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Back Tax Relief & Abatement

Back tax relief refers to the process of resolving unpaid taxes from previous years. This can include methods such as setting up a payment plan, negotiating a settlement for a reduced amount, or applying for hardship status if the taxpayer is unable to pay the full amount owed. 

The federal back tax abatement program


The IRS has recently announced a significant penalty relief initiative, benefiting approximately 4.7 million individuals, businesses, and non-profit entities. This relief is aimed at those who missed receiving automated collection notices during the pandemic. The IRS plans to allocate around $1 billion for this penalty relief, primarily assisting taxpayers with annual incomes below $400,000. Additionally, the IRS is implementing measures to absolve failure-to-pay penalties for qualified taxpayers impacted by these issues for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. However, it’s important to note that taxpayers with assessed taxes exceeding $100,000 are not automatically eligible for this relief. They may, though, seek penalty relief under the criteria for reasonable cause or through the First-Time Abate program. For more detailed information on the IRS penalty relief program, refer to the IRS official communications.

There are also programs available such as Offer in Compromise, which may allow a taxpayer to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed, based on certain criteria. It is important to note that back taxes should be addressed as soon as possible, as failure to do so can result in additional penalties and interest.

Questions Answered By Back Tax Relief Attorneys

  • What is Back Tax Relief?

    Back tax relief from unpaid taxes come in many shapes and sizes: Offers in Compromise, Installment Agreements, Partial Payment Installment Agreements, Currently Not Collectible Status, Penalty Abatements, Innocent Spouse Relief, Tax Lien Avoidance or Withdrawal, Prevention or Postponement of Enforced Collections, and Releases of Levy, to name a few. If you or your business are in collections with the IRS or a state taxing authority, it is absolutely critical that you not only determine which type of back tax relief strategy best suits your specific needs, but that you give yourself the very best chance of actually implementing that strategy.

    There is much at stake. The wrong choice could result in repaying thousands or tens of thousands of dollars more than you would have repaid had you selected and implemented a back tax relief strategy that was a better match for your unique circumstances. Individuals making the wrong choice could face wage garnishments, the seizure of assets (e.g. bank accounts, real estate, and retirement accounts), and serious difficulties meeting basic living expenses such as keeping a roof over your head and food on your table. The wrong choice for a business could result in bank levies, accounts receivable levies, merchant card account Levies, an inability to meet payroll and other necessary business expenses and, in severe cases, the demise of the business.

    So, with the thousands of pages of tax laws, myriad complex IRS collection policies and procedures, and the dizzying array of tax professionals from which to choose, how on earth is a person supposed to determine the best back tax relief solution for a given situation and give themselves the very best chance of actually implementing that solution?

    A phone call to one of our knowledgeable and compassionate professionals is a great starting point. Fortress is fortunate to employ some of the brightest, most ethical, and most experienced tax professionals in the United States. We will take the time to listen to you -- really listen to you -- and ask the questions that need to be asked in order to custom tailor a back tax relief strategy that will work best given your unique needs and circumstances. The call is free and there are no obligations whatsoever.

  • How Do Tax Relief Firms Charge for Their Services?

    A minority of tax relief firms charge an hourly rate.  However, most tax relief firms charge a contingent flat fee meaning that you pay a flat fee provided that you follow instructions, comply with tax laws, provide requested documents, respond within a reasonable time, read more here.

  • IRS Statute of Limitations: How Long Can IRS Collect Tax Debt?

    The Internal Revenue Code (tax laws) allows the IRS to collect on a delinquent debt for ten years from the date a return is due or the date it is actually filed, whichever is later.   This is called the IRS Statute of Limitations (SOL) on collections.  When the IRS refers to its time left to collect, they usually say “CSED,” which stands for Collection Statute Expiration Date. Learn More.

  • How to Avoid Defaulting an IRS Tax Resolution Agreement

    Resolving a serious tax liability, whether by way of an Installment AgreementOffer in Compromise (OIC), or Currently Not Collectible Status, is often a painstakingly difficult, time-consuming, and stressful process.  So, the last thing anyone who survives this process needs is to wind up defaulting their agreement. Learn More

  • How to Negotiate IRS Debt & Get Tax Relief

    Yes, dealing with the IRS is stressful. That much may never change. However, there are a few basic things to know to help you navigate the IRS Collections Division when trying to negotiate IRS debt. The three key pieces of advice I can give are: be compliant, be prompt, and be proactive. Learn More

  • How To Choose The Best Tax Relief Company

    How do you determine the best path to travel? Do you decide “these guys are all the same” and shop for the cheapest price? Do you trust your gut and hire the one that sounds the best to you? Do you conclude that none of them can be trusted and decide to instead hire a local accountant who might have a good reputation, but little or no experience handling tax collection cases? Do you arbitrarily decide to hire the company that called you first?  Find out here.

  • How to Eliminate IRS Civil Penalties

    One of the most frustrating situations my clients confront is the IRS’s addition of large amounts of tax or Civil Penalties to tax periods that ended a long time ago. There can be several reasons for additions to tax or Civil Penalties, but the most common ones I encounter are reporting and reconciliation deficiencies across the state, the Social Security Administration, and the IRS. In our voluntary tax reporting system, one of the most powerful tools available to the taxing authorities to ensure accurate and timely reporting is the imposition of fines and Civil Penalties. This article addresses the most common use of that tool for return and reporting discrepancies.

  • How to Sell an Asset That is Subject to a Notice of Federal Tax Lien

    If you owe taxes to the IRS, a tax lien automatically arises against you and attaches to just about everything you own.  This is sometimes called a secret lien since the government’s claim does not initially appear in any public records.  Rather, the lien automatically comes into existence when the tax liability is assessed.  Eventually, if you do not pay the amount owed, you will get a letter in the mail demanding you pay the amount owed and stating that the IRS may file a notice of your tax debt in the public records offices where you live.  This notice is officially called the Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

    Learn More

  • What Is An IRS Tax Lien And How Does It Affect Me?

    An IRS Tax lien starts when a tax is assessed and you don’t pay it. For example, if you file a tax return owing $50,000 and you do not pay it, then you will be “assessed” the tax, penalty and interest on that $50,000. The IRS will send you a “Notice and Demand” asking you to pay the assessed balance.  Learn More.

  • IRS Threats: What Can They Really Do to Me?

    We hear from many clients at times that an IRS Revenue Officer (tax collector) told them they could lose their house, they could be sued, their retirement and 401k will be taken, wages can be garnished, and a whole bunch of other awful scenarios.  Learn More.

  • Can the IRS Collect after 10 years?

    This is a question that many have when they first hear about the IRS statute of limitations on collections. In this post, we’ll answer that question and a lot more as we take a deep dive into the rules governing the statute of limitations placed on the IRS when they are trying to collect back taxes. Learn More.

  • Can the IRS Force Me To Sell My Home?

    It is not at all uncommon for people who owe money to the IRS to lose sleep at night worrying about all kinds of horrific things that could happen as a result of their unpaid taxes.  Aside from oxygen, food and shelter are as fundamental as it gets in terms of basic human needs.  So, it’s no surprise that tax debtors often stress and fret about whether they will be able to put food on their table and keep a roof over their heads.   Continue Reading.

  • Can I Wind Up in Jail or Prison for Unpaid IRS Taxes?

    In this blog, I’m going to talk about situations that I truly hope you don’t find yourself in.  I’m going to talk about the narrow circumstances under which the IRS can force you in front of a court of law, or even put you in jail. Learn about Bob and his small business.

  • Can The IRS Revoke or Block my Passport?

    If you owe the Internal Revenue Service money, your passport could be at risk right now and you might not even know it. Whether you already have your passport or you have just applied for one, if you travel abroad for any reason then you need to know if your delinquent taxes are about to become an even bigger problem. Don’t get stuck without a passport! Learn More.

  • Can The IRS Take My 401K, Social Security, IRA, Pension & Retirement?

    The IRS cannot simply show up out of the blue and take your property if you owe it money. It must first satisfy a few procedural steps. The IRS must have a lien against you. This can happen through a “statutory” or “silent” lien, which goes into effect after a taxpayer fails to respond or pay after receipt of a balance due notice. Often, the IRS will also file a lien as a public record, through a Notice of Federal Tax Lien.   Take a look at this article.

  • Can I Resolve Back Taxes By Qualifying For Currently Not Collectible Status?

    Benjamin Franklin once said that nothing is certain in this life but death and taxes.  I’ll agree that none of us will cheat death.  But I may quibble with Mr. Franklin on the issue of whether or not you have to pay all of your taxes.  Under the right set of circumstances, full payment of taxes (and sometimes any payment of taxes) is far from certain. Learn More.

  • Can I Settle My Tax Liability Even Though I Have Enough Income?

    What happens, though, when there are enough assets or income to full pay, but forcing a taxpayer to do so would still go against all that is fair and just? In that situation, the taxpayer might want to attempt an Offer In Compromise based on Exceptional Circumstances (also known as Effective Tax Administration). Learn More.

  • Can My Business Settle IRS With Business Offer in Compromise?

    Like with any OIC, the threshold issue is whether or not a business is current with tax returns, and tax deposits.  The most common form of delinquency for businesses is 941 employment taxes, which accrue when a business owner fails to make timely payroll tax deposits while disbursing paychecks.  If a company has not filed all returns, and is actively “pyramiding” (accruing new balances in the current quarter), it won’t even get the Offer in the door. Learn More.

Brett Shelton
Brett Shelton
Brett Shelton Roofing, Santa Cruz, CA
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"Some tax relief companies are just out to get your money. That is absolutely not the case with Fortress. Not only is the Fortress staff excellent at resolving back taxes, they are very personable and they truly care about their clients."
If, after consulting with one of our professionals, you decide that you need representation and feel that Fortress is a good fit, one of our experienced and highly trained tax attorneys will guide you through the process, defend your rights, advocate for your interests, and give you the very best chance of reaching the most favorable outcome possible given your situation. The quality of representation you receive is only as good as the quality of your representative. That is why Fortress only employs tax attorneys—the highest level of tax professional, and the type of tax professional most capable of resolving a tax collection case—to represent its clients before the taxing authorities.

TAX Attorneys vs Accountants
Which is Best for You?

Resolving your tax debt typically has very little to do with accounting, and everything to do with building and presenting a strong case.

Most CPA’s have very little experience, if any, resolving back taxes. Our attorneys do nothing but resolve back taxes, day in and day out.

Negotiation and persuasive skills, not number-crunching skills, get the best results when it comes to resolving back taxes.

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