After July 15, 2020, Taxpayers Must Resume Making Payments To IRS Or Face Renewed Collection Action

After July 15, 2020, Taxpayers Must Resume Making Payments To IRS Or Face Renewed Collection Action

On March 25, 2020 the IRS issued a press release  announcing a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions in what it calls “The IRS People First Initiative”.

These new changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions. The IRS temporarily modified its activities from April 1, 2020 through July 15, 2020. During this period, to the maximum extent possible, the IRS avoided in-person contacts.

Taxpayers who took advantage of The IRS People First Initiative tax relief and did not make previously owed tax payments between March 25, 2020 to July 15, 2020 need to restart their payments or face renew collection action by the IRS.

As the IRS continues to reopen its operations across the country, taxpayers who were in payment agreements and skipped any payments from March 25, 2020 to July 15, 2020 should start paying again to avoid penalties and possible default on their agreements.

Here’s what taxpayers should do to resume their payment agreements to the IRS, including Installment Agreements, Offers in Compromise, and Private Debt Collection program payments:

Installment Agreements

Taxpayers who suspended their installment agreement payments between April 1, 2020 and July 15, 2020, will need to resume their payments by their first monthly payment due date after July 15, 2020. Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS didn’t default their agreement, but interest did accrue, and the balance remained.

Taxpayers who had their bank suspend direct debit payments should contact the bank immediately to ensure their first monthly payment due date occurring on or after July 15, 2020 is sent to avoid penalties.

If a taxpayer can’t meet their current installment agreement terms due to a COVID related hardship, it is possible to have your agreement modified.  An experienced tax professional can see if relief is available for you.

Offer in Compromise

Pending Offers: If the IRS is currently reviewing a taxpayer’s submitted offer but hasn’t accepted it yet, the taxpayer should resume their required payments starting July 15, 2020. The IRS will amend the taxpayer’s offer to allow them to pay any skipped payments at the end of the offer period, if the offer is accepted.

Already Accepted Offers: If a taxpayer has an Offer in Compromise agreement, and the taxpayer was unable to make the payments on their accepted offer because of a COVID-19 hardship, the taxpayer should resume payments and make up the missed payments by July 15, 2020. If the taxpayer is unable to make up the missed payments, an experienced tax professional can see if relief is available for you.

Private Debt Collection

The IRS did not forward new delinquent accounts to Private Collection Agencies (PCAs) from April 1, 2020 through July 15, 2020, and PCA interaction with taxpayers was limited to inbound telephone calls unless requested by a taxpayer in a voicemail or correspondence.

Taxpayers who had their PCA payments on hold should resume payments by July 15, 2020. If a taxpayer can’t meet their current payment agreement terms due to a COVID related hardship, it is possible to have your agreement modified.  An experienced tax professional can see if relief is available for you.

Taxpayers Who Owe But Can’t Pay

Taxpayers who are experiencing a hardship or who have questions about their payments may still be able to get additional relief.  An experienced tax professional can see if relief is available for you.

An Opportunity For Taxpayers Who Owe The IRS

Do not think that if you owe the IRS your tax problem will disappear because of the measures being considered by the government. Instead you should be utilizing this valuable time to get yourself prepared so that when activity in this nation regains momentum, you are ready to make the best offer or proposal to take control of your outstanding tax debts.

As a prerequisite to any proposal to the IRS, you must be in current compliance. That means if you have any outstanding income tax returns, they must be completed and submitted to IRS.

Also, if you are required to make estimated tax payments, you must be current in making those payments. Fortunately, as we are now in 2020, taxpayers who expect to owe for 2019 should have their 2019 income tax returns done now so that the 2019 liability can be rolled over into any proposal and the requirement to make estimated tax payments will now start for 2020.

Remember that COVID-19 does not alter the tax laws, so all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do.

Also, the IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In instances where statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period and a taxpayer is not agreeing to extend such, the IRS will issue Notices of Deficiency and pursue other similar actions to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statute.

The take away from this – use the Federal government’s downtime and continued uncertainty with COVID-19 to your advantage to prepare for the future.

What Should You Do?

You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles (including Long Beach and Ontario) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

What You Need To Know If You Received IRS Notice LT16 To Prevent An IRS Levy.

What You Need To Know If You Received IRS Notice LT16 To Prevent An IRS Levy.

Getting a notice in the mail from IRS usually causes much anxiety. After all the IRS has the power on its own to implement enforcement action which can include seizing your assets or wages. Enforcement action could also include the filing of a notice of federal tax lien, which could affect your credit score and ability to borrow.

What Is So Special About IRS Notice LT16?

Look for the code or letter type in the upper right corner on the first page of your IRS Notice. If it shows that this a Notice LT16, keep in mind that there is not an IRS agent likely assigned to your case. It actually is a notice generated automatically by the IRS computers. Any immediate levy action is determined by the success of the IRS computer in trying to find information about your income from any W2 and 1099 information that has been reported by third parties.  Alternatively, your case could be assigned to a Revenue Officer who could promptly commence with enforcement action. Revenue Officers are the highest level IRS collection agents, work in your locale, and often start a collection case investigation by making a visit to your home or office.

What you need to do to avoid enforcement action:

  • Read your notice carefully: Following the instructions on your notice may stop enforcement action.
  • File missing tax returns (if any): If your notice indicates you have missing tax returns, file the missing returns as soon as possible.
  • If you can pay the unpaid balance in full, make payment: Interest and applicable penalties will stop being added as soon as you pay your balance in full.
  • If you cannot pay the full amount due: Pay as much as you can now and set up an installment agreement for the remaining balance. You must be current on your filings in order to apply for an installment agreement.

If you already have an approved installment agreement, then continue making payments per that agreement. Payments on your balance can take up to 21 days to post on your account so if you paid your balance in full within the last 21 days, you should be able to disregard the LT16 you received.

If You Cannot Pay in Full Now

Paying what you can now will reduce the amount of interest and applicable penalties added to the remaining balance in the future; however, it will not stop the IRS from taking enforcement action unless a formal plan is put in place. It would be in your best interest to first meet with a tax attorney to determine whether there are any further benefits to pay selected IRS liabilities and/or making a down payment that will bring the total balance owed to a level that qualifies for any one of the special programs offered by the IRS.

If You Are Experiencing A Financial Hardship

In some circumstances you may qualify for a status with IRS of marking your account as “currently not collectible” thus temporarily delaying collection action until your financial condition improves. Putting your account in currently not collectible status does not stop penalties and interest from being charged and it does not mean the debt goes away; it means the IRS has determined you cannot afford to pay any of the debt at this time. Because at some point in the future the IRS could resurrect collection action, many taxpayers prefer to seek permanent relief. An Offer In Compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. This may be a legitimate option if you cannot pay your full tax liability, or doing so creates a financial hardship. It would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney to determine whether you qualify as the IRS makes it very difficult for taxpayers to successfully get approval of an Offer In Compromise.

Penalties And Interest

The IRS charges penalties on your account when you do not pay your tax in full by the return due date (usually April 15), or if you’ve not made sufficient estimated tax payments (if required). Interest on the total amount you owe generally begins being charged daily from the return due date. If you do not pay in full (even if you have a pending or approved installment agreement) by the payment due date specified in any notice issued to you, additional interest and applicable penalties will continue to be added until you pay your balance in full. You may qualify for relief from penalties if you made an effort to comply with the requirements of the law, but were unable to meet your tax obligations, due to circumstances beyond your control. The IRS refers to this as having “reasonable cause”. It would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney to determine whether you qualify as the IRS makes it very difficult for taxpayers to successfully get abatement of penalties.

Your Appeal Rights

If the tax balance is in doubt, you dispute the amount of the tax, or cannot resolve a disagreement with the IRS, generally you are entitled to a hearing with the Office of Appeals. It is important that you take advantage of this option as your situation can then be evaluated by a Settlement Officer who is independent of IRS Collections. Knowing how to best present such cases in appeal, we have much success in reaching resolution with this Office. Since there is a short window to file an appeal (usually 30 days from the date of the Notice LT16), it would be in your best interest to meet with a tax attorney as soon as possible.

What Should You Do?

You should think of the IRS Notice LT16 as a heads-up that the IRS is getting ready to start collection enforcement and that during this period before that action starts you get proactive to come up with plan so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Diego County (Carlsbad) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. And if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.

Taxpayer Scores $862,000 from IRS after Tripping over a Phone Cord

A taxpayer who met with a Revenue Officer at an Internal Revenue Service office on Long Island successfully sued the IRS for $862,000 after he was injured by tripping over a phone cord.

William Berroyer claimed in his lawsuit that he could no longer play golf or have intimate relations with his wife more than once a month after he fell during a 2008 conference with a Revenue Officer at an IRS office in Hauppauge, NY, according to the New York Post. He had visited the IRS to work out a payment agreement for a $60,000 tax bill when he tripped on the phone cord and fell against a cabinet.
After leaving the IRS, he telephoned the IRS Revenue Officer from the parking lot to inform him that he had lost the sense of feeling in his leg and was suffering from shoulder pain. He then spent 17 days in hospitals and rehabilitation centers recovering from his injury.

In his lawsuit he claimed $10 million in damages.  Attorneys for the IRS claimed he was exaggerating his injury, but the judge ultimately awarded him $862,000 for pain and suffering. And the big prize is because this was for pain and suffering, he won’t have to pay taxes on the damages!

So now that the IRS has tucked away all their telephone cords, how can taxpayers who owe the IRS avoid collection action?

  1. Offer In Compromise. This is a formal application to the IRS requesting that it accept less than full payment for what you owe in taxes, interest, and penalties. An offer in compromise may allow you to settle back taxes or IRS liability at a substantial discount on the basis of doubt as to collectability, liability, or effective tax administration. In addition, while your offer is under consideration, the Internal Revenue Service is prohibited from instituting any levies of your assets and wages. Most people do not have the necessary skills or knowledge of the IRS collection process to make an offer in compromise that is in their best interest and can be processed by the IRS. Government figures show that 75% of offers are returned at the beginning due to forms being filled out incorrectly, and of the 25% that are processed, approximately 50% are rejected.
  1. Installment Agreement. Allows you to pay IRS debt in full in smaller, more manageable amounts, usually in equal monthly payments. The amount of your installment payment will be based on the amount you owe and your ability to pay that amount within the time available to the IRS to collect tax debt from you.  However, be aware that because you are financing your liability with IRS, interest and penalties will continue to accrue.  Most installment agreements are set up with level monthly payments but there are also different types and terms of installment agreements which if you qualify may be more suitable for you.  The variations are not publicly offered by IRS – only a seasoned tax attorney would know to ask for them.
  1. Uncollectible Status.  Occurs when the IRS has determined that they are presently unable to collect the taxes from the taxpayer by full payment, through an Installment Agreement or by way of an Offer in Compromise.  Once the account is placed on a Currently Uncollectible (“CNC”) status, the IRS does not pursue collection activity against the taxpayer and the statute of limitations on the tax liabilities will continue to run. Generally, unless the taxpayer’s financial situation changes, the account will remain on a CNC status until the tax liabilities expire. However, if the taxpayer’s financial situation improves the account will be taken off of CNC status so that the IRS can collect the taxes through full payment or an Installment Agreement. CNC although temporary could provide interim relief to taxpayers who all of a sudden run into financial hardship.

A consultation with the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. can help you determine what the best strategy is for you.

Description: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. has helped many people avoid collection action by the IRS and State tax agencies. Working with a tax attorney in Los Angeles is the best bet for reducing or eliminating the amount you owe.

Avoiding Penalties Through the First Time Abate Policy

Taxpayers who are facing a potentially large IRS penalty for late or unpaid taxes may be eligible for relief through the First Time Abate policy. This provides an opportunity for people who have fallen behind to become current on their tax obligations while eliminating any penalties from a previous tax issue. The First Time Abate program allows a person to work with an IRS attorney to relieve the stress in their lives.

In order to qualify for the First Time Abate program, a taxpayer needs to have not had a previous delinquency with the IRS. You will want to work with an income tax attorney to determine if your case qualifies for the First Time Abate policy, as not all types of tax filings are eligible to have penalties waived. Examples of event filings that could qualify include:

  • Form 706 U.S. Estate Tax Returns
  • Form 709 United States Gift Tax Returns
  • Form 1120 U.S. Corporation Income Tax Returns

You’ll need to be current with your taxes in order to be eligible to have your penalties waived through the First Time Abate policy. This means that if you have taxes that aren’t fully paid off but you are on a payment plan negotiated between your tax attorney in San Jose and the IRS, you can still qualify.

The First Time Abate policy gives you a second chance at resolving a tax problem. If you are facing penalties but can’t prove “reasonable cause” that you can’t afford the penalties, the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. believes you should consider the First Time Abate policy.

The Pros and Cons of an Installment Agreement

Owing back taxes doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear of penalties, the garnishment of wages or even criminal prosecution. If you live in the Bay Area and owe back taxes, it makes sense to work with a tax attorney in San Francisco to find a way to settle your debts. The IRS has several options available for taxpayers who owe back taxes and one of the easiest to enter into an installment agreement with the IRS. Before you reach out to a tax settlement attorney, learn a bit more about this option.

With an installment agreement, you pay off your tax debt in monthly installments. It eases the burden on you and allows you to pay off the debt in a comfortable manner. If you fail to make a payment, you do run the risk of going into default; setting up an automatic payment method such as direct withdrawal can help you to avoid this. Most installment agreements are set up with level monthly payments but there are also different types and terms of installment agreements which if you qualify may be more suitable for you.  Before you set up an installment agreement, you’ll want to contact an IRS audit attorney to determine what type of installment agreement would be best.

An installment agreement isn’t always the perfect option. For example, if you owe a large amount of money and can only afford to make minimum payments each month, you might find yourself paying for years without making a major dent into the principal amount that you owe. In this case, an option like an Offer in Compromise might be the better choice for you. Contacting the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. can help you in evaluating your options.

IRS Increases User Fee For Establishment Of Payment Plan

Effective January 1, 2014, the user fee charged by IRS to establish a payment plan has been increased from $105.00 to $120.00.

If you cannot pay all that you owe now and do not qualify for an offer in compromise, an IRS installment agreement may be your next best option. Payment Agreements allow you to pay IRS debt in full in smaller, more manageable amounts, usually in equal monthly payments. The amount of your installment payment will be based on the amount you owe and your ability to pay that amount within the time available to the IRS to collect tax debt from you.  However, be aware that because you are financing your liability with IRS, interest and penalties will continue to accrue.

The IRS has different types of plan available and some even allow the IRS to refrain from filing a Federal Tax Lien which if filed would adversely effect your credit.  Additionally, the IRS cannot levy against your property (1) while your request for a Payment Agreement is under consideration, (2) while your agreement is in effect, (3) for 30 days after your request for an agreement has been rejected, or (4) for any period while an appeal of the rejection is being evaluated by the IRS.

Most people do not have the necessary skills or knowledge of the IRS collection process to propose a payment plan that can meet IRS standards and be within a person’s budget.

The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. have extensive experience with getting reasonable payment plans processed by the IRS for the lowest possible monthly payment and secure a final acceptance with IRS.