Facing a tax debt can be one of the most frightening experiences, especially because the taxing authorities often do not pursue claims until many years after they become due adding significant interest and penalties. Many taxpayers are not even aware that they owe tax until they are assessed or audits and, by then, the balance due can be well beyond any reasonable ability to pay. We focus on helping business and individual taxpayers resolve tax debt primarily to the the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR).
Fortunately, there are options. Federal law includes many due process procedures that give taxpayers the ability to challenge and, in some cases, settle their debts. State taxing authorities tend to offer fewer opportunities for settlement; however, all taxing authorities are ultimately interested in collecting as much as they can and will usually accept payments. Payment plans, settlements and other such tools are available and, with help, can often achieve reasonable results. Here in Washington state, we do not have an income tax so the state is reliant on business taxes as well as sales tax for revenue. The Department of Revenue is often difficult to work with and far less reasonable than the IRS when it comes to working with taxpayers to solve tax debt problems.
Of course, taxing authorities are not always reasonable and, in some cases, it is necessary to appeal an audit or assessment. In most cases, the first level of appeal is with the taxing authority itself through a separate appeals process. If that process is not successful, or does not yield a reasonable result, some cases can then be appealed to state court or, in the case of IRS debts, the United States Tax Court.
We can help taxpayers work through these challenges and attempt to find solutions that are reasonable and acceptable. Taxpayers certainly can undertake many of these strategies on their own and there are many references and tools available to assist you; however, it is recommended that you at least consult with a tax professional before embarking on a tax resolution strategy.
If you are located in the South Puget Sound area of Washington State, please visit our Tax Lawyer Tacoma website also for more tax information.