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09 / 01 / 2016 by Greg Freyman, CPA in Tax Representation

How do you check if you owe the IRS back taxes?

passportEvery day we hear about new scams in which a scammer calls victims and claims to be the IRS, demanding money. The general professional consensus is that the IRS will never call and demand money, but that is going to be changing in the next few months. Congress passed the FAST Act, which authorizes private debt collectors to call individuals who are delinquent in their tax payments. Although not currently in effect, likely by the end of 2016 if you owe more than $50,000 in back taxes to the federal government, they can suspend your passport. Many states, such as New York and Massachusetts, will suspend your driver’s license if unpaid state taxes exceed a certain threshold. New Jersey does not currently have a suspension policy like this in place.

So what do you do if you owe the IRS money due to unpaid taxes? You may be tempted to ignore the problem, or to handle it yourself, but these paths can both result in negative consequences. Often, when individuals handle their own collections issues, they can inadvertently increase the statute of limitations for the collections process or can reduce their settlement options. When you work with Greg Freyman, a CPA who is certified to represent you before the IRS as part of the collections process, you increase the likelihood that your back taxes will be settled properly and efficiently.

The collection process begins when the IRS assesses the tax. At this point, the IRS has a 10-year window in which these taxes can be collected. Once this statute expires, the taxes can no longer be collected. It is important to note that there are many actions that can extend this timeline or even suspend the statute of limitations, and Greg will ensure that you do not accidentally extend this window. If the taxes are not paid when assessed, the IRS will issue a billing notice (Form CP501). If you have received a notice that you do not believe is correct, Greg can prepare a response to address any discrepancies.

taxIf the IRS does not receive payment after issuing a billing notice, it will issue a threat to levy (Form CP504). The IRS may issue a final notice of intent to levy (Letter 11). If you have received a notice of intent to levy, you should contact someone who handles IRS collections immediately. There is a limited window during which you can request a hearing, and Greg handles the preparation and filing of this request to ensure that you have the opportunity to negotiate with the IRS.

By coordinating with Greg early on in the collections process, he will be able to take advantage of the numerous options for settlement that may exist. Greg will coordinate with IRS officials to correct any errors (such as if the IRS has issued a lien against the wrong taxpayer), or to negotiate and set up a payment plan to return you to compliance. There are many options for payment plans with the IRS, and if you don’t work with an experienced professional, you risk agreeing to a settlement that requires you to pay more than you would otherwise have to. Greg has knowledge of exemptions and options that are available to taxpayers that the IRS does not offer outright.

if the IRS has already issued a lien on your property, Greg can provide insight into how to get the lien released. He will help you determine what transactions you can or cannot engage in, and will provide insight into what you can do to help settle with the IRS.

Dealing with the IRS can be a hassle, and it requires a great deal of expertise to properly navigate the laws, procedures, and policies surrounding the tax collection process. If you’re currently in collections with the IRS, contact us so that we can assist you through the process.

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