The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

Archive for August, 2013

Working With The IRS On Tax Liabilities

Do you owe the IRS tax money? Is it kind of high? Are you scared and worried because you’re unsure how you’re going to pay them because you already have so many other bills?

You’re not alone, but here’s a reality. Most of us think of the IRS as this almighty bully looking to take us down. Like most governmental agencies though, they’re not really like that. As a matter of fact, the majority of people you talk to at the IRS are willing to work with you, no matter what your situation is, to help you pay your bills. That is, if you’ve at least filed your tax return, whether you actually paid them or not.

Of course your first step is to make sure everything’s correct. You should either run your taxes through an accountant, a tax service, or a tax attorney. On that last one, only go to an attorney if you think you’re going to owe $10,000 or more; otherwise it’s not really worth it.

You’ve probably received a letter in the mail from the IRS, registered or not, to get the process started. Your first step is to pick up the phone and call them. Have your courage ready; not that you necessarily need it but what happens sometimes is you could be on hold for longer than 30 minutes. Many people will find a way to talk themselves out of staying on the line and waiting for someone; that’s fear talking and you have to shut it out. If you call again, the process starts all over.

Once you get someone on the phone you’ll have to confirm the amount you owe. If you believe your balance should be different they will put a hold on your account of 14 to 30 days and do a full review. If you have any extra information for them they’ll ask you to send it to them.

If you know you actually owe the amount requested they’ll ask you if you want to set up a payment arrangement with them. If you have circumstances that make it hard for you to make big payments they’ll work with you on smaller payments.

The caveat here is twofold.

One, they’ll tell you that you have to make sure you pay all the taxes for the previous year so that you don’t have the same thing happen the next year. You might find that hard to do but try to keep up. They will work with you again, but they won’t tell you that initially. As long as your overall outstanding balance stays below $25,000, you’ll probably be okay as long as you prove you’re trying.

Two, you’ll continue building up interests and penalties. Both are actually much lower than any credit cards you’d ever have, but it’ll make them set up a payment so that you’re actually paying down the balance instead of allowing it to increase. Still, don’t make an agreement for an amount that you know you can’t pay; that’ll look bad on your record if you miss a later payment.

As with most things, the fear goes away when you make that first call. People do have jobs to do but most of them understand that people have financial struggles. It’s always better to face these types of things upfront.