There’s that old saying that death and taxes are the two things that cannot be avoided. One reason it is still used is that it is true. Nevertheless, this should not prevent taxpayers from asking questions about their tax burden and how to best address notices from the government.
Below is a list of tips from experts for those who owe or have concerns about the amount:
- Do not ignore the automated notices: Ignoring a problem or dispute rarely makes it go away, and usually makes it steadily worse as time goes on.
- They must treat you with respect: According to the IRS Collection Process, taxpayers have the right to be treated courteously and professionally and be informed of their rights.
- Respect the tax collector: These people have wide-ranging powers that can make a citizen’s life much better or much worse. Punishments include a tax lien, wage garnishment, close a business, levy a bank account, seize and sell a home, or other severe penalties.
- You will not go to jail: Average citizens do not go to jail for not paying their taxes unless they are caught cheating or committing other fraudulent behavior.
- You may not be at fault: Spouses of those who did not pay their taxes may be tracked down, even in cases where the couple is divorced or the other spouse is now deceased. However, this can be resolved through innocent spouse relief.
- Use a tax professional: Those who wish to be proactive and legally resolve their tax debt are often best served by a tax law attorney who can work with the client to reduce the amount owed, structure a payment plan, appeal a decision or meet with the IRS.
The IRS can make errors
The IRS does make mistakes from time to time. Those who have questions about their tax obligations are best off paying the money if they can and then work with a legal professional to get answers. If they cannot pay the amount determined, an attorney can help the client to act in good faith, which avoids making matters worse.