IRS Tax Problems Do Not Have To Last Forever
You can do something about it!
Even though an IRS problem will not go away by itself, it doesn’t mean you are stuck with it forever. Fortunately, if you decide to do something about it and take action, these are problems which can be solved.
I help taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, solve their tax problems so they can take their lives and businesses back. My clients get the added peace of mind of knowing that when they hire me talk to the IRS for you, so that you don’t have to. Read more about putting your IRS problem into the past by going to the services page.
About Me, Allan Pearlman
Tax Problem Solver
My first job out of law school was a judicial clerkship for the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where I wrote bench memos describing relevant facts and law and recommending an outcome to the panel of appellate judges hearing the appeal or a motion on the appeal.
Fear and Loathing in Tax Land
It seems like everyone one knows, and everyone you might meet, regardless of age or profession hates and fears (or at least fears) Uncle Sam’s best known and least liked agency, the Internal Revenue Service: The IRS. A close second which sometimes edges out the IRS for most-disfavored government agency status is the state equivalent of the IRS, for those of us who live in a state, like New York, with an income tax, sales tax, corporate tax, and other state business taxes. (New York’s “IRS” is known as the Department of Taxation and Finance or DTF.)
And it’s not like this antipathy is unreasonable, unwarranted, or undeserved: The IRS (and its state taxing authority counterparts), have unique and extraordinary power to intervene in and interfere with your life or business.
Put another way, the IRS has unique and awesome power to mess you up, whether you are an individual or a business. The IRS can do things other creditors cannot do. For example, the IRS, on its own say so, declare that you (the taxpayer) owe $XX,XXX.00 dollars in tax or more, and in relatively short order treat that assessment as if it were a money judgment awarded after winning a law suit even though
- no suit was started
- no judge assigned
- no jury empaneled
- no evidence presented
- no verdict reached
It can feel like the IRS gets to be judge, jury, and, if not executioner, at least a super-powerful bill-collector.
Some taxpayers don’t fully appreciate what the IRS is doing until one day they discover that they can’t take cash out of an ATM because their bank account is frozen.
Some taxpayers discover that they can’t get a mortgage or can’t refinance because the IRS claims they owe some amount of money and the IRS filed a federal tax lien against them (New York State’s equivalent is called a “Tax Warrant” which functions as a like a civil money judgment and once filed with the county clerk or other local recording authority, as a lien).
When that happens, not only can the taxpayer not get a mortgage, they cannot buy a home or sell the one they live in until they satisfy the IRS.
Plus, in a relatively recent grant of additional power over taxpayers, the IRS can revoke a taxpayer’s passport or have the State Department reject an application to get or renew a passport (the State Department issues and governs passports) where the IRS says the taxpayer owes $52,000 or more. Similarly, New York State can suspend or revoke a taxpayer’s driver’s license, where there’s an unresolved $10,000 tax debt.
Talk about awesome power!
So, what makes the IRS so frightening?
In addition to the IRS’s awesome power described above people dread what seem like tentacles, claws, and the inescapable grip of the IRS.
It can be like a nightmare or horror movie come to life: an enormously powerful, seemingly brutal, irrational and punishing bureaucracy that can focus on you, a taxpayer who’s just trying to make a living and pay his or her bills, and use that focus and that power to take over your life, turn it upside down, ask all sorts of invasive questions and do the financial equivalent of a colonoscopy – without an anesthetic!
The dread also comes from the fear that this huge and hugely powerful bureaucracy might use its huge power to freeze your bank account, empty it, and even seize your paycheck.
While taxpayers who are up-to-date might dread the tax man one season a year, if you’ve fallen behind, it is the sort of fear that stays with you all the time because this is a problem that will not go away by itself.
Now in 2020, IRS promises more liens, more levies,
In the language of the IRS, “enforcement” aggressive action to collect unpaid back taxes. This includes the collection or enforcement tools that are so disruptive to life and business: Notices of Federal Tax Liens, which can make getting any kind of loan impossible, prevent buying or selling of property, damage credit, bank levies (“freeze and seize”), wage levies, social security levies (the IRS can seize 15% of one’s social security benefits, third party contacts (contacting the customers of a business). What’s coming is more audits, more liens, more levies.
In this context, in an address to a roomful of CPA’s, the new Commissioner of the IRS, on Charles “Chuck” Rettig described himself as “an enforcement guy” who is “passionate about making sure we enforce tax laws.”
Congress, for the first time in a decade has authorized a funding increase for the IRS. The Commissioner has already hired more than 1,000 new Revenue Officers (IRS Collection Agents) and Revenue Agents (Auditors). So even though the IRS is a leaner agency than in 2010, when there were approximately 90,000 employees at the IRS, and there are now approximately 70,000, there is both a commitment from the top to chase down taxpayers with issues and a greater workforce to carry that commitment out.
Also, IRS statistics for the 2018 (the most recent year available) show that for the first time in almost a decade, levies increased by 8%, and this is before the new Commissioner, the self-described “enforcement guy” was appointed.
So, for those taxpayers who have been flying under the radar, 2020 may be the year you get that unwanted letter from the IRS.
Law Office of Allan R. Pearlman
116 West 23 Street
New York, NY 10011