh start. 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

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