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It depends.   If you have the ability to immediately pay the tax liability in full, the liability is accurate, and you don’t have any extenuating circumstances which caused you to fall behind, it might make sense just to pay the debt off.  If you are unable to pay the debt off quickly, you feel like you had extenuating circumstances or you believe the liability to be inaccurate, you should seek advice from a professional who is experienced in resolving back taxes.   In many cases, an experienced tax pro can reduce the amount taxpayers will have to repay and/or help them avoid nasty consequences such as wage levies, bank levies, and the seizure of assets.  To get a better feel for whether you need a tax pro, we recommend this short video on The IRS River.

Some taxpayers qualify for an Offer in Compromise (a tax settlement), while others may qualify for an abatement (reduction/elimination) of penalties.  Others qualify for a Partial Payment Installment Agreement, which technically does not reduce the debt, but can have the effect of having the taxpayer repay less than the full amount due.  There is also something called Currently Not Collectable Status (CNC), in which the taxpayer pays nothing so long as he or she stays in CNC.  Consult with a tax professional with experience dealing with back tax cases to see if you might qualify for any of the above.

Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and attorneys have unlimited authorization to represent taxpayers before the IRS.  Since resolving most tax collection cases has little to do with number crunching, and a lot to do with building and presenting a strong case, we believe that the skill set of an attorney experienced in handling tax collection cases is likely to procure better results.

For a more detailed discussion, please see the following videos:  

Fortress Financial Services, Inc.: Tax Attorneys Who Fix Back Tax Problems How To Get Your Money’s Worth When Choosing a Tax Debt Collection Professional

It is possible, and maybe likely, depending upon the circumstances.  Your best bet is to consult with a tax professional who is experienced in handling back tax cases.  To get a better feel for the risk involved in your own situation, and to learn about methods of reducing or eliminating these risks, we recommend the following free resources:

  1. Video: The IRS River—An Easy To Understand Tutorial For Determining the Seriousness of a Tax Problem
  2. Article: Will the IRS Garnish/Levy My Wages?
  3. Article: Will the IRS Seize Assets of Force the Sale of Them?
  4. Article: Will the IRS Pursue Collection from my Spouse?

No. We have heard countless horror stories about taxpayers who have hired a local CPA, Enrolled Agent or attorney to represent them for a tax collection case.  Poor customer service, crummy results, and a lack of expertise dealing with tax collection cases are commonly cited problems.  Few local accountants and attorneys truly specialize in resolving back tax liabilities for a living.  Would you rather have a representative who understands tax collections inside out and who is likely to get better results, or one who happens to live nearby? Hear from one of our clients about his experience of going out of his local area.

Maybe. If you are an owner, officer, check signer or person with some control over the company’s financial decision-making, you may be at risk of being held personally liable.  Consult with a tax professional experienced in dealing with back tax cases to see if you are at risk, and to see what can be done to reduce or eliminate that risk. For further information, see our article on Personal Liability for Unpaid Employer Withholding Taxes.

A lien is a secured interest in an asset or assets.  A Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public record which notifies the world that a taxpayer owes taxes, and places a public claim against the assets of the taxpayer.  A lien can affect a taxpayer’s credit, and can prevent the taxpayer from selling or transferring an asset subject to the lien.  A levy is when the IRS actually takes an asset or assets from a delinquent taxpayer, whether it is the taxpayer’s wages, bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate or other assets. For further information regarding levies, see our articles Will the IRS Seize Assets or Force the Sale of Them? and Will the IRS Garnish/Levy My Wages?.

Fortress is the only major national tax resolution firm where every single case is handled personally by an attorney who handles nothing but back tax cases day in and day out.  Our fees are competitive with, and oftentimes less than, firms who use less expensive professionals such as Enrolled Agents and CPAs.  Our case load per licensed professional is far lower than many other tax resolution firms, which means that our clients get the attention they deserve and never get lost in the shuffle.  Our caring and experienced staff delivers amazing customer service.  We’ve been in business since 2003 and have an A+ reliability rating with the Better Business Bureau.

We guarantee that your case will be personally handled by a licensed attorney from start to finish.  You can try us out without any obligation whatsoever.  After completing our easy intake paperwork, your case will be assigned to one of our attorneys.  If you do not wish to continue for any reason after the initial attorney consultation, just follow the simple instructions in our intake paperwork and we guarantee that 100% of any fees paid will be promptly refunded.

The answer, with few exceptions, is a resounding NO.  Since we employ many attorneys whom we do not overload, Fortress is equipped to intervene almost immediately and take control of your tax collection case.  Although it is best to engage us as far in advance of any deadlines as possible, there have been many times where we have succeeded in meeting, postponing, and even cancelling client tax-related deadlines within as little as 30 minutes after being engaged.

Our attorneys know tax collection procedures inside and out because tax collection representation is the only thing they do, day in and day out. We know which battles are worth fighting, and we know how to fight them with tact. We know when to bark up the chain of command and when to appeal. We know how to pick the best strategy for your individual circumstances, how to minimize the amount you must repay, and how to make sure you don’t leave money on the table. We know all of the tax collection jargon, all the forms, the relevant laws, and all the procedures. We know how to minimize or eliminate the chances of enforcement. We know how to give you the best chances for a favorable outcome.