Help for Troubled Taxpayers
We Help Troubled Taxpayers
Cunningham, Malone, and Morton (CM&M) has been helping clients resolve tax issues with the IRS since 1996. After decades of experience, we know that IRS tax problems rarely go away by themselves.
Problems with the IRS can be costly, time consuming and incredibly stressful, especially if you aren’t in the business of understanding tax law.
When you have problems with the IRS, call on us. Depending on the situation, we can usually find a solution that will relieve stress and likely reduce some of your tax burden.
We can act on your behalf and stop or prevent the IRS from contacting you personally. We can also negotiate payment agreements and, in certain circumstances, we can even reduce the total debt owed. We understand the tax code, talk the language the IRS understands, and have years of experience successfully negotiating relief for our clients. We are the only accounting firm on the North Coast with the training and expertise to argue your case in front of the U.S. Tax Court, if that is your best alternative.
We can help with Tax Problems, such as:
- IRS Audits
- Non-Filed Tax Returns
- Back Taxes Owed
- IRS Liens
- IRS Notice of Deficiency (90-day letter)
- IRS Seizures and Levies
- IRS Wage Garnishment/Payroll Tax Problems
- Innocent Spouse relief
- Getting a copy of your IRS file
- U.S. Tax Court Appearance
Our solutions can include:
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU CONTACT US
When you call, you will talk with one of our tax experts. Our expert will listen to your story and direct your case to the right CM&M team member. We will then schedule an appointment and ask for your credit card number. This card will only be used if you cancel without notice. (If you must cancel, give us at least a 24-hour notice so you can avoid the $200 cancelation fee.)
Phase I: The Initial Appointment
First, we listen. When we meet the first time, you give us the background of your problem, including the financial impact from your point of view. We listen and ask clarifying questions.
Then, we talk about what we might be able to do for you. We will talk about possibilities, but we can’t make a realistic plan of action until we have done some research.
Then, you make a decision. If you decide you want us to go ahead with the research, you will leave a $1,500 deposit, and sign an Authorization that allows us to get your information from the IRS. You will probably leave with our request for additional financial information.
Our next step is to contact the IRS for your account data and, if necessary, execute a Freedom of Information request. As long as you are current on filing your taxes (even if you still owe money), we will use this preliminary information to analyze your situation and develop a reasonable plan of action. Once we have that, we will contact you for a second meeting.
Phase II: Second Meeting
At this second meeting, we will present:
- Our recommended plan of action (engagement);
- What it will cost you to have us complete the plan; and
- Approximately how long it will take.
You can choose to accept our proposed engagement or call it quits and move on to other options. If you decide to go ahead with the plan, you will sign an agreement for us to proceed. Once you sign the agreement, the fees presented are your only fees for this service. Our goal is to get you back in good standing with the IRS in a way that is financially feasible for you and that lets you return to living a life free of this stress.
TYPES OF TAX PROBLEMS
Opening an IRS audit letter can make anyone’s stress level escalate. Once the IRS decides to look at your taxes, they will require you to scour your files for endless details. In our experience, most people find it difficult to deal with the IRS themselves, especially during an audit. Unless understand both the tax code and how to negotiate with the IRS, it is usually better to hire our firm to act on your behalf. On balance, the amount of money we can save you more than makes up for the fees you’ll pay for our services.
If you are an existing client with an IRS audit, we take care of talking with them on your behalf. You may never have to speak with them nor take the time to look for the information they request. We can handle all of the negotiations as one of the services we offer.
If you are a new client coming to us because of an audit, you may still never have to speak with the IRS, but you will have to help by gathering your financial information. We’ll help make sure you understand your rights, and play interference against any pressure to give them more than they are entitled to.
If you've received an audit notice from the IRS, please contact us by phone at 441-1111. You can also contact us through this website and you will receive a call back from one of our tax specialists.
Non-Filed Tax Returns
If you are caught in the cycle of not filing your tax returns year after year, either because you don’t have the money you owe or because you just are afraid of what might happen, you aren’t alone.
The situation is serious, however, and the amounts owed can only go up if you continue to avoid filing. Between now and the time the IRS finds you, the interest and penalties will keep accruing, and criminal prosecution is a possibility. Although there is a statute of limitation on some taxes owed, there is no statute of limitations on non-filed tax returns.
There is no time like the present to fix this by getting current on your taxes. If you voluntarily file your delinquent returns, you are likely to avoid further problems other than having to pay the interest and penalties.
If you don’t file your taxes yourself, the IRS might file them for you. If that happens, be aware:
- Your return will be filed in the best interest of the government;
- The return will include little or none of the deductions you are entitled to;
- You will receive a form letter giving 90 days to accept their calculation of your taxes (usually without deductions); and
- If the IRS files for you, you cannot have the tax discharged in bankruptcy.
If you have questions about getting current, give us a call.
We know how to negotiate with the IRS. Our tax experts work to get you back into good standing with the IRS and help reduce taxes, fees, and/or penalties, through solutions such as offer in compromise, penalty abatement, and payment plans. In some instances, we can negotiate no payments for a period of up to a year under a program called currently non-collectible status. We can also help you evaluate whether bankruptcy is a viable option.
We can help once your returns are filed. (Even if you still owe back taxes.) You can file your past returns yourself or ask us to do it. (See Section on filing past due tax returns.) Once filed, we can set a plan of action.
Back Taxes Owed
If you are current on your returns but still owe back taxes, that amount will continue to increase because of interest and penalties. After only a few years, you could owe three or four times the original amount. It makes sense to tackle this problem now before the amount you owe increases. We can help with several options, including an offer in compromise, penalty abatement, and payment plans. We can also help you evaluate the costs of declaring bankruptcy. In some cases, we can get payments delayed through a program called currently non-collectable status.
IRS Notice of Deficiency (90 day letter)
If you haven’t filed your taxes, the IRS may send a statutory notice of deficiency (a 90-day letter) stating what they think you owe. You have 90 days to agree with the letter or take action to negotiate some other amount. If you don’t file a petition with the Tax Court for an adjustment within that time, their calculations become permanent.
Petitions and negotiations can be tricky, especially when constrained by this 90-day limit. If this happens to you, our tax experts can file the petition and appear in Tax Court on your behalf.
IRS Liens (Intent to Levy notice)
When the IRS intends to place a lien against your property, they will send an “Intent to Levy” notice. This notice won’t say exactly how which of your assets will be affected. Within 30 days, they may place a lien against any of your assets and those of your spouse or your company.
If you have received this notice from the IRS, call us immediately. Without intervention, this process can ruin your credit and dramatically affect your financial options. We can negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, working out a solution that relieves you from this financial pressure. We can help with several options, including offer in compromise, penalty abatement, innocent spouse relief, and payment plans. We can also help you evaluate bankruptcy as an option; in some cases, we can also get payments delayed through the currently non-collectable status program.
We can even sometimes get liens removed or withdrawn, depending on the situation.
IRS Seizures and Levies
The IRS can seize the things you own (boats, cars, and houses) or place a levy against other assets like bank accounts and wages. When they do, they can take property worth more than you owe them because the IRS sells it at auction at a reduced price.
If the IRS has seized your property or placed a levy on your assets or wages, call us right away. If you told them already that you don’t have the funds to pay the taxes, we may be able to get the levy released. If you have already agreed to a payment plan and they take more than the payment owed, we can usually get the difference back. We can also use other options, including offer in compromise, penalty abatement, and payment plans.
IRS Wage Garnishment
When the IRS sends you an Intent to Levy notice, one of their options is to garnish your wages. Within 30 days, they can instruct your employer to funnel the majority of your wages to them, without regard for how much money you need for basic living expenses.
We have a great deal of experience negotiating the release of wage garnishments. We can identify workable solutions, such as a payment plan. This option is always more favorable than any IRS wage garnishment. It also saves you significant time and money, even factoring in the cost of hiring a professional. However, you have to call us first!
We will work with you to find the best possible solution to your tax problem. Our goal is to make a plan to set you free from IRS debt and harassment. There are a number of possible solutions, depending on your situation. They include:
• Payment Plans
• Offer in compromise
• Currently NonCollectible Status
• Penalty Abatement
• Innocent Spouse Relief
• Levy & garnishment releases
• Filing of past due tax returns
• U.S. Tax Court Representation
Offer in Compromise
If you owe back taxes and can’t afford to pay, give us a call and let’s talk about the offer in compromise program. If you qualify, we can use this program to talk with the IRS about a compromise payment. We have been able to help our clients get tremendous savings using this program. Since there is no preset bottom limit that the IRS will accept to settle your debt, we will work to negotiate the least amount possible.
Currently non-collectible status
If you cannot pay your past due taxes (for instance, because of health issues or loss of a job), we may be able to negotiate a temporary delay of up to a year. In that time, you don’t have to pay, but interest will still accrue. We can keep monitoring the situation on your behalf, and, if necessary, file another request for a delay if your financial situation is the same or has worsened.
IRS Payment Plan
If you don’t qualify for the offer in compromise program or the non-collectible status option, a payment plan may be the best way to resolve your problem.
We can usually negotiate installment agreements no matter how much you owe. Some situations also allow for streamlined agreements with little or no documentation required. We can also combine these payment plans with other programs such as penalty abatement, decreasing your overall amount owed. Interest will always continue to accrue on the remaining balance, however, as you pay the debt off.
We can help you evaluate bankruptcy as a viable solution. Bankruptcy can wipe your slate clean of back taxes, interest, and penalties. However, if you file but don’t meet the IRS’ rules, they will be in hot pursuit after your bankruptcy is over. In addition, if you don’t have other debt besides taxes, it may make more financial sense not to file for bankruptcy and to negotiate an installment agreement with our help.
Innocent Spouse Relief
If your spouse or former spouse committed fraud or other misdeeds, you can get out of that tax debt. Innocent Spouse Relief was designed to alleviate unjust situations where one spouse was clearly the victim of fraud perpetrated by their spouse or ex-spouse.
If you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, you may not owe any tax. Please contact us to see if you qualify for this program.
Levy and Garnishment Releases
Our tax experts work to stop wage garnishments and IRS levies. We pick up the phone and call the IRS. First, we find out if you are in compliance. Sometimes, you may think you have all tax returns filed, but are really missing one year. No matter how big or small that tax year was for you, the missing year could be the trigger for all of your IRS headaches. After ensuring the IRS has all the returns, we negotiate a resolution to the outstanding taxes, such as an offer in compromise, payment plan, or currently non-collectible status.
The IRS is notorious for dragging their feet; our tax professional know how to advocate on your behalf to get the levy or garnishment released as soon as possible.
Filing Past Due Tax Returns
U.S. Tax Court
Sometimes it is to your advantage to argue your case in the U.S. Tax Court. One example is when the IRS files your taxes for you and sends you a 90-day letter. You then have 90 days to respond to their assessment of the taxes you owe. If you don’t agree with their assessment of what you owe, we can contact the IRS, prepare your petition, and represent you in Tax Court.
Get Your IRS File
Understanding the whole picture is key to the best solution when dealing with tax problems. Getting a copy of your IRS file is always a good idea, particularly if one of our tax experts is working with you. We can get your IRS file without sending up any red flags, and can help interpret the information and analyze options. Contact us by phone at 441-1111 or via this website.