The Mission Statement of the Tax Resolution Blog?

We created the Tax Problem Resolution Blog to aid the average person to become more discerning buyers of tax resolution and tax representation services. Please read the index of articles below to learn more about the tax resolution industry and to assist you in solving your specific tax problem.

Jay Freeborne, Enrolled Agent at Washington Tax Services, open for business since 1989

Friday, January 13, 2017

Haven't Filed Taxes in a While? Get your Start Right here

If you are a person or business who hasn't filed tax returns in a very long time or just a short while, the launch of the 2017 tax season might be your reminder to take action or at least "figure out" how to solve your tax issue. You might relate to these scenarios:

Five years have passed and you haven't filed tax returns. You wonder: "will the IRS ever find me?" In the middle of many a night, it crosses your mind. The next week you open a letter from the IRS with palms sweating... 

Or you might be the guy who hasn't filed in 20 years: you are strictly a cash-based sub-contractor and not filing forever has you scared. Retirement looms and you have never contributed to Social Security which you were supposed to do by filing and paying taxes. What should you do?...


If you haven't filed returns, the IRS either puts the heat on you OR you act preemptively on your own:
Please describe your tax situation in an EMAIL to us HERE and we will reply promptly. Or call us at 1-888-282-4697 to speak with our experts. Staff of Washington Tax Services - celebrating our 28th year of business in 2017. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top 20 Tax Relief Companies by Internet Traffic.

Top 20 Tax Resolution Companies by Internet Traffic  
"Global ranking" info from web traffic site alexa.com

1. Optima Tax Relief, 824k - 5 years in business 
2. US Tax Shield883k, 7 years in business (jumped from #17) *****
3. Tax Defense Network 1.2m, taxreliefcenter.org 1.2m -10 years in business 
4. IRS Medic, 1.1m - 7 years in business - 
5. StopIRSdebt.com 1.4m- 6 years in business - 

6. Community Tax Relief 1.7 m - 7 years in business *****
7. Tax Resolution Institute, 2m - 20 + years in business *****
8. Tax Tiger 2.3m, 15 years in business *****
9. Alvin Brown, Attorney, 2.4m - 17 years in business *****
10. Top Tax Defenders 2.4m -  7 years in business 

11. Tax Defense Partners 2.9m, 19 years in business *****
12. Larson Tax Relief, 3m - 11 years in business
13. Washington Tax Services - OUR COMPANY - 28 years in business *****
 Our blog 3.4m and 7.9m the website
14. Joe Mastriano, CPA 3.8m - 36 years in business *****
15. Mike Habib, E.A., 4m - 9 years in business *****

16. Omni Financial, 4.8m -  19 years in business *****
17. Precision Tax Relief , 5m -6 years in business
18. Colonial Tax Consultants, 5m - 11 years in business *****
19. Instant Tax Solutions, 5.9m - 8 years in business *****
20. Ideal Tax Solutions, 7.7m- 6 years in business *****

Previous surveys - to see who fell in and out of the top 20:

Feb 2012 - Tax Resolution Internet Ratings
Sep 2014 - Tax Resolution Internet Ratings
April 2015 -Tax Resolution Traffic Ratings
Feb 2016 - Tax Resolution Traffic Ratings

INTERESTING FACTS: Five years later - four companies in the "top 20" in 2012 - are now closed....but 12 are still in the top 20 (marked by a ***** above)):  February 2012 - Tax Resolution Internet Ratings.

Strategic Tax Lawyers dropped from #1 last year to well off the Top 20 (marketing surge petered out). Lothamer,  Freedom Tax Relief  and  JG Tax Group also dropped off the Top 20.

Looking for help solving your tax problem? Unfiled tax returns? Balances due? Call Washington Tax Services (#13 on the list) at 1-888-282-4697 or EMAIL us a description of your tax issue HERE and we'll contact you. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Eight Reasons To Avoid Most Tax Relief Companies

If you watch TV or listen to radio, you can't miss tax relief companies - the advertisements are ubiquitous. But who are these companies - can you trust them? As veterans of the tax relief industry, we came up with eight reasons why you might want avoid some if not most of these companies:

1. Ridiculous fees $$ - If a tax resolution company is going to charge you $3000.00 or more for representation -- you deserve the red-carpet treatment. You should have direct access to your licensed tax professional and/or have the customer service rep who does your "up-front analysis" to be with you to the end. You can read more about what you deserve for a big dollar investment here: What $4000 of tax resolution should buy you.

2. Continuation fees - Many tax resolution companies have a tendency to whack you with new fees once you are on board with them. Maybe they feel - "well you're already on board, so you have to stay with us!?" More on this phenomenon here: Reopening fees: Problematic.

3. Bad advice  - Plainly and simply,  many tax resolution companies will advise you to do the wrong thing. Here's an example: "Professional" Botches Tax Case.

4. Dishonest advice, i.e. LYING. The oldest trick in the tax resolution sales-book is to tell someone that they will qualify for an Offer in Compromise to settle their tax debt when they clearly do NOT qualify. It's human nature: people just love to hear that they will settle their debts -- just like in the commercials! And shady salespeople love to scratch this itch for people.

5. Misstating urgency and scare tactics.  Sales people of tax resolution services and the telemarketers that harass people who have tax liens are notorious for telling you that the SKY IS FALLING if you don't hire them. "Your case has reached 'Elevated Status!!" barks one company to their prospective clients -- Cold Calling Tax Liens. Tax relief companies will often manipulate your emotions to make the sale. There is no reason to fake urgency. An honest tax professional should lay out all of the options for you without emotion or scare tactics.

6. Employee turnover.  Whether big or small, tax resolution companies are notorious for having high employee turnover. As many of the companies are reliant on "salespeople," employees who can't sell enough cases are fired. Hence, your case keeps getting handed off from representative to representative.  In these environments, the institutional memory of your case can go down the drain fairly easily. 

7. Dropping the ball.  Keeping your client out of aggressive collection actions like levies and garnishments requires constant vigilance and a very delicate personal touch. Large companies are famous for cases falling into the cracks and subsequently, people getting nailed with levies from the IRS.

8.  Going out of business.  Running an effective tax resolution business requires a unique blend of great customer service with excellent marketing. Take one of those two elements away and ...you're out of business! We have documented 84 companies that have gone out of business in the last couple of years -- Dead Tax Resolution Companies - R.I.P.

Washington Tax Services has been operating continuously for almost 30 years. We have very little staff turnover and take pride in our day-to-day customer service. Call us at 1-888-282-4697 to discuss how we can solve your tax problem or EMAIL us HERE and we'll contact you. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Haven't Filed Taxes in 15 Years? 8 Years? 5 Years? 3 Years? Forever?

Why didn't you file your tax returns?

Common explanations: 

1. You knew you were going to owe taxes and feared the consequences -- so didn't file.
2. You couldn't find the records to do them and the years just compounded.
3. You got divorced and your "ex" was the "filer" in the family and now you are lost.
4. Your accountant died and you panicked and stopped filing.
5. You have so many years to file - that you are absolutely paralyzed in fear and inertia.
6. You are afraid -- that if someone investigates your situation with the IRS that they will stir up a bee's nest!?

Why should you file your tax returns? 

 A couple of reasons to...

1.  Well it is the law. Not filing a tax return can be considered a felony.
2. It's hard to live an adult-life as a non-filer. Buying or refinancing a house usually requires that you have filed your returns, for example.
3. If you want to get married, not filing might be considered a  "deal breaker" to a future spouse.
4. The IRS might file substitute-for-returns for you without deductions and you will owe more taxes than you would have had you filed them yourself.
5. Want to travel outside the U.S.? Well - if you haven't filed tax returns, the Federal government might NOT issue you a PASSPORT. (In fact as of legislation passed in Nov. 2015, if you owe the IRS $50,000 or more your passport will be revoked.)
6. If you are self-employed, you might be missing out on increased Social Security contributions for when you retire.
7. To get health insurance on a health insurance exchange or healthcare.gov - you are required to have filed.
8. You might need to file your recent tax returns to get student-loan aid for your kids (FAFSA).
9. If you don't file tax returns, you make yourself vulnerable to Identity Theft! Our recent experience is 50% of people who haven't filed tax returns for many years have had an attempt by a scammer to get their refund and/or file on their SSN#.

Do you need to file every single year?

In almost every case we see -- NO -- you do NOT need to file EVERY YEAR. The IRS generally wants to see the last seven years of returns on file. But it really depends. Certainly if the IRS filed for you...you will want to replace the Substitute for Returns with returns of your own to reduce the balance they assessed. If you are getting refunds and won't owe taxes - you can focus on the last four years only 2013 to 2016 (as the statute of limitations prevents refunds beyond 3-4 years.)

How do your tax professionals at Washington Tax Services handle this for you?

FIRST: RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

We get thorough information on your tax situation, but tread very lightly by:

Posting Power of Attorney for you and researching your record "online." By acquiring your tax info online, we avoid any contact to a live person at the IRS and possible "flagging" of your situation.

SECOND: MAKE A DETERMINATION, ORDER RECORDS and FILE THE RETURNS.

We will determine the amount of years that need to be filed. All of the IRS records will be faxed to our office or we will download them off the IRS "e-services" website.

THIRD: BUT WHAT IF THE IRS FILED FOR YOU AND YOU OWE $$$?

There are cases where the IRS filed for you - creating balances due -- and you are likely going to be a hardship or Offer in Compromise candidate. In these scenarios - we might NOT file the returns as it is a waste of effort -- you're going to settle with them anyway so why bother :)

FOURTH: ADDRESS THE BALANCE DUE

Once we determine what is owed, we either 1. Prepare an Offer in Compromise 2. Determine hardship status or 3. workout a livable installment agreement.

FIFTH: But what if you are getting REFUNDS? 

Before April 15, 2017, you will receive tax refunds for the years 2013 2014 2015 and 2016 if you are entitled to refunds. After April 15, 2017 - you will lose the 2013 refund as the statute of limitations prevents refunds after three years.

SIXTH AND FINALLY:  CREATING A TEMPLATE FOR FUTURE COMPLIANCE

So, how are you going to avoid tax problems in the future? Setting up a corporation? Remaining a sole proprietorship? Handling the bookkeeping via Quick Books? We promise to assist you so you NEVER run into a tax problem, breaking the non-filing habit once and for all.

Is 2016/2017 the year you finally solve your tax problem? Go for it! Give the staff of Washington Tax a call at 1-888-282-4697 or EMAIL a description of your tax situation HERE and we'll call you. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How To Solve Your Tax Problem on this Blog

The first stop on a Random Walk Around The Tax Problem Resolution Blog is the Non Filer's Section. If you haven't filed 1040's, 1120's, State Returns, FBARS or any kind of tax return IN A LONG TIME, you should read this primer of how to get FINALLY clear of this mental burden.

To the right is our reviews of 164 Tax Relief Companies - who should you hire to clean up your tax problem? WE make a very clear case that you should do careful research in our Eight Reasons to Avoid Most Tax Resolution Companies piece.

Some visitors of the blog might just want to stop thinking and TAKE ACTION - send us an EMAIL describing your tax situation HERE and we'll respond with insights on solving your tax problem by email or phone. Or call us directly at 1-888-282-4697. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How Did the IRS Offer in Compromise Rules Get So Much Better?

In our nearly 30 years of operation, Washington Tax Services,has seen a lot of rule changes with the IRS in the Offer in Compromise (OIC) program, BUT never a development as generous as the 2012 OIC calculation rule change. This new rule, originally created in the Spring of 2012, is truly a game changer and should have you strongly consider doing an OIC on your back tax debt!

First, what is an Offer in Compromise (OIC)?
  
The Offer in Compromise (OIC) is a procedure used to settle tax debts with the IRS. If the IRS determines you meet certain criteria, they might agree to settle your debt for $500, for example, on the $50,000 or whatever amount you owe. 

Second, what's the biggest change to the OIC rules?

Previously, IRS settlements were calculated by multiplying 48 months of one's "allowable" disposable income.

Old rules: 48 months

So - if your disposable income was $500 - multiplied by 48 months = your settlement with the IRS would be $24,000.00*  (*with many other factors to consider - of course - like assets, "allowable" expenses and statute of limitations).

New rules: 12 months

With the new rules?  Only 12 months of disposable income is required or using the previous data set -- $500 multiplied by 12 months -- your settlement would be only $6,000.00!*

Bottom line: You pay 75% LESS than Before! 

  
Watch this video to see Jay Freeborne, E.A., speak on the OIC rule changes

READ PART 2: "Can You Pay Off Tax Debt Before it Expires?" in our Offer in Compromise series HERE

Please call us at 1-888-282-4697 to discuss how this program might benefit you or EMAIL us your tax situation HERE and we'll contact you. Washington Tax Services - since 1989. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shopping for Tax Resolution and Tax Relief? One Customer's Experience.

A client took the time to write a couple paragraph review of their experience with Washington Tax Services. Here's a snippet:
"Through the research of other tax service companies I found several national service providers to be misleading. Several of the companies I interviewed tried to oversell me on unrealistic expected outcomes while leveraging fear to win my business. At Washington Tax Service this was not the case at all as I found them to be the most ethically sound, setting proper/realistic expectations and customer focused in the industry. They have followed through with every single commitment made to me since my first call to them around 18 months ago."
Thank you for the awesome and thoughtful review. Have a tax problem that you would like honestly analyzed? Call Washington Tax Services at 1-888-282-4697. Or EMAIL us a description of your tax situation HERE and we'll contact you.