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If you currently owe the IRS back taxes, now would be a good time to contact a tax professional to determine if you qualify for the IRS fresh start program. Recently, the IRS released information pertaining to their decision to enlist the assistance of four third party collection firms to assist in the recovery of approximately $138 billion dollars in tax debt. What this could mean for tax payers who owe is the beginning of multiple phone calls, harassing letters, and less time to financially prepare for repayment due to faster collection enforcement technique.
The probability of program success is hindered by well documented occurrences of harassment by third party agencies. Collection agencies are subject to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), which protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices. However, collectors often ignore these rules due to pressure to produce a certain level of revenue and/or earn bonuses in addition to regular pay. This could prove to be toxic due to potential harassment law suits that could cost the IRS millions.
In addition, this is not the first time the IRS has implemented such a program. According to the New York Times, “Twice before, in 1996 and 2006, the I.R.S. has tried to farm out some of its collection duties. Both times, the programs were shut down and deemed failures”. However, not before causing significant stress to millions of tax payers. Most famous was the elderly couple that received over 150 calls in less than a month.
The IRS currently offers resolution programs that could assist tax payers resolve outstanding tax liability without exposure to harsh collection practices conducted by third party agencies. To ignore the opportunity to protect yourself and possibly resolve your tax issue for less than what is expected (Offer-In-Compromise), is the same as staying in a house that’s on fire. No one in their right mind would do that… right?
The IRS Fresh Start Program provides the opportunity to resolve your tax debt in many different ways. Depending on your assets, you may be able to enter into an Installment Agreement (IA) that is conducive to your financial capability, or save money by paying a lessor amount through Offer-In-Compromise (OIC). If you choose to research the above mentioned resolution options, make sure that you take note of the following in choosing your tax professional:
1. Tax professional must be licensed as an Enrolled Agent, CPA, or Attorney.
2. Check with the BBB for rating
3. Check or ask for testimony from previous clients
Don’t ignore the time given to secure your opportunity to resolve your tax debt issue without additional unwanted harassment. Contact your tax professional today.