It’s Lien Season
For many of us, we can tell when the seasons are changing such as the leaves turning colors (Fall), snow piling on the ground (winter), weather getting warmer (Summer). In the Tax world, we know when the season starts for the IRS to start coming after taxpayers for unpaid taxes, which is immediately after the end of Tax Day. The IRS is very clever in their tactics and we want to educate you on a tactic that can cause significant pain and inconvenient on your personal and business finances…Liens!
A federal tax lien is the U.S. government’s right to keep a person’s personal property until that person takes care of unpaid back taxes. The lien allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to secure or otherwise requisition the taxpayer’s property in order to secure payment. Federal tax liens apply to unpaid taxes of any kind, including income, self-employment, gift or estate taxes.
Federal tax liens differ from tax levies in that they only denote the government’s right to seize property, as opposed to the actual seizure of it. The IRS will often “perfect” a tax lien by filing notice with states and other creditors that it is first in line to receive payment for back taxes. Federal tax liens tend to substantially downgrade an individual’s credit score, and in many cases, those with a tax lien must pay taxes in full before receiving financing of any kind. (Source Investopedia).
Federal tax liens are often scary; however, the good news is that before the IRS files the lien, they will send you a notice via certified mail, Letter 3172, informing you of their plans of filing the lien on unpaid taxes. Please be aware that there is not a threshold for unpaid taxes for the Federal Government to file a lien. In that letter, the IRS provides you with an opportunity to file for a hearing to have the lien withdrawn. We highly recommend that you apply for that hearing righ away because this is often the most cost and time effective way to stop the lien against you! If you apply for the hearing, the IRS will send you a notice of when to appear and you must give reason on your request of why you want the lien removed.
In most cases, if you document that you are willing to resolve the lien and can set up a payment plan that you can honor, the IRS will accept it at the hearing. You must make all payments on the payment plan and as long as you stay on the payment plan, the federal government will not file that lien.
However, if you are someone that doesn’t check your mail regularly, or you do not feel confident in your ability to secure a hearing, then the IRS will file the lien and your only remedy is that the tax debt must be paid in full before the lien can be removed. Once taxes are paid off, liens can take anywhere from 30-90 days to have removed.
We also want to let you know that if you have a lien filed or about to be filed, you may get contacted by 3rd parties that will tell you that they can remove those liens or significantly reduce your taxes for a fee. What we can tell you is that some of those companies are legitimate and provide a great service, but most of them are run as a burn and churn type of operations and will take your money without helping you.
We have the ability to help you with unpaid taxes and/or liens. We have a different approach to tax resolution.
Here is a summary of our process
We will send you a financial survey for you to fill out, at low cost, to gather your income and expenses. This is very critical because should you qualify for tax resolution, the IRS will expect you to provide financial data to support your expenses.
Upon completion of your financial survey, our proprietary software will analyze your income and expenses against your tax debt and provide us with a likelihood of if you qualify for any tax resolution and how much we can potentially reduce your tax debt by.
If you agree to move forward, we will prepare your tax forms to be sent to the IRS along with your application fee and proposed payment plan. This process can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks before the IRS provides a response, so we recommend that should you do this, that you must continue to send money if you aren’t able to send your proposed payment in one lump sum until they give an answer.
Please be aware that neither our firm or any third party can guarantee that your debt will be resolved as there are other factors that the IRS can consider on granting you that tax relief that is outside of the tax practitioner’s control.
For more information to learn if you qualify for tax resolution, please don’t hesitate to contact us!