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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Eight Considerations Before Filing an Offer in Compromise with IRS

Do you have a debt with the IRS that you can't afford to pay back? Getting hounded with letters from IRS? Not sure what to do? Read this list carefully before filing an IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC).

1. Why Filing a Losing Offer in Compromise is a Bad Idea. You want to make sure that you qualify for an Offer in Compromise before filing one with the IRS. Why? Because the six month to 12 month processing time "freezes" the Statute of Limitations clock with the IRS. That's precious time that might come in handy if you are stuck owing the debt.

2. Offers in Compromise aren't based on what you owe. Advertising indicating that you can "settle" your debt for "pennies on the dollar" is misguided. There has never been a "percentage" that the IRS is willing to settle for. If you owe $1,000,000 or $10,000, it all depends on your ability to pay the debt back.

3. Why the 2012 Offer Rule Changes Are Revolutionary. We have been posting videos and blog posts galore on the 2012 OIC changes for months now. The most revolutionary thing about it? The 48 month (disposable income) rule was reduced to 12 months - that's a 75% discount! In the most basic summary: if your disposable income is $400 you are now required to pay only $4800 in your Offer instead of $19,200 in the previous rules. That is a big difference!

4. Filed Offers Stop the Collection Process. If you are getting IRS collection notices, filing your Offer in Compromise in a timely manner will shut off levies and garnishments. This solves two problems with one stone: A. Stopping Collections without having to call IRS (computer freezes collections). B. Beginning the important process of settling your debt with an Offer in Compromise.

5. Payments for State back taxes are now allowed. Previously State back tax payments weren't factored for Offer in Compromises. That was pretty lame. Now with the rule changes in 2012, the IRS smartly allowed for State Back tax payments to be allowed when calculating an OIC.

6. "Dissipated" Assets are considered. If you liquidated an IRA, gave away a ton of money to your nephew, or blew a sizable asset before filing an Offer - it might come into play. Generally, the IRS is looking at assets that were "dissipated" in the previous three years.

7. Why the Expiration Date of your Taxes (CSED) Means Everything to your OIC. There is a lot of factors in determining whether you qualify for an Offer. But finding out the CSED (collection statute of expiration date) of your most recent tax liability is a crucial first step! If you owe taxes in 2014, well - it's pretty easy - your taxes won't expire until 2025 - that's 10 years. In essence, if you can pay back the IRS debt before the debt expires you WON'T qualify for an OIC. You can read more about that CSED'S importance here and watch a video TOO.

8. Make sure you have paid your Current taxes and plan to pay your taxes going forward. If you owe taxes in the current year, you want to make sure that you file your Offer to include those taxes. If it is the end of the year, you might want to postpone filing your Offer until the new year strikes. Once your Offer is accepted and paid, you will have to file and pay your taxes for the next five years to be in compliance.

Washington Tax Services files Offer in Compromises daily for our clients that qualify. Please contact our Staff  NOW at 1-888-282-4697 to discuss how we can resolve your tax problem. 

If you are reading this in the middle-of-the-night, please EMAIL us HERE and we'll contact you during normal hours. Talk soon! 

Staff of Washington Tax Services, solving tax problems since 1989. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Are you a W-2 employee? Haven't filed in over 5 Years? Unsure?

So if you have strictly have been an employee and receive W-2 forms AND haven't filed taxes in quite some time - you can focus on your 2013 2014 2015 and 2016 returns for the time being. Why only these four years?

One - you will only get refunds for these years. 2012 and older are past the statute of limitations for refunds.

Two - if you haven't had a request from the IRS to file these returns, odds are they are no longer looking for the returns. As an employee you would have likely had refunds so the IRS has no huge incentive to hunt you down.

A very common service provided by Washington Tax Services this month is to:

1. Research your IRS Record and get your transcripts.

2. And then file 2013 2014 2015 2016 returns. We efile 2014 to 2016. 2013 needs to be filed manually.

IMPORTANT: be sure to file 2013 before April 15th of this year or you will LOSE your tax refund before then.

Haven't filed taxes in a while? Call us at 1-888-282-4697 or EMAIL us a description of your tax issue HERE and we'll contact you. 




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Resolving your Tax Problem in 2017: Why February is a Good Month to do It

Greetings Tax Problem Resolution Blog Readers. With the new year on the books, the best time to resolve your tax problem is now. Why you might ask? Because any resolution we can put on the table to resolve your IRS debt will include unpaid 2016 taxes. You will also be able to start getting compliant on your 2017 taxes. Please set up an account at www.eftps.com - this is a helpful place to make estimated tax payments going forward for Federal taxes or bookmark directpay.irs.gov for a quick and even easier way to pay (doesn't require a pin).

If you are like many new customers of Washington Tax Services, you haven't filed tax returns in a while - the "non-filer" page is a good starting point for someone who hasn't filed in 2 years, 10 years or even forever?

Do you think you might qualify for a settlement with the IRS? Well your timing could be good. Just be sure to be current on 2017 taxes on any income you earn this year. 

Owe the IRS for 2016? Haven't filed tax returns in quite some time? Please call us at 1-888-282-4697 or send us an EMAIL here and we'll call you. Happy new year - Staff of Washington Tax Services - 28 years of solving tax problems. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Haven't Filed Taxes? Four Different Non-Filer Scenarios...Four Different Solutions

As accountants with a focus on people and businesses who haven't filed taxes in a long time, we at Washington Tax Services field a lot of different questions from people who haven't filed in three, eight or even 20 years. Here's a couple of condensed examples of emails/calls from people just like you with our answers.

"I am 48 year old self-employed carpenter and haven't filed Federal taxes in 20 years. How do I handle this?"

Due to your age and closer proximity to retirement age and due to the fact that you might qualify for an Offer in Compromise (OIC), we would recommend that you file as many tax returns as you feasibly can - probably on the order of six to ten returns.You will owe a lot in taxes $50,000 to $200,000 but because you meet the criteria for OIC above, you should settle the debt for a reasonable amount - $1,000 to $5,000. By settling with the IRS, you will ALSO restore your Social Security credits at a substantial discount. With retirement closer, these restored benefits will be a big help as you reach 62 years to 70 years and get Social Security. We would first research your IRS record to get transcripts, do the returns, then proceed to an OIC.

"I haven't filed in 7 years after getting divorced. I am a wage earner and have had various jobs."

As you will ONLY qualify for tax refunds in last four years, we would recommend that you focus on filing 13 14 15 16 ONLY. We will get your transcripts and verify that the IRS isn't looking for 2009 to 2012 and then do the four returns. We will emphasize filing 2013 as soon as possible before April 15, 2017 as you will lose that refund after that date.

"My Mother died in 2014. I am responsible for her estate. I don't think she filed the last couple of years of returns."

As heirs can be made responsible for deceased people's tax debts, we would first research your Mom's record with the IRS to get the transcripts and determine what needs to be done then file her returns to clear her record.

"I am 42 year old self employed physician who hasn't filed in 8 years."

If you can full pay what is owed in 2014 2015 2016, we're going to recommend that you file these returns, pay what is due and move on. Had you qualified for an OIC we probably would have recommended the strategy for the carpenter above, but due to your high income and inability to qualify for an OIC - we recommend filing recent returns and paying what is due plus penalties/interest. Certainly if our research would find that the IRS was looking for more returns than this - we would advise otherwise. Part of the reason, we are recommending that this client focus on 14 to 16 only is that the IRS's system of monitoring unfiled tax returns broke down in the year 2013. Naturally as licensed tax professionals we are required to advise for people to file all returns that are missing, but we ultimately base our advice on what "the IRS is looking for." If they are NOT looking for returns, we advise a more minimalist approach.

What's your non-filer situation? Haven't filed tax returns in a while? Call us at 1-888-282-4697 or EMAIL us your situation HERE and we'll get back to you quickly by email or phone. Staff of Washington Tax Services - solving tax problems 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.