The Truth About IRS Tax Settlement Firms.
To deal with this dilemma–which may activate a substantial fiscal crisis–a new type of business has sprung up to assist delinquent citizens manage their tax debts.
Known commonly as tax settlement firms, these entities assert they could either radically reduce or totally eliminate whatever the customer owes the IRS. But can these firms really deliver what they promise or is it buyer beware? This article examines how tax settlement firms work and their success rate. Keep Reading to find out more.
Tax settlement firms claim to have a litany of specialists –former IRS workers –who can go to bat for their clients. Promises by tax settlement agencies are almost impossible to meet since the IRS rarely takes any actual proposal to cut back the amount of tax owed. Qualifying for offers-in-compromise is difficult and typically take at least a few months to complete. Most tax settlement businesses charge high fees.
You’ve probably noticed the advertisements on television. Desperate people who owe tens of thousands of dollars into the IRS and nobody to help them out. Cue the tax settlement firm, which measures in and leaves their customers amazing messages that says their tax liability is reduced by hundreds or thousands of dollars. Clients are elated, being left more than satisfied.
In case you’re confused about the tax settlement industry and what it will, think of this debt settlement enterprise. The two work in precisely the same way to some level. Most firms that focus on tax settlements assert to have a litany of tax experts at their disposal who are former IRS employees who can go to bat for their clients. In reality, this may be a significant misrepresentation–at least in certain scenarios.
Even though there can be a couple of lawyers and a handful of people in the company who worked for the IRS at a certain stage, the majority of employees probably haven’t. In fact, the majority of employees may be little more than minimum-wage customer service agents.
What They Give.
In reality, this is almost impossible to do, as well as the IRS rarely takes any actual reduction in the total amount of tax owed.
In the event the taxpayer is near death in the event the debtor is unable to acquire any kind of gainful employment in the event the person owing taxes has absolutely no resources whatsoever that could be utilised in a meaningful way to pay the compulsory tax obligations.
The very best everybody else could hope for is perhaps an extension of time to pay off their tax debts.
Offer in Compromise.
Tax settlement firms use an accepted IRS procedure known as an offer in compromise in an effort to cut back their customers ‘ tax statements. This is a particular agreement that some taxpayers are able make with the IRS to repay their tax debts to get a lesser amount than that which is owed. The taxpayer must supply significant information to the IRS regarding his or her existing assets and liabilities as well as projected future earnings.
Offers-in-compromise also typically take at least a few months to complete and qualifying for these offers may be more difficult than qualifying for Medicaid. There’s not any spend-down strategy available with this avenue.
The amount of offer-in-compromise applications that actually get approved is generally very low. So as to possess such a reduction approved, taxpayers must prove that the entire amount owed is wrong, the likelihood of being able to repay the complete amount is extremely low, or paying back the full amount will result in tremendous financial hardship.
The auditor’s inspection isn’t always the last word. Many taxpayers who are audited can appeal their audits and save thousands of dollars.
Tax Settlement Firm Price Tag.
Nearly all tax settlement businesses charge their customers a first fee that may quickly run anywhere between he has a good point $3,000 to $6,000, based upon how big the tax invoice and proposed settlement. Typically, this fee is totally nonrefundable. This fee quite frequently strangely mirrors the amount of free cash the customer has available. This is generally the amount of cash the company says it will save the customer in tax payments.
Clients have also complained to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that a number of those firms haven’t produced any of the guaranteed results and, in fact, the organization was a scam. Many firms also materially misrepresent their charges to customers, perhaps charging them initially with a lower fee before coming back for more once they are deeply involved with the process.
As stated before, the IRS rejects the vast majority of offers-in-compromise it receives annually. Hence, the amount of customers who get satisfaction from tax settlement companies is probably somewhere below 10% and a lot of them are almost destitute financially. The vast majority of potential settlement customers need to work out payment plans with the IRS that allow them to clear out their tax balances over time while maintaining their assets–and dignity.
There are numerous red flags that should warn any prospective clients considering hiring a tax settlement firm. Any firm that promises a radical reduction of a customer’s taxes without first getting a detailed financial history on that person is most likely going to end up being a scam. Any tax representative who doesn’t request a client why the customer owes the IRS money isn’t conducting the complete due diligence process that would be required to get a proper appeal.
Any reputable firm will first acquire key financial data from its clients before giving them a realistic assessment of what they can do to get a reasonable fixed fee. Prospective customers would be wise to discover a local firm that’s been in business for many years and has a presence locally.
Warnings in the IRS.
The IRS is probably the most difficult of all creditors with whom many taxpayers have to deal. It’s the legal ability to seize resources and push ahead with extreme collections steps, and so many delinquent taxpayers find the agency a lot more intimidating than private debt collectors or credit card businesses. Tax preparation firms play greatly upon this anxiety, promising a lifeline of professional help that may make their problems disappear. Don’t be fooled by misleading claims from these outfits that first require substantial up-front payments.
The IRS itself issued warnings to the general public about fraudulent firms, citing many of the issues listed here. If you can’t cover your taxes, be aware the IRS has lots of paths for collecting that which you owe. Novel 594: The IRS Collection Process offers a detailed description of this Offer in Compromise process along with a description of the collections process. Compare that advice to whatever you are told by means of a tax settlement firm to be sure you’ve been given correct information prior to making any decision whether to keep the firm or not.
The Bottom Line.
The tax settlement business is fraught with peril at every turn. People who seek assistance with their outstanding tax balances should have their tax or financial advisor refer them to an experienced tax lawyer with years of experience dealing with this situation. They must also be prepared to undergo extensive financial analysis and a bureaucratic process that can stretch out for weeks. First and foremost, they ought to be prepared to hear the word no in the IRS in the end.