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trailsillustrated's avatar

Do those tax attorneys that have ads on TV really help?

Asked by trailsillustrated (14886 points ) April 19th, 2010

My house foreclosed and my life fell apart midway through 2003. I haven’t worked since, have since married and now my life is normal, I still don’t work. My husband claims my children and me as dependants. I just got a letter from the IRS telling me that I owe an insane amount of money from 2003, I am so upset I am vomiting. I’m scared to show my husband the letter, (he knows all about my past problems). Should I approach the IRS or get a tax attorney? I don’t have any way of making any money now ever. I don’t know how I’ll raise any money my husband already supports my kids and me- could I get prison time if I don’t pay it?

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17 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Get a tax attorney first.

I would not call the ones on TV. Get a recommendation from a local attorney you trust.

njnyjobs's avatar

It all depends on how bad your situation is. There are some things that the IRS will be willing to hear and negotiate directly with you, like mistakes in calculations or deductions, thus shorting your tax payment. However, if you are being accused of tax-evasion, then a tax attorney may be your best resource. Hire someone local and recommended to you.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I’m not being accused of tax evasion (yet) this is the first letter I’ve gotten, just saying that’s how much I owe for 2003 and all the interest. thankyou, btw – I don’t see how I could owe THAT much if my house foreclosed because I had no money… and then I didn’t after that

semblance's avatar

I am an attorney who practices tax law. I have a Master of Laws in tax.

I agree with the attorney who said you should consult a tax attorney. (Not me, though.)

I don’t advertise. I am familiar with the ads you see on TV. Most of them make remarkable claims which are difficult to believe. Better to get someone based on a local referral. If you don’t know any lawyers who can refer you to a tax lawyer, maybe you know a certified public accountant who kows a good tax attorney.

Don’t take this as creating an attorney-client relationship but it is very unlikely that criminal sanctions are involved if the IRS is simply sending you a notice that you owe tax. Generally, if the IRS intends criminal action you find out about it when you’re charged, which is before any demands for payment. There are some exceptions to that.

Assuming that criminal law is not an issue, the IRS can thoroughly mess up your life just on the collection side, so, again, get a tax attorney.

Schenectandy's avatar

As long as it’s off of real TV, not YouTube

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Call the IRS and work it out with them. They will be very pleased that you called and are being cooperative. They’re used to people dodging them, so when someone actually wants to do the right thing, they are very amicable.

I’ve done it both ways, with tax attorney and directly with the IRS. You can work out anything the attorney can work out. Just call them directly and offer a settlement.

Document everything.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I’m scared to call them. I don’t have any personal money at all, my husband already paid alot of tax plus all the other expenses for me and my children- I could maybe offer them 1/100th of what they say I owe- they’d laugh at me

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Call them. They’re not bad people. Tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You’d be surprised at what they’ll settle for. They’ll admire you for not getting an attorney involved.

Tell them you know you’ve made mistakes, and you want to set things right and do the right thing. Just go in with all your papers and claim ignorance. Chances are their figures are wrong anyway.

The IRS agent I dealt with completely wiped off 7 years of perceived back taxes. Just wiped it away completely. That was 20 years ago, but judging from all the commercials for tax attorney’s these days, you must know they are more willing to deal with people than ever before. Every commercial break there is an ad from a tax lawyer. This must tell you that millions of people are in the same situation you are.

They’ll be impressed that you called. If you’re scared, then tell them you’re scared and just don’t know what to do. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this. You’ll feel much better after talking to them and getting it all straightened out.

trailsillustrated's avatar

really….? they’re not like robots? do I call the number? can they attach my husband’s assets which I am not listed or named on? or his bank account? I don’t think I made any mistakes, my house foreclosed, I left and was homeless. That was it. And I haven’t earned anything since. excuse my rambling I’m freaking out should I really call—

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Just relax and call them. Tell them the truth. Your husbands business doesn’t have anything to do with you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If you’re still nervous about it, then contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service. It’s free.

trailsillustrated's avatar

THANKYOU @RealEyesRealizeRealLies im trying not to poop my pants

njnyjobs's avatar

Ask them if there’s any Tax Amnesty programs available that you may qualify for. If I’m not mistaken, tax liabilities do not co-mingle unless you had filed a joint return. But from the sounds of your situation, this liability is solely of your own doing. Go ahead and call IRS and ask how you can resolve this matter with what little resources you have.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I didn’t even know him then. I certainly thought that if I couldn’t pay mortgage payments or rent or anything else, I don’t know how I owe that!! There’s a federal building here with an irs office, should I front up there with my letter? thanks @njnyjobs

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes just go in. It’s no big deal. There are thousands of very rich people who are much worse off than you. The IRS puts their attention to them more than you. They know they can’t squeeze blood from a rock, so they go after the people that do owe them major cash, and still blatantly avoid them.

Just go in. It’s no big deal.

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