Attorney Benkel understands the details of the tax laws and regulations.
A Former IRS Attorney With Over 30 Years Of Practice Experience
Tax Planning For Individuals
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if I have not filed tax returns in a number of years?
A. The firm is equipped to file delinquent income tax returns for as many years as is necessary. Failure to file a tax return can, in a small percentage of cases carry criminal ramifications. Usually a prompt voluntary disclosure and filing of a power of attorney can prevent the matter from being assigned to the criminal division. As soon as the firm is retained, we contact the IRS to determine what data the IRS has accumulated, what department of the IRS your case is in, if the IRS has already made an internal assessment and how far back we have to start the process. Then with your input we do the tax preparation.
2. What if I cannot afford to pay the IRS the amount of taxes that are due?
A. There are a number of procedures available for parties that cannot pay their liability in full. The most common is the monthly payment. Two sets of guidelines apply, one if the liability is under 25k and one if it is over 25k. We can also have cases placed in hardship or currently non-collectible if you are experiencing financial difficulty. Under this scenario interest continues to accrue but there is no active collection for a period of time, usually a year or two. Bankruptcy can also be a solution to your tax situation. Filing a tax motivated bankruptcy is a difficult process with numerous time restraints as obstacles, but it can be a very effective process.
3. What is an offer in compromise?
A. An offer in compromise is a terrific procedure that the IRS offers. It can result in a reduction of the tax liability of over 90%. However this procedure is not for everyone and is completely factually based. In general terms it is a two pronged formula determining ability to make monthly payments over a five year period of time plus determining a net value of all your assets. This amount can then be paid over a 24 month period without added penalties or interest. This process is complex and can take upwards of one year. Our firm has filed hundreds of offers and has saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
4. Can your firm represent me in a tax audit and what do I do if I don’t agree with the auditor?
A. Absolutely, we can represent you in the audit process. We can attend the audit in your stead and free you to go to work. This is true if you are called for a 4-hour office audit or a 3-day field audit. Either way we deal exclusively with the agent and at the end of the audit, carefully analyze the audit results and recommend either agreeing with the IRS or not. The IRS cannot force you to accept the results of the audit. Many times the client does not agree and we take the case to the appeals division. This is an independent division that will afford the taxpayer a hearing and review. Under most circumstances this is where the case will be resolved, however the filing of a Tax Court petition will preserve the taxpayer’s right to take the matter to Tax Court, if applicable.
5. I had to close my business. Unfortunately not all payroll taxes were paid. What can be done?
A. Failure to pay payroll taxes is a severe problem. If the business is continuing to operate, it can be grounds for the IRS coming in and closing the business. However our firm can negotiate short-term payment plans if it appears the company can correct the problem in the short term. We will analyze whether or not it is in your best interest to continue or to close out the business. If the business is closed without any remaining assets we can get the IRS to write off the debt and in its place assert a trust fund penalty against the “responsible party” for just a fraction of the payroll tax liability. We then negotiate individual payment plan, hardship or offer in compromise on behalf of the business owner.
6. I think a former tax preparer did a poor job of preparing my returns. Could you revise the filings and create a refund for me?
A. You have three years to amend the tax return from the time a return is filed. We will be happy to review and see if it is appropriate. If so, we will attempt to re-coup excess income taxes paid and have them refunded to you. If more than three years have passed and you still owe for a tax year, we may be able to have the liability eliminated by virtue of filing for reconsideration.