Problems with the IRS? Don’t worry, there is help…

If you have problems with taxes, either personally or with your business, you can get the situation worked out – and you are NOT a bad person.

Attorney Steve Klitzner, who focuses exclusively on solving IRS problems throughout Florida, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about ways he can help residents of Monroe County.

He said, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, how am I going to pull a fast one over on the IRS today? What happens is people get overwhelmed, they fall behind. Something happens in their life beyond their control. Suddenly they have an issue with the IRS and then it starts to snowball. A year goes by, two years go by, now they’re so overwhelmed, they don’t know where to turn or what to do. And it literally paralyzes them. They can’t sleep at night. But the earlier they get help, the better it is because the more rights they have.”

It’s kind of remarkably easy to have IRS issues snowball.

Klitzner said, “There’s a big difference between a levy and a lien. Some people say they lien-ed my bank account or they filed the levy against me and the opposite is true. The reality is that a lien is filed with public records and it attaches to any property you own. The levy is more dangerous because the levy is when the IRS has basically said, we’ve had enough. You’re not dealing with us, you’re ignoring us. We’re just going to start taking your things, your bank account, your wages, whatever income that you have. That’s easily avoidable if you’re proactive.”

Klitzner was trained in Miami and has been handling tax problems for many years. It’s important to not try to handle this on your own.

He said, “Sometimes people call me and they say, can I do this myself? Well, yes, I do tell them, there’s a couple of simple things, on some cases that they can do themselves, but the majority of the time, they need help. What I do is not just fill out forms, send it in, let’s see what happens. There’s a lot of work that goes into this. There’s a lot of advocacy that we have to do to get our clients the best deal. But the funny thing about dealing with the IRS is that it’s not as adversarial as you think. The idea is to come to a resolution that my client can afford, that the IRS will accept. Now in the real world, if you have a dispute with someone, and you can’t come to a resolution, there’s a judge and jury, they make a decision. But with the IRS, they’re the judge and jury. I have to convince them, that the deal I’m offering them for my particular client is the best they’re going to get and that they should take it. The great news is that there’s always a resolution. We always come up with something that everybody can live with.”

Remember, the other commercials you see for help with taxes may not have the expertise that’s really needed.

Klitzner said, “When you call those 800 numbers, you don’t know who you’re going to be talking to. Basically it’s going to be a salesperson and they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear, just to get you to sign up with them. They’re not attorneys, they’re not owned by attorneys. They don’t have that attorney/client privilege that we have, the confidentiality. The question is this, do you really think somebody 2,000 or 3,000 miles away, can help you with an IRS problem here. If the IRS comes knocking on your door at nine in the morning and you call that company, they’re all sleeping, no one’s going to be able to help you.”

The Fresh Start Program began in the IRS many years ago and it’s been added to each year.

Klitzner noted, “They haven’t made the change to it since 2012. It’s not a brand new program and it’s not going away. What the Fresh Start isn’t, unfortunately, you can’t just call the IRS and say, hey, Steve from Miami, can I get a fresh start? But what it did do is it gave taxpayers more of an opportunity to settle cases for less, if they qualify to settle the case. It is a great program. It does help people. But it’s not exactly what it sounds with a fresh start because everyone has a different case. I have clients who owe several hundred thousand dollars. They pay every single penalty, every single amount, maybe they can get a penalty abatement, maybe they’re eligible. But some people have the ability to pay and they pay it off. Because when you think about it, if you don’t pay your taxes for a few years and you can just call the IRS and make a deal. No one would ever pay their taxes. They would have absolutely no incentive. So the people we can make deals for for less are those where I can show that they’ll never be able to pay the money. We have some clients who owe hundreds of thousands of dollars and we settle for $100. That’s because they have no assets. They have no money. They have very limited income. What’s good for them in their life is bad for their IRS case. The worse their life is, the better their IRS case. Because if you can afford to pay it off, the IRS does not leave money on the table. But if you can’t pay anything, they’ll make you a deal for just about nothing because they’ll never get anything.”

With the news of the IRS having 87,000 new employees, those new hires are not necessarily all agents coming after John Q. Public.

Klitzner said, “The majority of those people are technicians. They’re answering the telephone. They’re not going to be all collectors and auditors. This hiring is over the next 10 years. People at the IRS are retiring or leaving the service all the time. So it’s not going to be where all of a sudden next year they have 87,000 new people and they’re all coming after you. In fact, the IRS has a little difficulty hiring people. Not a lot of people want to work for the IRS. They’re not very competitive in their salary. So this isn’t something where people are knocking on the door to come in.

The $80 billion the department will see is going for modernization.

If you have a problem with the IRS, don’t wait.

Klitzner said, “You have certain rights. Those letters are very important, especially the certified ones. People come in to me all the time and they give me a stack of unopened mail. They figure well, I haven’t opened it. So it doesn’t count against me or I haven’t picked up that certified mail. What could go wrong? That mail, especially the certified mail, is so important, because it gives you right to stop the IRS in their tracks, so that you can come to a settlement. Once the time period is up, now we’re playing defense. Now we’re going to the IRS and saying, please work with us instead of here’s what we’re going to do.”

The IRS actually welcomes the help of Klitzner.

He said, “I get revenue officers all the time saying to me, thank goodness you’re on this case, now we can find a way to get a result. Because they have a great deal of difficulty dealing with individuals who don’t understand what they want, don’t understand what they need. I do and that’s why we can come to a resolution without levies, without passport certification. If you owe more than $59,000 and don’t work out a deal, the IRS can take away your passport. They certainly won’t renew it or issue you a new one. But once we get a deal with them, we can stop that from ever happening.”

What are some of the red flags that may tend to bring on an audit for a business owner or an individual?

Klitzner explained, “When you when you send in your return, the IRS puts a score on, the dip score. They compare it to similar businesses or similar individuals. If your score is high, because your numbers are off, of course that doesn’t mean the numbers are wrong, but that means there’s a good chance there’s a mistake. You want to go to a qualified tax return preparer. The guy you hear about from friends or neighbors or co-workers that knows all the tricks, stay away. There’s no such person. They’re making things up to get you more money, and ultimately get you in trouble. If you don’t have a qualified tax preparer, just call me. I’ll give you one. I don’t do the returns, but I’ll send you to somebody in your area. I’ll get you somebody that will do it right. The guys that are getting you big refunds are making things up and getting you in trouble. That’s the number one way. Get somebody competent to do the returns for you. You can still get audited, of course, but the odds are less likely and there’s also a very good chance that you don’t owe any money. Just because you get audited doesn’t mean you’re going to owe money. But don’t talk to the IRS. That’s a big mistake. People think oh, I’ll go talk to them. I’m when they hear what I have to say everything will just go away.”

Never, ever try to lie to the IRS.

Klitzner said, “When I represent somebody, I talk on their behalf. So long as I can answer all the questions the IRS has, they can’t talk to my client. Because who wants to really talk to the IRS? It’s very unnerving. Sometimes they can be very intimidating. But when I have a power of attorney, I stand in their shoes, and I can represent them and talk without them ever having to talk to them.”

Always remember, the IRS knows information about you.

Klitzner said, “They’ve done their research. They know more about you than you know about you. The whole idea is you just have to take some accountability, it’s happened to me, let’s do something, let’s put this in the past. As long as you’re currently filing returns, currently paying returns for your taxes, whether you’re a business with payroll taxes, or an individual with income tax, the IRS will work with you on the past stuff. But the number one thing you have to do is get current. Pay in your current taxes. We see the biggest problem is businesses. They don’t pay payroll taxes, not because they don’t want to, it’s because they’ve got a lot of bills and if you don’t pay your landlord, you’re going to get evicted. If you don’t pay your employees, they’re going to quit. The easiest person or the entity not to pay is your payroll taxes, because they’re not there every week holding their hand out. As long as you get your act together going forward, we can deal with the past stuff. That’s not a problem.”

No case is hopeless and the initial consultation with Klitzner is free.

He said, “I’m happy to talk to you and spend some time and tell you what I can do for you. The fee is a flat fee, and it covers everything we do start to finish on the case.”

For more information, call Klitzner at 305-682-1118 or click here: