Running into trouble with the IRS is never a pleasant experience. When pursuing back taxes, the Internal Revenue Service has a legal remit to carry out aggressive collection actions against you. Without the prompt intervention of a skillful tax attorney on your behalf, the IRS can even issue levies and liens to seize your wages, bank balances, and property.
If you’ve fallen behind on your taxes in Everett, Washington, it’s essential to act quickly before your situation worsens. Hiring an experienced tax lawyer is almost always the best first step.
Find Everett Tax Help With Seattle Legal Services, PLLC
The experienced tax attorneys at Seattle Legal Services can help you combat IRS collection actions, make tax appeals on your behalf, and work out a permanent resolution to your financial predicament. We can also help you with IRS audits and tax planning to ensure you avoid further tax problems down the road.
As well as helping taxpayers in Everett, we offer tax resolution services in Seattle, Renton, Tacoma, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Lynnwood. We can also serve communities within King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County, as well as the rest of Washington State and nationwide.
Put Your Tax Woes Behind You
We understand that taxpayers with unpaid tax liabilities are often good people who’ve made a mistake or temporarily fallen into financial difficulties. Fortunately, there are many ways for someone with tax debt to work their way back into the good books of the IRS.
Experienced Everett tax attorneys have the legal knowledge to navigate complicated tax laws and effectively apply for various IRS payment plans and tax relief programs on behalf of their clients. Let’s look at some tax resolution services a tax attorney in Everett can provide.
Resolve Your Tax Debt With a Payment Plan
If you’re struggling to pay your back taxes, the IRS often allows payments to be spread over several months or even years. IRS installment agreements can alleviate the immediate financial pressure of mounting penalties and interest and provide a clear path to paying off your tax debt.
An experienced Everett tax lawyer can negotiate with the IRS to arrange a payment plan and schedule that doesn’t put your finances under too much strain. Without an attorney, you may end up jumping out of the frying pan into the fire with monthly payments you simply cannot afford, which would only lead to more financial difficulties and potential IRS problems.
The IRS offers four types of installment agreements: regular, streamlined, guaranteed, and partial installment plans. You may either arrange to spread out the full amount of your IRS tax debt with a short-term payment plan of under 120 days or a long-term payment plan of several months or years, with a maximum of six years.
Remove IRS Fees With Penalty Abatement
The IRS charges significant penalties for unfiled tax returns and late tax payments. The Failure to Pay Penalty alone is 0.5% of your full liability for each month the payment is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
When penalties start mounting up, they can rapidly worsen your tax situation and turn minor tax issues into major ones. An IRS tax lawyer in Everett or law firm in Everett, Washington can help you apply for penalty abatement, which may allow you to waive at least one penalty.
They’ll first need to evaluate your tax issues and determine if you’re an eligible candidate. There are two main types of penalty abatement: reasonable cause and first-time waivers.
Reasonable Cause Penalty Abatement
If you can demonstrate that you fell behind on your taxes due to reasonable cause rather than willful neglect, then you may be granted a waiver on all the resulting penalties. Reasonable cause would mean you acted prudently in good faith while attempting to prepare and file your taxes but were impeded by events outside your control, such as a natural disaster, serious illness, death, or undue hardship.
First-Time Penalty Abatement
Taxpayers who’ve never run afoul of the IRS before may be granted a First-Time Penalty Abatement, which would see the oldest penalty you owe dismissed. In most cases, to be eligible for a first-time waiver, you must have already resolved your immediate tax issues by setting up a payment schedule or paying the full amount of your tax liability.
You must also be up-to-date on all your tax returns and extensions. And penalty waivers are also more likely to be granted if the taxpayer fell behind because of reasonable cause rather than willful neglect.
Appeal IRS Tax Liens or Levies
If you’ve received a Notice of Levy or Notice of Lien from the IRS, you have a limited amount of time to act before the IRS seizes your money or property. They may begin garnishing your wages, seize money from your bank accounts, or seize any property or assets of value you own.
After receiving a Notice of Levy, you have 21 days to appeal it with the administrative appeal process, which may involve a hearing in the tax court in Everett, Washington. The deadline for appealing a levy is 30 days.
Hire an Everett Tax Lawyer Sooner Rather Than Later
When it comes to aggressive IRS collection actions like levies and liens, the sooner you get an experienced Everett tax attorney involved, the better. Tax lawyers in Everett can often successfully avert levies and liens before they’re enacted by negotiating with the IRS to arrange a payment plan or another tax resolution program.
After a levy or lien has been carried out and the money or asset has gone to the IRS, it becomes far more difficult to appeal and reverse. It’s still possible, but the likely outcome is a negative one.
Reduce Your Tax Debt With an Offer in Compromise
Some taxpayers with tax issues and financial difficulties can see their overall tax liability reduced with an Offer in Compromise. When a business or individual taxpayer in Everett, Washington cannot pay their back taxes, they may be allowed to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed.
Offers in Compromise are not granted lightly, and successfully applying for one usually requires an experienced Everett tax attorney with an in-depth understanding of tax law. A seasoned Everett tax attorney will know the legal intricacies of the offer process and understands how IRS Offer Examiners review each application.
Your attorney can first determine if you’re a likely candidate for an Offer in Compromise. They may then be able to apply on your behalf successfully.
Gain Currently Not Collectible Status
Under federal tax law, the IRS may provide individual and business taxpayers with some breathing space in which to recover their finances. Currently, Not Collectible Status stops the IRS from pursuing collection actions against you for an agreed period of time, which usually ranges between six months and two years.
This breathing space can be a godsend for many taxpayers who just need some time to recover their finances before repaying their tax debt. During this period of truce with the IRS, your tax liability will still accrue interest and penalties, but at least your wages, bank balance, and assets are safe.
Prove You’re in Danger of Immediate Financial Hardship
Currently, Not Collectible Status will only be granted if the IRS is persuaded that repaying your taxes now would plunge you into undue financial hardship. When you apply, the IRS will carry out an in-depth investigation into your financial situation.
Tax lawyers in Everett, Washington, can prepare and present your application in the best possible light and maximize your chances of success. Before you even apply, it’s important to have an attorney determine if you’re an eligible candidate.
Avoid Shared IRS Trouble With Innocent Spouse Relief
When married taxpayers share a tax return, it’s not uncommon for one of them to prepare and file their joint tax return and the other to simply sign the return without knowing much about its contents. This trust can lead both individuals into trouble with the IRS if any information in the return turns out to be false or even if their joint return isn’t filed at all.
If you’ve become embroiled in IRS problems because of your spouse, federal tax laws may grant you Innocent Spouse Relief. Tax lawyers in Everett, Washington, can help you apply for the Innocent Spouse Relief program, which would allow you to deal with the IRS as a separate individual, relieving you of back taxes, penalties, and interest owed by your spouse.
If granted, you’d also avoid collection actions directed against your spouse. To become accepted by Innocent Spouse Relief, you’d need to prove that you had no awareness of the errors committed by your spouse nor knowingly benefited from those errors.
Have Help Through an IRS Audit
Even if you’ve been entirely diligent and forthright in your tax returns, it can be nerve-wracking to learn that you’re facing an IRS audit. A tax attorney in Everett can alleviate your fears by informing you of your full legal rights, acting as a mediator between you and the IRS, and guiding you through the entire audit process.
If you need to share sensitive information with your tax lawyer or law firm that pertains to the audit, you should do so. Rest assured that anything you discuss will be under the protection of attorney-client privilege.
Prepare for and Limit the Scope of Your Audit
The first thing an attorney will do is analyze your past returns to identify why the IRS may be auditing you. If they determine a possible problem, your attorney can then help you strategize to prepare an optimal response to the IRS, thereby limiting the time, money, and potential legal issues the audit might cost you.
Everett tax lawyers can sometimes limit the scope of audits by identifying the precise error or issue and taking it up with the IRS directly. Thus mollified, the IRS audit officer may not feel the need to cast a wider net over the tax returns of previous years in a search for more errors.
Apply for Audit Reconsideration
Following an audit, if you disagree with the final audit assessment, you can apply for audit reconsideration with the help of your attorney. The tax law may also allow you to apply for reconsideration if you later uncover new information to show the IRS.
Handle IRS Investigations for Tax Fraud or Evasion
If you ever suspect the IRS is pursuing criminal investigations against you for tax fraud or evading taxes, you’ll need an experienced tax attorney in Everett to represent you in tax court. Seasoned tax lawyers in Everett, Washington can navigate the complicated tax laws at both state and federal levels to defend your rights and help you attain the best possible outcome.
When dealing with criminal IRS investigations, or any other IRS tax issues for that matter, it’s important to hire a specialist tax attorney. Tax laws and tax issues can be extremely complicated, and lawyers in related practice areas who lack IRS tax law specialization may have insufficient knowledge of tax laws and tax courts to properly defend you.
Understand the Tax Laws for Bankruptcy
When undergoing extreme financial hardship, sometimes bankruptcy is the only avenue of action left for an individual taxpayer or business. But the tax laws surrounding the bankruptcy process have become increasingly complicated in recent years.
Filing for bankruptcy in Everett, Washington, is a complex procedure that requires the guidance of an experienced specialist tax lawyer or law firm. Once again, lawyers in related practice areas may not have much experience with handling bankruptcy cases in tax court specifically.
Make sure your lawyer or law firm knows the bankruptcy laws and procedures inside out. You can ask them about this before selecting an attorney.
Your Everett Tax Lawyer Can Defend You in Tax Court
Most IRS tax appeals and applications don’t require you to go to the United States tax court, but sometimes a court hearing will be necessary. The most common federal tax matters that end up in court are petitions to appeal IRS notices regarding collection actions.
It’s generally unwise for businesses or individual taxpayers to go through the administrative appeals process that may require a hearing in the United States tax court without excellent legal representation. The likely outcome wouldn’t be positive.
Given the importance of your appeal to your financial future, it’s essential to hire an Everett tax lawyer to handle the process on your behalf. Everett, WA lawyers who strictly practice tax law can help ensure you achieve the best possible outcome in tax court.
Qualities of a Good Tax Debt Attorney in Everett, Washington
When you’re looking to resolve complex tax matters in a timely manner, the Everett tax debt lawyer or law firm you choose will make all the difference. The ideal Everett IRS tax attorney will be one who communicates clearly and is easy to get along with.
They should be able to explain tricky elements of the tax code in a clear and concise way. If you find yourself getting more, rather than less, confused while talking to an Everett tax debt attorney, they might not be the best fit.
Find a Tax Lawyer or Law Firm in Washington State
Your attorney should also be practicing law locally, serving Everett clients, ideally with their law office not far from Everett, Washington. Although federal taxation follows the same rules across the nation, you or your business may have local tax issues with the regional state department that deals with taxes. For Everett, this would be the Washington Department of Revenue.
As previously mentioned, the lawyer or law firm you hire should also ideally practice only tax law and have extensive accounting experience. Lawyers in related practice areas may not have the highest level of specialist skill or experience helping clients deal with complex IRS difficulties.
This is also important because tax law is constantly evolving.
Look for a Strong Track Record of Happy Clients
Needless to say, your chosen Everett tax lawyer should also have a strong track record of providing great service to individual clients and businesses with similar problems to yours. You can ask for testimonials from prior clients they’ve assisted with unfiled tax returns, resolving back taxes, appealing levies, or whatever tax issue you’re currently facing.
If you’d like a seasoned tax attorney in Everett to help resolve your IRS or Washington DOR tax problems, contact Seattle Legal Services, PLLC today at 206-895-7268. With our extensive tax resolution services, we can protect and defend you from the Internal Revenue Service, whatever your problem may be.