(This section for
my clients contains copies of newsletters, highlights of tax law changes,
and other items)
For Clients -
Click Here to
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What will it cost me to
have you prepare my returns (current or delinquent)?
While I suggest you read at least this main
page of my website so you understand my background, you can
click here to be taken
directly to a page where you can provide me with your current
year tax information that I can use in providing you with an
estimate of the cost for me to prepare and e-file your personal
or single-member LLC income tax returns. I do NOT do
business (employment tax, partnership or corporation)
returns, but have an associate I can refer you to for that
assistance. The professional software for business returns
is expensive, and unless a preparer plans to do a significant
number of those type of returns, it is not cost-effective to
There are onlyleft until
the 2013 filing deadline!
to my website. It is my objective to provide you with valuable information about my background, qualifications and
the types of tax settlement and other services that I offer. I have included some important
self-help links as well as
technical discussions on a variety of topics.
At the outset, absolutely anyone facing a tax controversy can attempt to resolve
their issues without professional help or guidance. In my 34+ years of IRS
experience, I can say without hesitation that the vast majority of taxpayers -
whether individuals, partnerships, corporations or other entity types - ended
up with a better resolution or settlement when they were represented by professionals.
The tax controversy resolution settlement process can be complicated. Without spending a
significant amount of time studying the Internal Revenue Code, Regulations,
case law, Rulings, Procedures. the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM - the
"Bible" IRS employees must follow) and tax strategies needed to
negotiate a favorable tax controversy resolution, it is far more likely that a less favorable "deal"
will result for himself or herself. Bottom line - the
additional tax, penalty and interest they will end up having to pay is
typically far more costly in
the long run than the actual cost of representation that would have obtained a
more favorable resolution.
our economy is in serious trouble, and you may have been adversely impacted
in a way that simply makes tax audit or collection representation costs unaffordable.
While I generally do not recommend any taxpayer take on the IRS or State tax agency on
I am very sensitive to clients with financial challenges and may be able to suggest ways for
them to get
help and guidance while keeping their out-of-pocket costs down. I have
had a number of
clients who were successful in getting their IRS and other state
controversies resolved by having me "hold their hand" through the process.
If you feel capable of working over the telephone or face-to-face with an
IRS Revenue Officer, IRS Revenue Agent, IRS Tax Compliance Officer (TCO),
IRS Appeals Officer or Settlement Officer, or any other employee
involved in your audit or collection controversy, then retaining me to hold your hand (which
means that I will be providing you with an
explanation of your options, strategic guidance, review of documents, and suggestions) could
make the difference between the success or failure of your efforts!
Once again - generally,
I do NOT recommend anyone who does not have a good knowledge of IRS tax law
and agency procedures attempt to resolve their own controversy
themselves! Using the services of a tax resolution specialist -
especially one with extensive IRS technical employment experience - is advisable.
rule, I do not recommend taxpayers use the services of their current
accountant or tax preparer to represent them in an IRS or state tax audit or
tax liability negotiations - unless they possess special skills and
extensive experience in tax controversy resolution. Most
accountants and preparers are very competent at return preparation, producing
financial statements, and general accounting matters. However, sitting
across the table from an IRS Revenue Agent, IRS Revenue Officer, IRS Appeals
Officer or Appeals Settlement Officer or a Tax Compliance Officer demands specialized
knowledge of IRS tax agency audit and collection procedures, policies and practices - generally
limited to those whose practice focuses on providing the service of tax controversy resolution.
The IRS and all State tax agencies will only permit representation by
individuals who are certified by a government agency as meeting the
necessary basic qualifications - specifically Enrolled Agents (EA),
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) or Attorneys. California has a
special category of preparers with a title of CTEC. They have very
limited representation authority and generally have had no or little
experience inside the IRS or a State tax agency.
factor to consider in deciding whether or not to retain your current
accountant or preparer to represent you is whether there may be a possible
conflict of interest. The IRS and most state tax agencies can impose
penalties against a preparer who negligently prepares a tax return.
Rather than incur penalties for their perceived error, the preparer (during
his representation) may try to
shift the agency's focus from himself to the client as the underlying cause of the
or issue - thereby imposing a penalty on the taxpayer/client rather than
I have had success in obtaining client relief from
potential penalties (such as the accuracy related penalty) where I
was able to shift the underlying cause for the deficiency to the preparer's
failure to properly account for an item or items on a tax return. I do not
know of any preparer who would tell a Revenue Agent, "That was
my fault - hit me with the penalty and not my client." I
expect such a scenario
would be rare. In my 35 years inside the IRS, I cannot recall a single
instance where I experienced or read about a preparer voluntarily accepting
a penalty to save his or her client from a penalty!
of preparer representation, some individuals and companies offer
"income tax audit protection" representation for a small fee as part of their
return preparation package. This kind of representation - to my way
of thinking - is much like an HMO arrangement. They have all of
your money already, and there is, therefore, little if any incentive to make a
sincere, effective effort to help you with an audit or collection matter - particularly in pursuing
relief through the administrative appeal process. I have filed
appeals and taken over client tax representation cases where the preparer
representative made a half-hearted effort to get relief for the client at
the initial audit or collection process, but failed miserably in their
efforts. In many situations, proper representation at the first level
(usually Compliance with the IRS) would have resulted in resolution
or settlement without the added cost of pursuing an administrative appeal.
occasionally get the question, "Who or what is an Enrolled Agent?"
Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their
right to practice directly from the United States Government.
Enrolled Agents prove their competence in matters of taxation and report
their hours of continuing professional education directly to the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS). It is the individual states that license certified public accountants
(CPA) and attorneys and, therefore, their licenses are state specific. Unlike
attorneys and certified public accountants, who may or may not choose to
focus on taxes, all Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. A
percentage of EA's also get involved providing resolution services in the area of tax
controversy resolution - assisting clients with audit and collection
matters. EAs are individuals who are certified by the US Treasury of
meeting its tough standards.
If you need my services in obtaining a resolution of an IRS tax audit or State tax
audit, IRS collection controversy concerning secured tax debts, and IRS audit appeal,
IRS collection appeal or other tax-related problem with any income or employment tax
agency, help is just an E-mail or phone call away! From my 30+ years of inside-the-IRS experience,
I can assure you that the earlier you seek and receive help for resolving your
IRS, California or other state tax
audit or tax controversy matter, the faster
you can resume a normal life.
analogy concerning a tax controversy is that an
IRS tax audit and collection problem, along with those of the
State of California tax agencies (FTB and EDD), and other State tax agencies, is much like tooth decay.
It will just get worse if ignored. For example, a cavity that could have been
fixed with a simple filling may end up requiring a root canal and a crown!
When the IRS decides to do a "root canal" on your finances, they do
not administer any anesthetic! It hurts! Further, recovery
can take a long time.
That is why I recommend that you make a decision
TODAY to seek the service of a tax resolution specialist certified by a
government agency as meeting minimum standards for representation before your IRS,
State tax issues
become so serious that they will require more effort (and cost) to resolve, or
they result in significant financial consequences such as wage and bank
levies, liens, or even seizure of your real or personal property.
An important note about tax
Tax liabilities are almost always
federal lien arises after demand and non-payment of tax,
including interest, additions to tax, and assessable penalties
(§ 6321 Internal Revenue Code). The lien is affixed at the time the assessment is made
and continues until it is satisfied or becomes unenforceable (§
6322). The lien is not perfected against certain creditors until
public notice is given (§ 6323), but timing of the secured interest still
arises at assessment.
Issues surrounding the priority of liens and competing claims
can be complicated, and advice and/or assistance from an
attorney may be needed.
The services I provide concerning the resolution of liabilities
relate solely to secured tax debts, and all references on
this website related to resolution of Federal or State
liabilities relate to secured tax liabilities.
If you have unsecured debts, such as credit cards or personal
loans, help is available from numerous
attorneys or specialized debt-resolution companies to address
those types of liabilities.
|The IRS Fresh Start
program can help you pay your taxes
Are you struggling to pay your federal
taxes? If so, the IRS Fresh Start program for individual
taxpayers and small businesses can help. The IRS began their Fresh
Start program in 2011 to help struggling taxpayers. In 2012, to
help a greater number of taxpayers, the IRS has expanded the
program by adopting more flexible Offer-in-Compromise terms.
This expansion enables some of the most financially
distressed taxpayers to clear up their tax problems
possibly more quickly and less costly than in the past.
What is an Offer in Compromise?
An Offer in
Compromise (known generally as an "OIC") is an
agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the
taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount
owed. Generally, the IRS never accepts an OIC if they
believe the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or
through a payment agreement. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s
income and assets to make a determination of the taxpayer’s
reasonable collection potential. OICs are subject to
acceptance on legal requirements. By the way - many
state agencies (including California's Franchise Tax Board,
Employment Development and Board of Equalization) offer OICs
as an option if the applicable criteria can be met.
Why did the IRS make this change?
The IRS recognized
that many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills
so they have put in place common-sense changes to the OIC
program that more closely reflect real-world situations.
This expansion focuses on the financial analysis used to
determine which taxpayers qualify for an OIC. These changes
also enable some to resolve their tax problems in as little
as two years compared to four or five years in the past.
the program changing?
circumstances, the changes include:
• Revising the
calculation for the taxpayer’s future income.
• Allowing taxpayers to repay their student loans.
• Allowing taxpayers to pay state and local delinquent
• Expanding the Allowable Living Expense allowance category
Other changes to
the program include narrowed parameters and clarification of
when a dissipated asset will be included in the calculation
of reasonable collection potential. In addition, equity in
income producing assets generally will not be included in
the calculation of reasonable collection potential for
collection potential now calculated?
When the IRS
calculates a taxpayer’s reasonable collection potential, it
will now look at only one year of future income for offers
paid in five or fewer months, down from four years; and two
years of future income for offers paid in six to 24 months,
down from five years. All offers must be fully paid within
24 months of the date the offer is accepted.
I apply or get more information?
the OIC program, including applicant qualifications, how to
apply and steps to complete the application process, Form
656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet and Form 656, Offer in
Compromise, is available on IRS.gov.
If you do not feel
comfortable tacking this process yourself, let me know and I
will be pleased to discuss representing you in the process,
or working as a consultant to guide you through the process.
NOTE ABOUT TAX RETURN PREPARERS
The IRS does NOT endorse
any particular individual tax return preparer. For more
information on tax preparers, visit the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov.
Do you use
Turbo Tax or Tax Cut for your tax return preparation? If
so, do you want a professional to look over what you have done
to minimize the chance of error that could lead to an audit?
I have used Turbo
Tax for helping family members for years (I use LaCerte for my
return preparation clients due to licensing restrictions of Turbo Tax - and, of
course, because LaCerte is a powerful professional product (very
expensive, by the way....) with great diagnostics).
for basic returns, including some SMALL service-type business,
Turbo Tax (and I assume Tax Cut - the H&R Block product) can do a decent job. Having said that, it is
very easy to answer a question wrong in the interview-format
that is used by the products - and end
up messing up a return fairly easy. I have had clients
whose Turbo Tax (and Tax Cut) returns were audited and the IRS
proposed extensive adjustments - including penalties and
interest - because of errors attributable to the
taxpayers lack of understanding of tax law. So, care must be exercised if you are going
to embark on doing your own returns. For example, Turbo
Tax asks in the area of RENTAL INCOME if the taxpayer qualifies
as a real estate professional. Answering YES eliminates
the test for the AGI limitation. A client erroneously
answered that question and ended up owing a lot of tax,
penalties and interest when the
IRS challenged and disallowed his claim of being a RE professional.
I offer a review service
for those folks who want to try and save some money by using a
self-help product like Turbo Tax - but want more piece of mind
by having a professional - in particular, someone with extensive
inside-the-IRS experience - look over the returns for any
potential issues. For most returns, the review fee
is $75. After payment is made, you save your returns as a
PDF file and e-mail them to me. I will look through the
provide an e-mail analysis of the returns from an IRS
perspective, together with suggestions as appropriate. You
then can make changes that I recommend, and I will review it one
more time without additional charge. If you get in over your head, of course I
can step in and prepare the returns for you assuming there is
adequate time remaining before the due date (for current year
2015, Various Tax
Benefits Will Increase Due to
IR-2014-104, Oct. 30,
WASHINGTON — For tax
year 2015, the Internal
announced today annual
for more than 40 tax
the tax rate schedules,
and other tax changes.
2014-61 provides details
about these annual
The tax items for tax
year 2015 of greatest
interest to most
taxpayers include the
following dollar amounts
The tax rate of
39.6 percent affects
singles whose income
filing a joint
return), up from
other marginal rates
– 10, 15, 25, 28, 33
and 35 percent – and
the related income
tax thresholds are
described in the
deduction rises to
$6,300 for singles
and married persons
returns and $12,600
for married couples
filing jointly, up
from $6,200 and
tax year 2014. The
for heads of
household rises to
$9,250, up from
deductions to be
claimed on tax year
2015 returns of
with incomes of
$258,250 or more
exemption for tax
year 2015 rises to
$4,000, up from the
2014 exemption of
$3,950. However, the
exemption is subject
to a phase-out that
begins with adjusted
gross incomes of
for married couples
filing jointly). It
for married couples
exemption amount for
tax year 2015 is
for married couples
filing jointly). The
amount was $52,800
($82,100 for married
The 2015 maximum
Earned Income Credit
amount is $6,242 for
jointly who have 3
or more qualifying
children, up from a
total of $6,143 for
tax year 2014. The
has a table
credit amounts for
decedents who die
during 2015 have a
$5,430,000, up from
a total of
estates of decedents
who died in 2014.
For 2015, the
exclusion from tax
on a gift to a
spouse who is not a
U.S. citizen is
$147,000, up from
$145,000 for 2014.
For 2015, the
rising to $100,800,
up from $99,200 for
exclusion for gifts
remains at $14,000
The annual dollar
limit on employee
rises to $2,550, up
$50 dollars from the
amount for 2014.
Under the small
business health care
tax credit, the
maximum credit is
phased out based on
number of full-time
in excess of 10 and
average annual wages
in excess of $25,800
for tax year 2015,
up from $25,400 for
Details on these
and others not listed in
this release can be
found in Revenue
which will be published
in Internal Revenue
Bulletin 2014-47 on Nov.
17, 2013. The
pension limitations for
were announced on Oct.
With over 30 years of
IRS employment experience, I have extensive knowledge and understanding of their
processes and procedures. This background will help
me negotiate a resolution to your IRS or State tax controversy or get you through an
IRS tax tax audit in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of
financial impact. Effectively resolving a tax controversy, including
the filing of and negotiating an IRS tax audit or IRS collection appeal on secured tax
liabilities, can be - and often
is - a
very complex process where specialized knowledge and experience is critical
Do your homework before selecting a firm to represent you!
strongly recommend that you check out any individual or firm BEFORE you
commit to having them represent you. Remember that it is YOUR LIFE - YOUR LIABILITY!
You can delegate AUTHORITY to have someone represent you. But, all tax
agencies will deem YOU as solely responsible for your tax
liability. Accordingly, you owe
it to yourself to do some checking before retaining a tax resolution
put some testimonials from my former clients
on the website for your review.
STRONGLY suggest you be leery of any firm that advertises or claims that
they are #1 in the industry or have the greatest level of success.
Often, many of these large firms
make such wild claims as part of a scheme to attract and sign up far more clients
than they can effectively handle. They also tend to have a high
turnover of employees, resulting in your case being shuffled from employee
employee. Many clients of these firms end up forfeiting their
retainers after they have become fed up with lack of an effective tax debt
resolution service or audit representation, and just
leave the firm to seek help elsewhere. Further, the lack of
responsiveness by these large firms creates frustration with the IRS Revenue
Agent or Revenue Officer, or
a State tax agent or officer, and that leads to further complications in the
I have personally taken over representation of a number of
clients of these large representation firms who became very frustrated with the
total lack of or poor
quality of service
from their representative or tax resolution specialist. In these
cases, a significant part of my focus is to do damage control - that
involves convincing the IRS employee that I am there to facilitate the
resolution of the tax controversy and will be focused on providing timely
and effective representation. Most IRS employees have expressed to me
that they prefer working with former IRS employees as they fully understand
the administrative process and what is necessary to get resolution of an
audit or collection matter.
mentioned previously, a good
reference source for checking out a representative is
It is a website where former clients of firms have taken their time to share their experiences
with the firms they selected to represent them in their tax controversy.
Also, a Google search for the company with the term "review" may bring up
additional information. You can also check the Better Business Bureau. I strongly suggest you research each company you are considering retaining
BEFORE you make your final decision. Making a bad choice could not only
cost you money, but could lead to more serious issues with the tax agencies
- especially when the company fails to be diligent and timely in their
communications with those agencies.
my opinion, you
should be skeptical of any unsupported claim that a particular firm or
individual is a "leader" in the industry, or makes promises that sound too
good to be true (such as, "We get our clients settlements that are
pennies on the dollar"). That scenario generally refers to an "offer-in-compromise"
- or "OIC" for short. It is a program wherein the IRS (and many
states) will accept an amount less than what is legally owed to settle an
account. I still hear and read about such wild claims in the media far
strict guidelines that must be met to even qualify for an offer in compromise (OIC).
In my experience, a very small percentage of the accepted offers are
resolved for a "few pennies on
the dollar;" however, most accepted offers do result in some "discount" on the amount owed.
Substantial concessions of tax, penalties and interest by the IRS and state
agencies generally require extenuating circumstances - such as serious
medical issues, advanced age, or long-term unemployment by unskilled
individuals. I was the approving official at the IRS for offer in
compromise - OIC - cases in
my jurisdiction for almost two decades, so I understand intimately what is
required to get an offer accepted.
filed approximately 600,000 tax liens in 2013 and issued just under 1,850,000 levies
on third parties (third party levies typically are bank levies or wage
That is reason enough for you to be proactive in getting help NOW with your
controversy before the situation gets worse!
Lastly, check out
the Better Business Bureau. Often they will have meaningful information
to assist you in making your choice of a representative. Here is the link to my
BBB A+ report:
The BBB offers a paid service to
companies to be accredited. It requires an annual fee that I
used to pay until 2014 when the fee skyrocketed. The purpose (as I
see it) for making this significant payment is solely to have the
company listing on their website changed to read "accredited."
It is a shame they become so greedy. I valued supporting BBB, but
not at their current excessive fee.
Another company rating service is
provided by Business Consumer Alliance. They spun off from the BBB
some years ago, and do a good job of evaluating companies. Their "accredation
fees" are not cheap either, and we do not pay for that service. I
think this is important - their rating is not a "bought rating."
It is based upon information they have gathered from various sources.
Here is their assessment of my firm:
I recommend checking out any
company you are considering through these two consumer services.
Important! If you have just received a
Notice from the IRS, FTB or any other State tax agency, please - do NOT
ignore it! Some of these notices have very specific time frames within which
you can appeal a proposed action. For instance, Letter 1058 issued by
the IRS warns a taxpayer that if they do not pay the amount due, or
file an appeal, within thirty (30) days of the notice date, the IRS
WILL enforce collection (that means levying (taking) bank accounts, wages, etc.).
Unfortunately, a number of my clients waited to contact me AFTER the 30
day period had expired and the IRS had seized their bank account or taken their
pay check! By waiting too long, these clients lost a very valuable
appeal opportunity! Usually, I can get the levy released, but the levy could have been avoided in the first place! Please - don't procrastinate and forfeit
your right to Appeal proposed IRS enforcement! Allow me to negotiate an acceptable repayment plan or offer
in compromise on your behalf. Help is just a phone call or E-mail away!
Expecting a tax
refund on your current year Federal return? Have
you NOT filed a past return? The IRS is
HOLDING REFUNDS for taxpayers with unfiled
returns! The IRS Notice you receive requires you to
file the delinquent returns BEFORE the refund check is
released (assuming you have no liability on these
delinquent returns). If you do NOT file the
delinquent returns, the IRS will prepare returns for you (called
a Substitute for Return - or, SFR for short).
There are NO deductions (other than the standard
computed by the IRS in an SFR return - meaning, you
likely will be
paying MORE tax than you really owe! It is
important to realize that
you WILL loose your right to a tax
a delinquent return more than 3 years after its original due
Have you recently changed your legal
name (typically as a result of a marriage or divorce)?
Remember to record that change with the Social Security
Administration BEFORE you file your next tax
return. The IRS does a match of the Social Security
Number and Name as reflected on your tax return with the
Social Security database. If there is no match, the
processing of the tax return will usually be delayed.
To make the change, use Form SS-5 that is available on the
Social Security website (www.ssa.gov).
technology, I am able to assist clients with professional tax audit representation,
tax collection representation, consultation and return preparation services throughout the United States as
well as abroad!
As an Enrolled Agent licensed by the United States Treasury Department, I am
authorized to practice in all 50 states, and to represent taxpayers regardless
of where they live. I have represented and assisted clients living in other parts of the world (either U.S. citizens living
abroad, or foreign nationals with U.S. property interest or income) such
as in Saudi Arabia, India and Great Britain.
that the help you need from a Tax Resolution Specialist offering services for the resolution of your
IRS or State tax controversy or tax audit, any form of IRS appeal, or
preparation of your current or delinquent income tax returns, is just an E-mail or phone call away!
Costs of representation are tax deductible (generally taken as an
itemized deduction on Schedule A, subject to the 2% AGI limitaton).
MILEAGE ALLOWANCE RATE UPDATE
standard mileage rates
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the
standard mileage rates for the business use of a car (also
vans, pickups or panel trucks) will increase by 1.5
cents over the 2014 rates, while medical/moving
expense rates will decrease .5 cents, and will be:
57.5 cents per mile for
business miles driven
23 cents per mile driven
for medical or moving purposes
14 cents per mile driven
in service of charitable organizations
California conforms to these amounts. (R&TC
2014 and prior standard mileage rates
Here are the 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2014 standard mileage rates:
06/30/2008: 50.5 cents
58.5 cents per mile
12/31/2009: $.55 cents per mile
- 1/1/2010 -
12/31/2010: $.50 cents per mile
- 1/1/2011 -
06/30/2011: $.51 cents per mile
- 7/1/2011 -
12/31/2011: $.555 cents per mile
- 1/1/2012 -
12/31/2012: $.55 cents per mile
- 1/1/2013 -
12/31/2013: $.565 cents per mile
- 1/1/2014 -
12/31/2014: $.56 cents per mile
12/31/2012: 23 cents per mile
06/30/2008: 19 cents per mile
27 cents per mile
12/31/2009: 24 cents per mile
- 1/1/2010 -
12/31/2010: 16.5 cents per mile
- 1/1/2011 -
06/30/2011: 19 cents per mile
- 7/1/2011 -
12/31/2011: 23.5 cents per mile
12/31/2013: 23.5 cents per mile
1/1/2014 - 12/31/2014: 23.5 cents per mile
USAGE OF VEHICLE
per mile (no change) driven in service of charitable
When you first buy a car and use it in your
business, you have the option of using the standard mileage allowance or
actual expenses. To use the standard allowance, you MUST use
it in the first year you began using the car for business.
You can switch to ACTUAL later. However, with fluctuating
fuel prices, the ACTUAL method may result in more tax savings.
The standard mileage rate
may not be used for a purchased auto if:
the standard mileage rate can't be used to compute the deductible
expenses of five or more autos owned or leased by a taxpayer and used
simultaneously (such as in fleet operations). (Rev Proc 2006-49, Sec.
taxpayer who uses the mileage allowance method for an auto he owns may
switch in a later year to deducting the business connected portion of
actual expenses, so long as he depreciates it from that point on using
straight line depreciation over the auto's remaining life. The
depreciation deductions would still be subject to the Code Sec. 280F
dollar caps. (Rev Proc 2006-49, Sec. 5.06(3))
taxpayer may use the mileage allowance method for a leased auto only if
he uses that method (or a FAVR allowance method) for the entire lease
period (including renewals). If the lease period began before '98, this
rule applies only for the post-'97 portion of the lease period
(including renewals). (Rev Proc 2006-49, Sec. 5.06(2))
Both methods require that
you maintain good records (e.g., a log) that support your claimed annual
TOTAL, BUSINESS, COMMUTING, and other PERSONAL miles. The sum of
your business, commuting and personal miles must equal your TOTAL miles.
Keep all repair, tire replacement and maintenance receipts to prove your
expenses. Those documents also establish your odometer reading at
the time of each service.
OF IRS RELATED SCAMS!!!!!
There are a lot of E-mails circulating that appear
to be from the IRS. I have personally received a number of these scam E-mails.
They tell you about alleged unclaimed refunds, stimulus payments or other items that
require you to submit your personal information - such as Social
Security Number, credit card information, etc. - to get the money or other benefit.
According to the IRS, the origin of these E-mails is usually a foreign
NEVER sends out unsolicited E-mails to taxpayers.
Period. All IRS communications are by mail, or by FAX (and - fax
communication will occur after you have
established contact with the IRS and provided them with your fax number
and authorization to use it).
Please be very cautious when you receive any
unsolicited E-mail asking for your personal or financial information
from the IRS - or for that matter, from any source! Most of these fraudulent
E-mails "steal" the logos and website designs of legitimate companies -
such as PayPal, banks, savings and loans, and other institutions -
including the IRS!
They appear legitimate, but they are NOT!
|Are fees paid to a tax preparer or
Generally, the answer is YES.
Amounts you pay to determine, contest, pay, or claim a refund of any
tax are deductible as a MISCELLANEOUS DEDUCTION, claimed on Schedule
A (Itemized Deductions), and are subject to the 2% Adjusted Gross
Income (AGI) limitation.
If you need help or
tax return preparation,
tax controversy resolution
(IRS tax audit help or tax problem help and representation, including an administrative appeal, IRS tax collection representation, or Franchise Tax Board (FTB) audit or
collection problem resolution),
IRS expert witness
then I encourage you to
read the extensive content on this website.
I retired in September
2000 as the Associate Chief of the Glendale, California IRS Appeals Office
following many years of having held managerial and technical positions in
the IRS Examination and IRS Collection functions. I have extensive
inside-the-IRS experience in three operations/divisions (Collection,
Examination and Appeals) that few other practitioners possess.
As evidence of my success and recognition in working for the IRS, I was
awarded the National Appeals Manager of the Year Award in 1997.
extensive knowledge of IRS policies, procedures and practices has proven
invaluable in helping me to resolve clients' tax
focus of my practice is representing clients in their IRS tax audit or IRS
collection dispute, as well as
in their IRS administrative appeal of a tax collection or tax audit
controversy, or with their other tax problem or issue. While the IRS is my
primary focus, I do represent clients in their State tax controversies
A recent change in my practice
- brought about by the current recession - is to
offer consultation services to guide a client who
opts to represent himself or herself in the resolution or settlement of their IRS or state tax
controversy problem, dispute or controversy. This latter service is primarily targeted to help those
taxpayers who are unable to afford full representation, but need IRS tax
audit help or other guidance in
negotiating the resolution of their tax controversy. If my clients
- while trying to represent themselves with my consultation assistance
find that they are in over their head, I can quickly step in and represent
them in the resolution of their controversy.
If you are involved in
litigation with the IRS, or litigation related to IRS practices and
procedures, and you are in need of an expert witness intimately familiar
with IRS collection, examination and appeals functions and procedures, then please
contact me. With 34 years of IRS service, and experience
in the IRS Collection, Examination and Appeals Divisions, I am
well qualified to testify concerning IRS procedures and practices -
and the possible malpractice by other professionals before the IRS.
Nothing on this website
is intended to be specific tax advice for you, the reader, and cannot be
relied upon for the purpose of avoiding any penalty that may be imposed
by the IRS or any tax agency. The material on this and all
other pages of this website is provided for informational and
educational purposes only. I
guarantee or warrantee in any manner the suitability, usefulness,
accuracy, timeliness, or results of any portions of this site, nor the
links contained in this site which link to other areas. At times,
information is taken from other sources and is believed to be accurate,
but no verification or confirmation is performed. Tax law is a very complex subject.
Any tax opinion upon which you may rely requires the careful and
thorough analysis by a tax professional of the specific facts of your situation and the
applicable statutes. If you need specific advice, then you should
request formal tax consultation as its purpose is to provide you with guidance for your
specific tax issue or question upon which you can rely.
Former IRS Collection,
Audit and Appeals Experience
To give you a better
understanding of my qualifications, I want to spend some time
discussing my thirty-plus years in technical and managerial positions with the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
During my extensive and successful IRS
career, I gained valuable experience in the following positions within the IRS
Collection, Examination and Appeals Divisions:
Revenue Officer (IRS
Acting Collection Office Group and Field
Revenue Agent (IRS
on-the-job training Instructor for Revenue Agents
Employment Tax Specialist
Large Case Team Revenue
IRS District Conferee (in the former
IRS District Conference Staff that merged with Appeals)
Field Examination Group
Manager (in the former West Los Angeles and Hollywood IRS Offices)
Associate Chief of the
Los Angeles and Glendale Appeals Offices (IRS Appeals)
Director of Appeals for the Western Region
The many technical and
managerial positions I held within the IRS provide me with in-depth
knowledge of tax law as well as the policies and practices of the IRS Audit, IRS
Collection and IRS Appeals Divisions. In representing you in the
professional resolution of your tax controversy - whether an IRS, FTB or other
audit or collection matter, my experience of having been on the "other side of
the table" enables me to guide you through the maze of the IRS and other
examination and appeals processes. My objective, as a Tax Resolution
Professional and your representative, is to use my extensive tax law knowledge
and decades of IRS experience to negotiate a favorable resolution of your IRS,
California or other State audit
or collection tax controversy case.
To represent you before the IRS or
the State of California taxing authorities (FTB and EDD, or an appeal of an
income tax issue before the BOE), your tax
resolution professional must be an Enrolled Agent (EA), Attorney or CPA.
CPAs and Attorneys are licensed by individual States (and while they usually practice within those states,
they are authorized to represent taxpayers in any state). Enrolled Agents are licensed by
the United States Government (United States Treasury)
and represent taxpayers in any of the 50 states as well as internationally. Further, Enrolled Agents are tax law
specialists. Only a percentage of attorneys and CPAs specialize in
assisting clients with resolution of a tax controversy in an IRS, FTB or other
state income tax,
employment tax or other
type of tax audit or tax collection situation.
Why select me for the
resolution of your tax controversy?
You already may have visited
websites in search of the right person to represent you or to prepare your
returns. There are literally thousands of practitioners offering tax
resolution, tax settlement and tax return preparation services. Many of these practitioners are very
competent and worthy of your trust and business. Others have no business
taking your money when they lack the skills, knowledge, ethics and/or commitment to do the
absolute best job in representing you.
In fact, one national firm had been the subject of a
major investigation. You can watch the ABC special video report here:
One of the former employees of this firm alleged
that the company had hired numerous sales people to "sell" their
services, yet failed to hire sufficient technical staff to handle their
existing client base.
This type of situation WILL make matters
worse for their clients as the tax agencies expect and demand timely responses. I
have taken over clients from several large firms in our area where the
client alleged that they were "ignored" by the firm's employees. As a
direct result, the IRS and other tax agencies became frustrated and more
aggressive - stepping up enforcement efforts.
Take your time and
exercise care in selecting the right representative. There are many
good, competent individuals and firms fully capable and ethical.
Unfortunately, there are many others who will simply take your money and
fail to perform. Do your homework on the Internet by researching sites
like Ripoff Report,
Better Business Bureau and
others with the search words such as "tax resolution." If you
have a particular firm in mind, type in the name of the firm and the state.
Be leery of companies with a lot of complaints - even if they appear
addressed by the company.
While I was still working at the
IRS, my staff and I encountered all types of representatives.
If a practitioner was really incompetent, we would contact our Washington, D.C.
Office of Professional Responsibility (formerly called the Director of Practice) to recommend
disciplinary action - including, where warranted, that the individual be barred from representing clients before
the IRS. An incompetent representative not only fails to assist their
client with a tax controversy resolution, but often makes matters worse for
Determining who you should trust
with your financial affairs is a major decision that you should not take
lightly. I can suggest five reasons
why I believe I merit your trust and confidence to help you with your IRS or
other tax agency audit, appeal, tax controversy
or return preparation needs.
1. EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE
I have the in-depth tax law and procedural knowledge and inside the IRS experience
to effectively represent you. I understand how the Internal Revenue
Service works internally
and that allows me to predict how they will most likely approach your particular
tax controversy, and even more importantly - how best to get you the least
costly resolution or settlement of your tax controversy problem case. I know the
responsibilities and settlement authority of all categories of IRS employees.
I do not waste my time (or my client's money) discussing matters with employees
who lack the authority to resolve a particular controversy.
State tax agencies operate similar to the IRS, so my extensive IRS background
assists me in working with employees from those other agencies such as the
California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).
2. PERSONALIZED SERVICE DUE TO LIMITED
I limit the number of clients that I represent. This
ensures that you will always have quick access to me. Think
of this scenario. You open your Saturday mail and find a threatening
notice from the IRS. Understandably, you are very concerned and
want to talk now - not later - with your representative about this notice. With the majority
of representation firms, most likely you will be unable to talk to anyone until the
following Monday (and that assumes that the individual will return your call
at that time...).
As my client, you will have my
home number and cell number so you can call me any time you need to discuss
something urgent about your case. I am accessing my e-mails days and
evenings - seven days a week. For example, if you receive an unexpected
threatening IRS Notice
in Saturday's mail, we really should discuss it that Saturday - not the following
week. I will then tell you what it means and how I plan to deal with
it so you do not spend the weekend stressed out and unable to sleep or
concentrate at work.
As my existing and former clients will confirm, I am
available 7 days a week - from early morning until late at night. I tell my
clients that I do not want them stressed out over a weekend or holiday because of
concern about something like a IRS tax notice they need to discuss with me.
I ask them to E-mail or call me so I can give them an explanation of the Notice
and to assure them that I will take whatever action is required on Monday
Comments I have heard from former
and current clients (who left other representatives to have me represent them) convince me that immediate availability and responsiveness
are seldom attributes associated with large production-mill firms. Almost
all of these
firms advertise extensively on the Internet and occasionally on television.
They are lightning-quick to get your hefty retainer, but then - good luck on
getting them to actually help you with your tax controversy.
Here is something for you to
consider. If a tax resolution company requests a very
large payment up front (many thousands of dollars, for example), that may be a big warning sign to you -
they offer to represent you for a flat fee. Consider this. Once they have
all your money,
there is NO financial incentive to provide services to you (does this sound like
HMOs?). Most reputable firms I know in our line of business will ask for a reasonable retainer
up front, and then bill you for whatever services are provided in the tax resolution
of your case.
If you are paying for representation, you,
the client, have every right to expect timely response to your
inquiries and actions on your case. That often does not happen in
a large regional or national firms where each employee is burdened with an
unreasonable number of client cases. Former clients of those firms
who left (often forfeiting large retainers) and retained me have shared
their frustration with being unable to reach their appointed representative
after leaving many voice messages or E-mails. As a last resort,
they go up the chain of command to their representative's superior hoping
for (but seldom receiving...) a resolution of their problem.
If you have been calling one of
these firms to discuss representation and not receiving a timely call-back,
that should be an immediate and serious warning to you. Once they have your retainer, their
practice may be to ignore you and focus their efforts in finding and signing up even more
clients - in spite of the fact they have a fraction of the resources required to
timely service all the clients who have retained them!
If you are currently involved with one
of these large firms, have paid a large non-refundable retainer, and are
receiving inadequate service, you may wish to retain me as a consultant to
assist you in getting your firm to do the right thing on your IRS tax audit, appeal or
other IRS, FTB or other state controversy or problem. You do need to exercise caution when deciding to simply walk away
from an existing representation engagement. Many professionals have early
termination clauses or forfeiture of retainer provisions in their Engagement
Letters. Rather than lose your retainer, use my knowledge and
experience to make them do what is right!!!
my opinion, I represent a serious threat to any firm that is negligent in their fiduciary
responsibilities to their client. I have given defense testimony in
the California Superior Court in a multi-million dollar lawsuit as
an expert witness in an alleged civil
malpractice case involving a CPA. Use my experience and knowledge to your advantage if you
have already paid a significant sum to a representative and you feel that they are not meeting
their fiduciary responsibilities to you!
Whether you retain me, or some other
professional, my recommendation is to stay clear of the large production-mill firms.
Many have testimonials on their websites quoting a few clients for whom things
went right. Do not stop there! I recommend you do some Google
research on the firm. You likely will find
extensive adverse feedback from their other clients. The Better Business
Bureau is a good source for information on these firms as well. For
instance, here is a link to one of their reports on a large firm
that does an extensive amount of advertising, but (per the BBB), allegedly fails to
deliver on their promise.
One other point - if you retain my services, you
and the tax agency will
be working solely and directly with me - not an associate,
paralegal or clerical type. In the large firms, you most likely will be
working with an employee who may or may not possess the qualifications and
experience to effectively represent you. And further, as I have heard
about one of the large firms in my geographical area, there is an extensive
turnover of their staff.
There are a number of membership
organizations that tax resolution specialists (EA's, CPA's and Attorneys) can join. For
example, in addition to the basic
United States Treasury licensing requirements, membership in the California Society
of Enrolled Agents (CSEA) (or similar organizations of other States), and
the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) means that the EA has met continuing educational requirements
beyond what the US Treasury
Any taxpayer seeking help should value a
professional who continually strives to keep
their skills sharp and current so as to provide them with the best possible
representation. In keeping with this objective, I am a long standing member of NAEA (National
Association of Enrolled Agents), CSEA (California Society of Enrolled
as well as a former member of NATP (National Association of Tax Professionals).
What I believe is important for
your consideration is:
that your representative is properly licensed,
(2) is an active member of recognized
(3) has the technical skills and
experience to maximize the probability of a cost-effective tax controversy resolution, and
(4) has no or very few complaints
made to the Better Business Bureau or other rating sites.
Everything else being equal, I
suggest that a representative who has had extensive and successful experience within
the Internal Revenue Service should have a better understanding the inner-workings of that
agency including its directives, policies and procedures, and thereby would have a higher
probability of negotiating a more expeditious and favorable resolution
of a tax controversy. Again, this is strictly my opinion - and a
factor you need to weigh in making a decision for representation.
I do need to state for the
record that past employment with
the IRS (or a State tax agency) is NOT a guarantee that the
individual is best suited for your particular tax dispute. In
fact, I have encountered a few former IRS employees - both while I
was still working for the IRS as well as post-retirement - who I believe have no business
representing taxpayers. By the same token, I have experience in meeting
and working with some representatives who are very skilled and
competent in IRS and State collection and audit representation who have had minimal or no
experience as an IRS, FTB or
other state tax agency employee.
Finally, my clients appreciate the fact
that I am available most nights and weekends for priority matters.
As stated previously, my clients have my personal cell and home phone
numbers so they can always reach me to assist them with any sort of
emergency situation (such as a Notice of Levy or Federal Tax Lien that arrives on
This level of access gives my clients piece of mind knowing that I am just a
quick phone call or E-mail away. You will have to decide if having
immediate access to your professional representative is important in
pursuing the prompt and effective resolution of your IRS or other agency tax
my service fees are among the lowest in the industry. Why? I can
give you several reasons:
I keep my
costs down by minimizing advertising costs and expensive office space.
My clients come by way of this website (that ranks high on Google and other
search engines) and by referrals (often from other practitioners who have a
client that needs my level of experience).
I utilize very high-speed
computers, super-fast Internet access, LaCerte tax software,
and a comprehensive RIA on-line tax research service that reduce my time
in providing tax services for tax resolution (representation), return preparation and tax research. I also
subscribe to DataQuick and Lienguard - research services IRS and often
State employees use to review a
taxpayer's public records. I am authorized to directly access the IRS
database (through eServices). Quick access to IRS information about your
account is important. On this last point, wouldn't you agree that it is critical
that your representative know what the IRS knows about you
when negotiating the resolution of your tax case?
recommend that you ask other representatives you are considering for
"What research services do you subscribe to in your practice?"
If they do not subscribe to a high-end service (like RIA or CCH - two
of the best in my experience), then I would recommend you continue
looking. While purchasing this level of sophisticated research
access is expensive, the bottom line is that these great products enable me to
resolve cases more quickly (saving me time - and you fees). This reduces
my overall costs to provide representation. I have selected RIA
for my practice because of their extensive and current content, high
level of support and competitive pricing.
Lastly, I have a retirement pension
from the IRS, so I can afford to keep my fees down since representing clients is
not the sole source of my livelihood.
4. Client Participation Encouraged in the
Process to Reduce Representation Costs
I encourage my clients to do as much of the preparation work (following my
guidance) as possible.
Why pay me (or any other professional) to create adding machine tapes of
receipts, or to fill in basic information on forms? You should NOT
have to pay a professional to do these simple tasks! What you need tax resolution
assistance for are the following:
Many of my clients have significant liabilities with the IRS
or other tax agencies - and often hefty debts with other creditors. The absolute last
thing they need are expensive representation fees to add to their financial
burden. Therefore, I strive to find ways to help clients conserve their
precious resources by encouraging them to do as much "leg-work" on their own
case as possible. That minimizes the fees they have to pay for my
professional services in tax representation / tax controversy resolution.
One way I accomplish this for my tax
controversy clients is to provide them with both the required and current PDF fill-in
forms, along with guidance for their completion. Once my client completes
and E-mails me the forms, I carefully review them for errors, inconsistent or unclear entries,
and then work with my client to make whatever changes are necessary, or
additional attachments that I deem
are necessary to ensure favorable acceptance by the tax agency.
I want to stress that all of my clients work EXCLUSIVE WITH ME - not with an assistant
or clerk. That is not a standard practice in the industry with large
firms. The CEO, CFO or other head person for a firm may be well
qualified; however, is it unlikely (in my experience) that they ever will be
personally involved in your case - unless something goes terribly wrong
and you end up complaining. So, I suggest that is a factor that
you need to carefully consider.
My clients appreciate the
opportunity to minimize their total cost for my services to just those specific
areas (such as face-to-face or over the phone negotiation with the IRS or State
agency) where they really need my skills for resolving their tax controversy.
5. Focused on Continuing Education
with Powerful Research Resources
it is important that your representative keep current on new tax developments -
legislation, litigation and tax agency procedural changes. As mentioned
previously, I subscribe to
CCH - a
well-known and highly respected tax service. In fact, this resource
service is used by IRS agents, Appeals Officers, managers and other IRS employees in
their search for the right answer to technical and procedural issues. I
used CCH for most of my IRS career.
As part of the CCH service,
I receive daily updates (tax law changes, court decisions, tax agency
procedural changes, etc) in the areas of my practice so that I can continue
to provide the best possible service to my clients. I also subscribe
to DataQuick and the Lexis-Nexis Lienguard - two online services that
provide invaluable information to help in the resolution of tax disputes. Without
no representative (in my opinion) can effectively represent you before
the IRS - or any other tax agency.
In addition to this research
service, I attend the annual CSEA Super Seminars in Las Vegas.
This is an outstanding opportunity for me and many other EA's, CPA's and
attorneys to keep
abreast of the latest trends, laws and procedural updates through presentations
from highly respected tax attorneys and other professionals from around the U. S.
I also am an active member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents
the California Society of Enrolled Agents. These organizations provide valuable materials,
updates and resources that assist their members in providing their clients
with effective representation and guidance.
I hope these five reasons merit
your confidence in my ability to effectively represent you in your tax
controversy, or to provide you with tax preparation or consultation services.
I take my representation responsibilities to my clients very seriously.
Much of my practice is based upon referrals. Working closely and
effectively with clients in getting them the best possible resolution or
settlement to their
tax controversy is the most effective means to grow a business based upon
Tax Practice Areas
The four broad categories
of services that I offer are:
Tax Return Preparation
There are many self-help
income tax return preparation products on the market today for preparing your
1040, 540 and other tax returns. Some of these products are actually quite
good - particularly if you have some basic understanding of income tax law.
One of the better-known products uses the interview technique to guide its user
through the process of preparing their own income tax returns for the IRS and
While the interview concept
is generally effective, the potential for error still exists because of the
technical complexity of the subject matter of some interview questions. A
wrong response could result in an erroneous reporting of one or more
transactions - and that could lead to an audit which, in turn, will likely
result in additional tax, penalties, and interest - as well as representation
fees for resolution of the income tax controversy.
To illustrate a complexity
of the law, here is a simple - but not uncommon - situation. If you
receive a piece of property from a relative - by gift or bequest - do you know
what your basis (cost value) will be when you sell it? Your basis will be
different depending upon whether you received it as a GIFT or by way of an
INHERITANCE. If by mistake you use the wrong basis, you will either pay
too much income tax (which the IRS or FTB likely will keep unless you find out
about the error and file an amended return within the statute of limitations
period), or pay too little tax and end up owing the IRS/FTB a bundle (including
interest and maybe penalties) when they catch up with you for an audit.
The tax resolution
specialist fees associated with defending you in the resolution of a tax
controversy before the IRS or FTB because of errors in your income tax return
most likely will end up costing you many times the savings you believe you will
achieve by preparing your own tax return.
You also need to aware
that selecting a low-cost service that cranks out income tax returns like a
puppy mill may result in adverse financial consequences for you if your tax
return is inaccurate. Some of these types of firms get targeted by the IRS (if
the firm makes an unacceptably high number of errors on clients' returns that is
discovered during return processing or audits), and then ALL of their clients
get audited! My advice to you is to stay clear of firms owned or
managed by an individual who is NOT an E. A., CPA or Attorney.
It is also important to
inquire about the qualifications of the person actually doing your return. Please
consider the potential for error if they have a very limited, shallow exposure
in tax law. Several large chains hire seasonal people and give them
a "crash course" in tax law just before the filing season. While the
manager or owner of the company may review and even sign the return, that person
was not present when your interview took place, and would be unable to know if a
response you made really needed to be analyzed more closely to identify items
that should be on your return or should receive special treatment!
Below are some warning
signs that if they appear during your conversation or meeting with a tax
preparer, you need to grab your documents and run! Be very cautious if the
promises you a refund
before inspecting your records
suggests that the IRS
allows "standard amounts" for certain types of deductions
does not ask you to complete a tax
organizer wherein you record information about your family, income and expenses
for the tax year
does not ask to see copies of all
W-2s, 1099s, broker statements and other information documents you should have
received from the tax agencies or third parties
does not ask to review escrow
settlement documents on purchases and sales of real property
does not ask for a copy of your
prior year return to review as part of the preparation process
does not give you a copy (PDF or
paper) of your return to review BEFORE asking you to sign it or authorize its
There is no such thing as "standard amounts" the IRS or FTB allows you
(other than the Standard Deduction if you do not itemize).
Please understand that intentionally overstating your deductions (or not
reporting all of your income) for the purpose of reducing your income tax
liability (to either generate a larger refund or reduce the amount you owe) can
I always recommend
minimizing the probability
of an IRS audit (or FTB or other state agency audit), with the possible assessment of additional tax,
penalties and interest by having your income tax returns prepared by a tax
professional who is an Enrolled Agent, or by a CPA or Tax Attorney
who specializes in tax law. Each of these three
classes of professionals, particularly if the specific individual you chose to
prepare your income tax return is also a Tax Resolution Specialist with
extensive experience in representing clients, can best
prepare your return. Further, if your tax return is selected for a tax
audit, any one of these three categories of individuals is legally qualified to
represent you for an audit in the resolution of your tax controversy and, if
necessary, through the administrative appeals process. Whether or not you
actually will use the preparer is something to consider as I discussed
previously. Not all preparers actively represent taxpayers in audits or
As both an Enrolled Agent
and a Tax Resolution Specialist, I am available to prepare your Federal,
California and other State personal income tax returns based upon the information you provide.
For those of you who have limited (or no) Internet access and also have mobility
problems, I am available to travel to your office or home if you are within a
distance of Burbank, CA.
With the growing number of
individuals using the Internet, the vast majority of
my clients are pleased to have me prepare their returns using E-mail (with
attachments) and the Web. My furthest tax return preparation clients are
United Kingdom citizens (who own rental property in Florida). I have
been able to assist them for many years in meeting their 1040NR filing requirements via the
Internet even though we are thousands of miles apart!
To illustrate how I use the Internet, after receiving the Engagement Letter and
deposit, I E-mail my client a password-protected Tax
Organizer. My client completes the Organizer and E-mails it back to me. The required documents (W-2's,
1099's, 1098's, prior year federal/state returns, etc.) are either scanned and
E-mailed, or faxed/mailed to me. I review their organizer, any questions
they have given me, their information documents,
and then follow-up with any questions I have following my review that require clarification.
Once this process is completed, I draft the returns and E-mail PDF (Adobe
Acrobat) drafts to my client for review. Once my client approves the draft
and sends me the balance due (by check, credit card or by PayPal), I finalize
the returns, get their signature on the e-file authorization forms and the
Statement of Accuracy (attesting to their careful review of their returns),
and e-file them. If my clients prefer, and execute the required form, I
will mail them their original returns for manual filing.
My clients have told me how great it is to be able to use the Internet for
this entire process. It saved them from having to take time off from work, travel time
to and from my office, and travel
costs (the latter is very significant with today's high gas prices)!
Many of my clients utilize Pay Pal (many
people already use Pay Pal for eBay and other online activities) for payment of
retainers, preparation, consultation and tax controversy representation fees.
I also accept four major credit cards for retainers and all services, giving clients the ability to
spread out their cost for representation or preparation over a number of
months, if necessary.
Resolution (representation before the IRS or State Agencies)
If you need IRS tax audit help
or IRS collection help - or tax audit or collection help with any state tax
agency, this is the primary focus of my tax practice. Trying to
resolve an IRS audit or collection matter without professional assistance
will be a challenge.
|This is important!
If you receive any kind of a tax notice from the IRS, FTB, EDD or BOE, you MUST
acknowledge it and respond promptly. Most notices contain deadlines for
responding or taking certain actions. You do NOT want to miss those deadlines as
it could adversely impact your appeal rights and result in a more costly
resolution of your IRS tax controversy or state tax problem.
Having said that, I strongly
recommend that you consult a tax resolution specialist or other tax professional
before responding, and certainly before sending information or additional money
to the IRS. It is not uncommon for errors to occur in the amount that IRS,
FTB or other tax agency claims you owe. Please keep in mind that as an
Enrolled Agent, I can represent you at an IRS, FTB, EDD or other state audit, collection or
appeals without you having to take time off work to attend meetings or conferences.
Just as important as it is
to have your income tax returns prepared by someone who understands the tax law,
it is just as important to be represented in the resolution or settlement of an IRS or state tax
controversy, whether it is an IRS tax audit, or audit by the FTB or State tax agency, by a tax
resolution specialist who, as your advocate, is skilled in understanding and
presenting the facts and law as they apply to your case. As
mentioned before, I am authorized to represent you and negotiate a resolution of
your tax controversy case before the Collection, Examination (Audit) and Appeals
organizations of the IRS, as well as all of the State of California and another
My goal will be to obtain
resolution of your tax controversy on the most favorable basis possible.
The primary focus of my practice as an Enrolled Agent and Tax Resolution
Specialist is working and negotiating with the IRS Audit, IRS Collection and IRS
Appeals organizations. I fully understand their processes, the Internal
Revenue Manual, as well as the evaluative performance criteria for IRS
personnel. All of this information is very important to effective
resolution of your tax controversy by negotiating on your behalf
during an audit, the appeal of an audit, an Offer in
Compromise or any other IRS action.
I always recommend that
taxpayers get IRS tax audit help rather than
try to represent themselves. The money you think you are saving by not
hiring a professional to represent you may well be far less than the amount
of tax, penalties and interest you will owe if mistakes are made in the
The FTB and other State tax
similarly to the IRS, although there are differences in a number of areas (such
as with the Franchise Tax Board in pursuing an administrative appeal of a field decision). Given my
extensive IRS background, I am easily able to transfer that knowledge and
experience in helping a client with a State tax issue.
My Background in Appeals
Almost all of my clients are unfamiliar with the internal operation of the IRS, and do not
understand just what my duties and responsibilities were in my IRS Appeals
Associate Chief position - and how this knowledge and experience can assist me
with the resolution of their tax controversy. Allow me to give you
some background information. During my tenure as an
Associate Chief of the Los Angeles and Glendale Appeals Offices of the IRS, I was the deciding
official responsible for accepting or rejecting proposed settlements of
Collection actions, Examination Division tax return audits and Service Center generated
issues (correspondence tax audits and assessed penalties) that were negotiated by my staff of Appeals Officers.
The IRS Collection cases
involved common issues such as collection appeals of liens and levies (CAP)
cases, offers in compromise (OIC), collection due process (CDP) cases, trust
fund recovery penalties (TFRP), assessed penalties and payment agreements.
Examination cases covered just about every aspect of the Internal Revenue Code,
ranging from issues typically found in individual audits (such as unreported
income, itemized deductions, activities not engaged in for profit, employee
business expenses, etc.) to the heavy corporate issues (excessive compensation,
accumulated earnings, reorganizations, abandonment losses, etc.).
As the Associate Chief, I
had to evaluate the evidence as developed by the IRS Revenue Officer, Revenue
Agent or Office Auditor (now called a Tax Compliance Officer) in support of their position, as well as additional evidence submitted
during the Appeals consideration by the taxpayer and/or his representative to
rebut the IRS's proposed adjustments. Upon conclusion of the negotiations
in Appeals by the employee,
I reviewed the settlement proposal (or recommendation for litigation) prepared
by the Appeals or Settlement Officer.
As part of this review
process, I may have had to consider the credibility of all parties who were likely to
testify at trial if the case proceeded to litigation. Following my
review, I made the final decision regarding the disposition of the case by the
Appeals Division. This typically resulted in my:
Acceptance of a proposed settlement,
Rejection of the taxpayer's
settlement offer and forwarding the case for issuance of a Notice of Deficiency,
or if a docketed case, to Area Counsel for trial preparation,
Return of the case to the Area
Office for further development
(e.g., review of new evidence or applicability of case law not considered by the
Revenue Agent or Tax Compliance Officer).
Please consider the
potential financial impact of trying to handle your own tax controversy case, or
selecting an advocate who lacks the experience and qualifications to adequately
represent you in a collection action or tax audit. Tax laws are very
complex, and understanding both the tax laws as well as the tax agency's
administrative procedures are of crucial importance in negotiating a resolution
of your tax controversy.
Tax controversy resolution
is my specialty area of practice, so please do not hesitate to contact me for
further information and assistance.
Has the IRS or one of the
State taxing agencies sent you a Notice of Adjustment, Notice of Examination,
Notice of Deficiency, Notice of Intent to Levy or any other type of communication? Do you
taxes? Have you not filed returns for many years? Do you want
to know what options you have, and get a recommendation about how to proceed
from a tax resolution specialist who is very knowledgeable about and experienced
in working with IRS and State processes and procedures? Are you unable to
afford full-representation costs, but are in a position where you must negotiate
with the IRS, but you really need a professional to guide you through the
I am available for either
telephone or in-person consultation. Your initial E-mail
consultation for providing general
regarding an IRS or State Notice or Examination Report, or for your
potential qualification for an Offer in Compromise, is free. For example, you just received a notice from the IRS (let's
say a CP504 notice). What does that notice mean? What notice or
action will likely follow? The free consultation is to give you general information
that is not specific to
your tax returns or financial condition.
For specific advice
on your personal tax controversy, I do charge for my services. A specific tax
question might be along this line:
I have a business that the IRS says is an activity not engaged in for profit.
How do I persuade them otherwise? To answer that question, you will need
to provide me with specific information about your business, such as its history
of profits or losses, your past experience with the product or services you
your success in other ventures, the formality of your record keeping system, and
telephone, E-mail or in-person specific consultation, you may purchase one hour of consultation
time - typically sufficient time for providing you with specific
advice on how best to proceed in resolving your issue and respond to
questions along the way. In advance of
our consultation, I will have you E-mail or fax me specific documents I will
review so as to have an accurate assessment of your tax controversy or
or E-mail consultation fee is payable in advance either by check, money
order, credit card or
through PayPal. If you subsequently retain me to represent you for the
resolution of the issue, then any unused consultation time (up to one hour) will
be applied toward your retainer. Further, if you retain me to
represent you and our engagement is fully in place within 7 calendar days of your
consultation date, then your one hour consultation fee is applied to your
representation retainer - thereby making your one hour consultation free!
available (for example, you have a lot of documents that I need to
review). For all office consultations, I charge my normal fee, and
payment for the minimum one hour's time is required before the consultation
If after our consultation you decide to retain me for representing you, then
I will apply any unused portion of your consultation fee (up to one hour) toward your
Please check out my
Consultation page for more details.
I have given testimony in the
California Superior Court as an expert witness and provided declarations in
litigation cases. If you find yourself in need of an expert
witness who has in-depth inside-the-IRS knowledge, please contact me so that
we may discuss your needs.
Do you want to know more
about the rules for deducting a home computer used by an employee who uses one in their job?
Are you interested in finding out if you would qualify for an Offer in
Compromise? Do you believe that you may be an "innocent spouse" and
therefore, not liable for a portion of a joint deficiency with your ex-spouse?
What are the rules for paying the "nanny tax?" Do you have some other tax
question for which you need further information?
There is a large section of
this web site devoted to addressing these and many other recurring tax issues of
interest to most individual taxpayers. In addition to the above
items, topics addressed include Collection Due Process procedures, installment
agreements, contributions of property (you most likely have heard all of the
radio ads advertising large deductions for donating your car that needs repair
and cannot be sold ... be careful on this one!!.) - and the list goes on.
If you are interested in
reviewing the index of topics, click here or click
the Technical Topics button on the index bar. There is also a link
to the index of technical topics on the
Representation web page.
I welcome your Email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone call
with your questions or comments. There are also
links at the top and bottom of this home page to another page where you can
submit a general tax question.
I encourage you
not to attempt negotiating on your own with the IRS or State Tax
Authorities in your tax controversy unless you have a solid knowledge of tax law
and understanding of the processes and procedures of IRS, FTB or other State Tax Administration.
Believing that you can save money in a IRS tax audit or collection action or
a similar action by the FTB or other state agency) by not
engaging the services of a qualified tax resolution specialist could end up
costing you significantly more in the end than the representation fees you save.
However, I recognize that in this
economy, there are many taxpayers in serious trouble with a tax agency,
but financially are unable to afford full representation. If you are
one of those, and you feel that with guidance you are up to dealing with the
IRS, FTB or any other tax agency on your own and just need someone
intimately familiar with the law and procedures to guide you, review
documents, etc, then we should certainly talk. I have
several clients who are going this route as a means to
resolve their tax controversy while trying to keep their costs to a minimum.
If you opt to go down this path and at some point the path gets rough and you need
me to jump in and get the resolution process back on track, I will be on
standby and available to take over if necessary.
I have had some inquiries
about what the term certified tax resolution specialist or the acronym CTRS means.
What does the term "certify" mean? In one dictionary, the definition
is given as"Officially
recognize (someone or something) as possessing certain qualifications or
meeting certain standards."
In my opinion, the CTRS
designation is offered by a
private organization (non-governmental) to its dues-paying members who meet
their minimum educational and other criteria and pass a non-proctored exam.
However, the "real" certification that is most important is the one required
of practitioners by the IRS and State tax agencies - that of being an
Enrolled Agent, CPA or Attorney - all of which require the passing of a
tough exam (or in the case of an EA in lieu of the exam- having extensive
and successful IRS technical experience), and meeting continuing
absolutely essential that individuals who offer their service to assist
clients with the tax resolution problems have the requisite education and
experience to be successful. The United States Treasury has
established minimum continuing education requirements for licensing
Enrolled Agents (as have the CPA and attorney state licensing boards).
NAEA and CSEA - two major membership organizations - have even greater
educational requirements for its dues-paying members. EAs and other members of these
organizations (typically CPAs and Attorneys) have the requisite educational skills to represent clients in
providing a service to assist in the tax resolution or tax settlement
process. While obtaining the CTRS designation by paying membership
dues and passing the test administered by that organization will not hurt,
it is my opinion that it does not in and of itself guarantee that the individual can effectively
provide the resolution or settlement service that is necessary to ensure a
successful outcome. Last
time I checked, only one year of experience was required for being permitted
to use the CTRS
designation. Continued education is vitally important, and is mandated
by the IRS as well as most all of the membership organizations - including
ASTPS who administers their certified tax resolution specialist program and
offers its members use of the CTRS designation.
It is my opinion that
what is far more important than the CTRS designation is the experience and
success the representative has had in real-world negotiations with the IRS
and state tax agencies. I offer for your consideration that a properly
licensed representative who has had significant inside-the-IRS experience
would be worthy of serious consideration to handle your tax resolution
Do you believe you do
not have to file returns or pay taxes?
Please read this!
I want to ensure that all who visit
this website understand that the tax laws apply to everyone in this country, as
well as to individuals outside of the United States who earn money from
investments, property or businesses located in the U.S. (unless specifically exempted by a
tax treaty, or specific provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code).
Filing returns and paying the taxes
when due is required by law. The willful failure to file
a return and/or pay your income or business tax can result in not only
civil penalties, but criminal prosecution and penalties as well - and that can include prison time! This is
Please - don't be fooled by individuals who try to convince
you that you can beat the system. Following their advice will most
certainly cost you dearly in the end - not only in your pocket book, but
possibly your freedom and reputation as well.
The IRS put together a document
that discusses the most common contentions by tax protesters, and the
legal basis proving their contentions false. I have uploaded
this document to this website for your reading.
If you are contemplating not filing
returns or paying the tax based upon something you heard or read that allegedly
exempts you from the process or tax system - or have not filed before now because of what you
heard or read, I strongly recommend you read the IRS document hyperlinked below before you get
into a serious situation that can adversely affect you and perhaps your family
as well. Please share this web site information with any family, friends
or work acquaintances for whom it will be meaningful.
Here is the
link to the IRS document.
The IRS issued a notice in 2006
providing further information on this topic. Here is the
link to Notice 06-31.
If you have not filed all of your
required returns, I recommend you engage the services of a tax resolution
specialist certified by a government agency as an EA, CPA or Attorney to get them prepared and filed ASAP - and
hopefully you will do this BEFORE the IRS comes after you. In
my several decades of IRS experience, I never heard or read about a
prosecution of a taxpayer who came forward and voluntarily filed delinquent
returns (before IRS contact) in their effort to get compliant with
the tax laws.
Please understand that if you
have not filed one or more tax returns, depending upon the circumstances for
non-filing, the US Attorney may be able to convince a jury that your failure to
file was not due to negligence or oversight, but solely for the purpose of
willfully evading the tax laws. This is why it is so important that even if you are unable to pay the tax
liabilities and penalties for your delinquent returns, file
the returns!!! I can almost always work out a deal for you to satisfy the liabilities
by an installment agreement, an Offer in Compromise or another form of
This is important!
If you are contacted by a Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service
(or otherwise notified of a pending criminal investigation), I strongly recommend
you retain the services of a qualified tax attorney - immediately!
I will be happy to recommend one if you need such a referral.
The United States Tax Court and
other Federal Courts have the power to assess sanctions against a taxpayer -
and their representative - who advocate tax protester type arguments.
Here is an excerpt from a 2007 9th Circuit Appeals Court case on this
Judicial Proceedings—Frivolous appeals sanctions—tax protestors.
$8,000 frivolous appeal sanction was imposed against taxpayers
and their attorney for pursuing appeal of declaratory judgment
action that was facially frivolous. Also, their motion to sanction
govt. and its attorney for govt.'s own allegedly frivolous filing
was rejected. (Williams, et al. v. U.S., CA, Ninth Circuit, 100 AFTR
2d ¶2007-5024 )
Taxpayers who pursue these meritless
arguments not only end up paying the tax in the end, but incur legal fees in the
process, AND - as in the case above - significant additional costs.
Please - do not risk becoming an IRS
prosecution statistic because of delinquent returns! Contact me and I will
work quickly with you to complete your delinquent returns and get them filed.
If you believe you cannot pay all of the tax, penalties and interest you will owe,
do not let that aspect delay the filing of your delinquent returns.
Once filed, we can explore alternative payment
options with the IRS and State tax agencies, including an installment agreement,
or an offer in compromise
as mentioned above.
God bless you, and thank you
for visiting dick norton . com
Tax Resolution Specialist