The following blog is adapted from a transcript of our new podcast, Tax Relief Academy.
You can listen to the podcast episode here:
If you owe the IRS back taxes, you know that it is expensive, and may be thinking "I really can't afford to pay the IRS, much less an attorney right now", you might be surprised that the fees that I charge are reasonable.
Sometimes you have to think about whether or not you need professional help, because if you owe the IRS, you have to remember: they do not represent you.
They will tell you that “if you don't pay your taxes by such-and-such a date, we can levy your bank account, we can garnish your wages, etc.”
You don't know what to do, you panic, and you make a bad deal.
Although what they're saying is true, what they don't tell you is that they've got to send you several notices (usually 5) that are separated four-to-five weeks apart.
Usually only the last notice, "Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing", qualifies them to actually take that kind of collection action against you.
So, let me explain how I do this...
The first thing I do (for free), is I get you to sign a power of attorney, allowing me the right to inquire about your account with the IRS. We can do that over email or fax.
I'll find out:
In addition to that, I can order transcripts (official documentation from the IRS that spell-out all of these details).
I'll get them, send them to you, and we can talk about it, and then I'll give you a preliminary strategy on the best way to deal with the IRS.
This is not going to cost you anything. Just a little bit of your time.
I like to do that with my clients, because sometimes you don't need my help.
I'll tell you when you can do it by yourself, but if you do need some help, then I can quote you a fee.
The first thing I do with most of my cases are fixed fees. Sometimes I do audits and more complicated matters for businesses, but I hate to keep justifying every 15 minutes of my work time but in certain cases I do that.
But most of the time, I have enough experience that I know how much time it's going to take me.
Sometimes I do it quicker, sometimes it takes longer than I thought, but I like to work with fixed fees so that you know exactly what I'm going to charge you, and if I make a mistake and under charge you, that's on me. I won't raise the price that I quoted you.
I also offer you reasonable payment plans, which I'll talk about in another post. When I charge fees I put myself in your situation.
A lot of times you're tapped out, you don't have money; you might be able to borrow some money, or you might be able to put something on a credit card and that sort of thing, and I understand that.
You may have been struggling, and have no idea where you’re going to get the money to pay the IRS, much less an attorney, and you don’t want to be taken advantage of.
I treat you the way I would like to be treated; I need to be fairly compensated for my time, but I take all those things into consideration.
But, then I want you to put yourself in my situation. I'm going to give you some good, free advice. I'm going to contact the IRS, get all the information we talked about, and give you your preliminary strategy.
At that point, you might want to take it on your own handle it on your own, and if you can't call me back that's fine.
All I have is my knowledge, my time, and my experience, but I'm willing to give you some free advice and get you on your way. But if you need some help, I want you to know how I think when I charge these fees.
I just did another post about the different types of payment plans, and if either that or this topic is of interest to you and you'd like to have a free consultation to discuss it, go to tonyramoslaw.com/relief or comment on this post, and we will get back to you to set up a free consultation.
Here are a couple of examples of what I typically charge:
Does not require you disclose financial information.
You don't have to have:
* bank statements
In fact, usually, if you qualify, I get on the phone with the IRS and get the best plan that I can. I usually charge less than $1,000 for these cases. I give you three or four months to pay me.
When it gets up to $100,000 there are other issues, but my fee is not much more than that.
We have to prepare or negotiate installment agreement that requires:
Now, business installment Agreements are totally different. A lot of those, I have to charge an hourly rate, because there are a lot of issues that come up with businesses, especially those who have payroll taxes that are owed.
The IRS is a lot tougher on those, and they’re much quicker to levy your bank account. Those are negotiated a little bit more, and I can't give you a fixed fee, but when I do give a fixed fee for business or more complicated case, I usually limit my contract to six months, because in the past I have quoted contracts that I thought we're going to get resolved in six or seven months, it takes two years.
So after six months, we review the relationship and we adjust fees.
But, most of the time I'll give you a fixed fee, several months to pay, and that’s it. We live with that arrangement.
Not only with business, but sometimes individual taxpayers need to stop the IRS from levying their bank account or garnishing your wages, or trying to get money back - and those we need a collection due process hearing.
And those are all considered when I quote my fees. So, when I do the flat fee, it’s all inclusive on all of these issues.
Again, if any of this is of interest to you, and you’d like to setup a free consultation, go to tonyramoslaw.com/relief or comment on this post and we’ll get back to you.
Sometimes when spouses file joint tax returns, one doesn’t know what the other is doing, the other one underreports, or doesn’t pay taxes. Sometimes, the innocent spouse needs relief, especially if they are divorced or separated, and those cases usually start at around $3,000 (with payment plans).
Often times, we can get your back your tax refunds that were kept by the IRS for tax years that if you get the innocent spouse relief we can recover those refunds, and often times those will just pay for my fees.
What most people want to know about Offer-In-Compromise is "can I offer them a lot less than what I owe?".
Some of them are more simple, and some of them are more complicated.
There are different ways to base the reason for an Offer-In-Compromise, but typically those start as low as $2,500 & with $500 a month payments. For larger cases, of course, we're going to require more things.
In reality, I have to consider my time, my efforts, my expertise. But I consider your situation as well. Again I'll offer a free consultation to discuss these or other matters and if nothing else I'll figure out exactly what you owe, get get your transcripts, and give you a preliminary strategy.
So, I look forward to talking to you. Go to tonyramoslaw.com/relief or comment on this post, and we'll talk to you soon.
Marco Antonio “Tony” Ramos, founding partner of The Law Office of Tony Ramos, P.C., is licensed by the Texas Supreme Court to practice law. He is a native Texan, born in Laredo, Texas, and has been practicing law since 1976. Attorney Ramos is a man who highly values virtue, integrity, and justice and strives to provide a higher standard of legal care to all of our clients.