When facing the IRS, don't go it alone - consult a tax attorney

Get_a_Tax_AttorneyWhen it comes to paying taxes and dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, many people assume they are powerless. While nearly everyone in the U.S. must pay some type of taxes, taxpayers who dispute the amount of a tax bill or question certain tax-related matters do have rights.

In cases where an individual has failed to pay a tax bill and is contacted by the IRS, it's wise to be prepared and understand one's rights. In cases where an individual challenges an IRS notice, he or she may be required to meet in person with an IRS agent or collector. Prior to this meeting, an individual would be wise to meet with a tax professional who can provide advice and an attorney who handles tax matters.  

Additionally, it's wise to have a tax attorney accompany you to the actual IRS meeting. An attorney who is well-versed in IRS collection matters will have his or her client's best interests in mind, and can work on one's behalf when it comes to discussing and sorting out technical (and often confusing) IRS matters.

For individuals who are not able to pay a tax bill, there are several options that may be explored. For example, an individual may be able to pay a portion of his or her tax debt and provide the IRS with an offer in compromise. An offer in compromise allows an individual to present the IRS with the amount they are able to pay in hopes the IRS will settle for this amount. The IRS is also often willing to allow an individual to repay tax debt over time through an installment payment plan. In cases where an individual is not only struggling to repay tax debt, but also has other debts, it may be wise to explore the option of filing for bankruptcy. Some taxes are dischargeable under personal bankruptcy laws.

When an individual is strapped with tax debt, dealing with the IRS can be an intimidating and confusing process. It's advisable, therefore, to retain an attorney who can answer questions, provide legal advice and help negotiate more favorable terms with the IRS.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Ten Things to Remember When You Owe the IRS," 2014