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Owing money to the Internal Revenue Service can be stressful, but there are solutions which can provide tax debt relief. A tax attorney can analyze your situation, explain your legal options and negotiate with the IRS.
If you have unpaid taxes or unfiled tax returns, or if you owe a significant amount of money as a result of a tax audit, you potentially face:
- Tax penalties, which are added to your total tax bill and serve as a form of punishment for failing to pay your taxes according to the IRS's schedule
- Tax liens, which prioritizes the government's claim to your assets over that of other creditors. As a result of the lien, you'd be unable to sell your home or car, for example, without first removing the tax lien
- Tax levy, which allows the federal or state government to seize your property—such as your paycheck, your car and your financial accounts—to satisfy your tax debt
How a Tax Attorney Can Help Resolve Your IRS Debt
There are several ways to solve your tax troubles, and your tax lawyer can help you decide which solution is right for you.
An IRS installment agreement or payment plan allows you to pay your tax debt, plus any interest and penalties that accrue, over time. Typically you'll pay the IRS a pre-determined amount each month until your debt is paid in full.
An offer in compromise lets you settle your taxes for less than the actual amount you owe. The IRS will consider offer in compromise settlements if full payment would cause you serious financial hardship. However, if you're currently in the midst of bankruptcy, you are ineligible for an offer in compromise.
When deciding whether to accept your offer, the IRS will consider several factors, including your income, living expenses and value of the assets you own. There is a non-refundable fee to apply, so you and your tax attorneys will want to carefully analyze your situation so as to make an offer that stands a realistic chance of being accepted.
The IRS may be willing to waive some of the penalties you've been assessed through a policy known as penalty abatement. The IRS will consider removing the penalties if you have a good reason for having fallen behind on your tax payments or if you underpaid your taxes due to an honest mistake. If you've been charged a lot in penalties, the abatement may cause a significant debt reduction. After evaluating your case, your tax lawyers can determine whether penalty abatement is a possibility.
Other, less common tax resolution solutions include tax bankruptcy and innocent spouse relief. IRS tax bankruptcy may allow you to get rid of certain past-due taxes as part of a bankruptcy filing. Innocent spouse relief allows you to get rid of your bad tax debt if it would be unfair to hold both you and your spouse legally responsible. (However, your spouse or ex-spouse will still be obligated to pay. Learn more about how your spouse is impacted by a bankruptcy filing.)
Selecting a Tax Lawyer
Many people are familiar with CPAs, tax preparers and enrolled agents, but tax lawyers bring specialized expertise to the table. You wouldn't hire a tax lawyer to prepare a straightforward tax return. Nor would you hire a CPA or tax preparer to analyze your legal tax issue and negotiate a resolution with the IRS.
When hiring a tax debt attorney, you want to consider several factors, including:
- Whether the tax attorney has experience handling tax debt situations similar to yours
- What types of tax debt help the lawyer offers, and if you agree with the potential solutions to your tax debt
- If you can afford the tax lawyer's legal fees
- If you think you can trust the attorney and have confidence in the lawyer's ability to help you
Ready to hire a tax relief attorney and rid yourself of your tax debt? Congratulations! Use the form on this page to get the process started or select from the list of states below to find a local tax debt relive attorney today.
Find a Local Tax Debt Relief Attorney
- District Of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina