It’s natural to feel panic, confusion, or even paralysis when the IRS comes knocking. Tax problems are serious, and the IRS is the world’s most powerful and well-financed collection agency. Facing the IRS as an individual can be intimidating, but if you get help and start dealing with the problem right away, the IRS will work with you. In fact, there are some IRS tax relief programs in place to help people deal with their tax problems.
9 Things You Need to Know About IRS Tax Relief Programs
1. Tax Relief Starts With You
The IRS is willing to work with you, but you have to initiate the process. No one will offer IRS tax relief programs to you. It’s up to you to take the initiative, get the help you need, and then approach the IRS and work through your problem. As with many things in life, the simplest solution to a hard situation is to approach it head-on.
2. The IRS Only Communicates Through U.S. Mail
One of the most important tips you should know about the IRS is that they only communicate by “snail mail.” It’s important to know this for several reasons:
You Have to Open Your Mail
If you’ve been ignoring letters from the IRS and letting them pile up on the back of the counter or in a drawer, you’re already making the biggest mistake you could possibly make in dealing with your tax troubles. Not knowing what’s going on doesn’t help: all it does is leave you with vague worries you don’t know how to address.
You Have to Be Wary of Scams
When it gets close to tax time, and for a few months after, scammers start working double-time to get your money. The worst of these are robocalls. When you pick up the phone, a threatening voice on the other end tells you you’re about to be criminally charged or have your social security number blackmailed. You are then urged to talk to a live associate. Every one of these is a scam: the IRS only communicates through United States mail. If you think the IRS is really trying to call, hang up and call the IRS directly at the phone number on their website.
Email and text messages are another popular route for scammers. The IRS will not send you an email, so if you get one asking you to log into a site, threatening you, or asking you to verify personal information, ignore it. Report the suspicious email to the IRS by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. You Can Always File
Many people erroneously believe that if they cannot afford to pay their tax, they should just not file. Others forget to file by the deadline and then believe that they should not file at all. Not filing is one of the worst things you can do. Filing your taxes late is always better than not filing at all, and filing without paying his also better than not filing.
Another important benefit to filing, even if you can’t afford to pay or are not filing on time, is that doing so gives you an exact number for what you owe the IRS. Instead of worrying about a tax bill and a number you’re not sure about, file your taxes so that you know exactly what you owe and have a goal to work towards.
4. You Should Talk to the IRS
Don’t ignore your mail from the IRS and be proactive about contacting them. When you open your mail from them, you will see a contact name and phone number. That is the agent who has been assigned your case, and that’s the person who will be most familiar with your situation. Call them right away to establish a relationship, open up the lines of communication, and show the IRS that you’re not hiding.
5. Ask About Installment Agreements
One of the available IRS tax relief programs is paying in installments. The IRS is not interested in putting you in a situation where you can’t ever pay them anything: they want their money! If you have filed all your tax returns and you owe no more than $50,000, you may be eligible for installment payments.
The IRS will set up a minimum payment schedule, and if you’re able to pay a bit more than that, it’s worth it to do so. However, don’t set your payment so high that you allow yourself no breathing room in case of an emergency. Once you set up an agreement to pay in installments, the IRS will stop asking you about your financial situation and will stop sending you those letters that make you nervous.
6. Ask About Amnesty
The IRS is willing to forgive tax dues in some cases. It all depends on your individual case. This is one of the best of the IRS tax relief programs, but it’s also the hardest to qualify for. If you do, the IRS might mitigate the penalties, shorten the statute of limitations, or lower your total tax liability.
These programs exist, but you can’t be sure you’ll qualify, so don’t wait to file or to contact a tax advocate because you’re counting on an amnesty program. Check out your options for amnesty, but don’t rely on it as a sure way out of tax difficulties.
7. Make a Budget
Some people believe they cannot afford to pay their taxes simply because they’re living outside their means. Many of us grew up in situations where parents and other role models regularly bought things they could not afford using credit cards. This has helped to create a situation where much of society believes that, if they want something, they should be able to buy it, even if they don’t have the cash in hand to pay for it at the moment.
You can take control of your finances by sitting down and making a budget. Find out exactly what income you have coming in, calculate exactly where your money goes from week to week, and then you’ll be in a good position to find ways to save money and recover your financial position.
Making a budget will also help if you’re setting up an installment payment agreement. You’ll be able to show the IRS a quick calculation of your financial situation and know at a glance what you can afford to pay. If you truly can’t afford to pay anything, this will also be clear with a good budget.
8. Consider a Tax Advocate
If you are in over your head and can’t afford a tax consultant, the IRS has a tax advocate service. The service works inside the IRS and may be able to help you understand your issue better and possibly resolve it. Just remember that the Tax Advocate Service isn’t actually on your side. They’re on the IRS’ team and their goal is to help the IRS get as much of its money as possible.
9. Get Professional Help
The best way to resolve your tax situation is to get professional help from a tax resolution company with experience in dealing with the IRS. A good tax resolution company will know all about the collections process and can help you stop garnishments of your wages, buy you time to consider your options, and help you negotiate with the IRS effectively.
Get Tax Help Now
Hearing from the IRS is always scary, but help is available. Don’t be intimidated by those letters any longer. Contact Geaux Tax Resolution LLC today and get an experienced team of experts on your side to resolve your tax situation as quickly as possible.