In the early nineties there was a television show called “Family Matters.” It consisted of a police officer, his wife, his 3 (later 2 when one of the actresses was cut) kids, his annoying neighbor Steve Urkel, his mother, his sister-in-law, and his nephew and all of their interactions. This was the main cast early in the show, but over time the cast changed. What does this have to do with Tax resolution? In “Walking My Baby Back Home” Carl’s (the police officer) mother is being audited. Carl comes to her defense, but angers the IRS auditor, leading to an audit of his own taxes. Carl is informed that he owes a significant amount of money to the government. Ultimately, it is discovered that Carl failed to claim the correct number of dependents and he was owed a refund.
As much as we all would like all of our tax problems to be neatly wrapped up in a 30-minute episode, real life doesn’t work that way. Most people don’t have the knowledge or representation that they need in order to go head to head with the government, while the IRS is teeming with lawyers and experts who know tax code inside out. For those that find themselves in situations similar to that of Carl Winslow, having a tax resolution specialist working for you can provide peace of mind, comfort, and most importantly, resolution.
What is a Tax Resolution Specialist?
A certified tax resolution specialist (CTRS) assists clients that have tax issues by being a go between for the client and the IRS. They are knowledgeable about tax matters, and skilled at negotiating solutions. These people are professional Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents for the IRS, or Tax Attorneys. Once these degree programs are completed, a CTRS needs to have work experience relevant credentials, and then complete the CTRS exam. Needless to say, you won’t find someone more knowledgeable in their field. Those with the CTRS credential also have to maintain continuing education standards in order to remain eligible.
When do I need to contact a CTRS? That’s the question isn’t it?
Like Carl Winslow, most people want to DIY as much as they can as possible, if only to save a few bucks. However, this isn’t a change-your-own-oil type situation. For people dealing with tax problems, it is imperative to hire a professional that knows tax law and can negotiate on your behalf. Here are 5 times when you need to contact a CTRS.
- When the IRS is hounding you. If you are getting repeated phone calls and letters from the IRS, to the point you have quit responding, then you know you need a professional. Once you sign a power of attorney giving your CTRS the right to represent you, the IRS is no longer allowed to contact you personally.
- You have not filed taxes for more than a year in a row. There are lots of reasons people fail to file their taxes, some of them are good reasons, some of them are understandable reasons, and sometimes there is just no good reason. Regardless of your reason, if you haven’t filed recently, it’s time to contact a professional.
- You owe big bucks. When you owe over 10K to the IRS, you need to know what your payment options are. There are offers in compromise, penalty reduction programs and more. Unless you are fully knowledgeable on those programs, you probably need to talk to a professional.
- The IRS is just like you, they can make mistakes too! The IRS is claiming you owe way more money than you think you should owe. Never just accept it, instead, realize that the IRS is made up of people and all people are fallible at times. Instead of accepting it, hire a CTRS to take a second look at your files, and see who is really at fault.
- You don’t know what to do. You are facing back taxes, collections, payroll tax problems, wage garnishments, bank levies, or need innocent spouse relief (plus many other services not listed here) you need to speak with a professional. Tax laws and regulations are changing all the time, and trying to stay on top of this information is not your job, it’s the job of your CTRS. If you are tax issues of any sort, it is important to talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of the tax system.
It isn’t always easy being confident in turning over personal accounts to a stranger, and even more so when its financial accounts. That is why it is important to do the research behind the company. Here are a few tips for selecting the right CTRS for you:
-Transparency: Look at the website, talk to the representative. Feel confident that the specialist or agency is being forthcoming with you. If you have questions that aren’t being answered, that’s a warning sign.
-Experience: Every case is different, so ensure that the specialist/agency has a wide breadth of experience in dealing with tax issues, so they are prepared to handle yours. Make sure that they are willing to look at your case individually, and remain open to the unique obstacles you have to overcome.