Catch Levy & Associates on the radio Saturdays on Big Talk 850 AM WFTL Southeast Florida hosted by Levy Tax Help’s Lawrence Levy.
Introductory audio: Liens, levies, wage garnishments, back tax debts of all kinds. If you’re facing any of these tax debt problems, stay tuned for the next 30 minutes. This is the Levy Tax Help Show presented by Levy and Associates of Delray Beach, tax resolution specialists. Call Levy and Associates 24-hours a day, seven days a week with all of your civil tax questions, 1-800-TAX-LEVY, that’s 1-800-829-5389. Now, the Levy Tax Help Show.
Lawrence: Good morning, South Florida, and welcome once again to the Levy Tax Help Show. We hope that everyone is enjoying the long holiday weekend for Labor Day. Now, all of the kids are back at school, except for one kid that I know is not back to school, and who is actually going to be hanging out and co-hosting the show on the holiday weekend. That kid happens to be my little son. I always call him little son. Little son, big son. You are the little son, right?
Lawrence: How old are you these days?
Lawrence: You’re sure, eleven?
Lawrence: Well, we have got a good show today. I don’t know if it will interest you, but for everyone who listens to the show, I have a real doosey, is the best way to put it. But, you go back to school, when, Tuesday?
Jet: Three days.
Lawrence: Three days, crazy. After Labor Day, that is the way it works out when you go to school up in Michigan, there you go. Maybe, you want to go to school in Michigan, but then you get out later than everyone else in Florida, so it all balances itself out.
Jet: June 17th, or something.
Lawrence: Right. We are not here to talk about you. We are not here to talk about your school schedule. We are here to talk about what you would do if you have IRS problems. I am going to start off with a call we had earlier in the week from a very nice gentleman. He is a smart guy, and he owes the IRS over $700,000. He has got a local revenue officer out of here, he lives in Palm Beach County. There’s a few offices in the soliciting area. There is West Palm, Plantation, and also Miami. The revenue officer is out of one of those local offices.
The gentleman had hired a firm out of State, and when he hired that firm out of State he wasn’t feeling a warm, fuzzy, comfort feeling with them. So, he ended up switching and he ended up hiring another firm out of State, but he thought he would have a little better of a warm and fuzzy feeling, and that didn’t work out either. Then, he says, “Do you know what? I have driven by your building, I hear your radio show and I want to have someone local”. I said, “No, asides from local, you want the best and the Levy Office is the best”. It doesn’t get better than us. The Levy Office is made up of former revenue officers, also what we call ‘enroll agents’ (EAs), the attorneys, the CPAs, all of which function as what is called ‘power of attorney(s) doing your tax matters. The phone number, and I am going to have my sidekick here give us that.
Jet: 800 TAXLEVY
Lawrence: The local number is 561 865 7800. Jet, have you been in the office a little this past week, doing a lot of work?
Lawrence: Yes! Am I going to get a time card, and I should probably try and put you on payroll or something? You can’t you work, you are not allowed to work, you are eleven, you just do it because you are a good son, and I’m a good dad.
Lawrence: Good, and, by the way, give a shout-out to my older son who is now a freshman in college. We went up and visited him. He is all started with classes and rolling along. There you go, imagine that! Before you know it, you will be there. Let’s get back to the gentleman that owes almost $800,000. Yes, that is the phone number – 561 865 7800, do you want to give it out again?
Jet: 561 865 7800
Lawrence: How about the website?
Lawrence: Your last name is?
Lawrence: You always want a Levy on your side.
Jet: You do not want to fear a levy, you want to hire Levy.
Lawrence: You love those taglines. You are doing great at this. It must be the same genes, right? You really are my son and your lesson really is levy, we want to always avoid that.
The gentleman ends up getting an IRS revenue officer back in March. I am looking at the notice, if I can pull it up on the computer. It is $700,000 and some. He has got what is called a final notice intent to levy, like my last name. Unfortunately, he was telling us the other firms that he hired didn’t really do a whole lot for him and he is in a little bit of a bind. He has got some issues with a divorce and child support. It is just a real mess. The notice was back from March and the dollar amount is more than $700,500 owed.
What do you do if you have an IRS problem? First of all, you always want to hire a professional. I want to explain a little bit about the options and I want to tell you about a couple of dousey stories we had through the week. When you have a tax problem, you want to face it head on. You do not want to bury your head in the sand. You don’t want to just sweep it under the rug, as the saying goes, because it will not go away by itself. There are going to be times in which the IRS will wait a little bit, but then eventually they like to use my last name a lot. They will levy bank accounts, they will levy your pay check, they will levy whatever you can possibly have because they want to collect money. They are, as people think, one of the largest collection agencies, if not in the country and they collect tax. If you haven’t filed. You have to file your taxes in and pay.
There are options, but a lot of people don’t know what the options are. Let me give you the worst-case scenario. You have to go onto a payment plan. The best-case scenario is that you owe the IRS and you try to file what is called an ‘offer of compromise’ where you try to settle for something less than 100 cents on the dollar. Recently, we have had a lot of success rates with offers. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of discretion that is involved in an offer of compromise and people oftentimes don’t know, but a business can file what is called an ‘in business’ offer and compromise. A lot of firms don’t know how to do it, in my opinion. A lot of firms don’t talk about it as an option, but it is an option. By the way, some States even have an offer and compromise program. Florida officially doesn’t. Certain States do, Ohio does, Michigan does, New York does. So, there are certain States that have it. Georgia has an offer of compromise program. It is not always called that exactly, an offer and compromise, but theoretically and conceptually it is the same thing.
So, when you have an IRS issue you want to make sure that you hire a firm.
1. A firm that has been around for a long time.
We are celebrating our twentieth year officially in business. So, we also have a pretty deep bench. Not only will we fix your tax problems, but we will have an issue where you will be able to have your tax returns prepared and finalized by our office. At that point in time, you are in a situation where you want to make sure the tax returns are filed and you are up to date. I want to give the phone number out one more time. Go ahead, that is you, sir.
Jet: The local or the 800 number?
Lawrence: Why don’t we do both?
Jet: 800 TAXLEVY, and the local number is 861 865 7800
Lawrence: Again, 800 TAXLEVY, and…
Jet: 861 865 7800
Lawrence: Right. You really have that down. Also, let me jump to something else here. I was just helped out by a story. Let’s talk about what happened last week. What was going on last week? You and I fell asleep actually. What happened last Saturday night?
Jet: Mayweather vs McGregor fight.
Lawrence: Who won?
Lawrence: Was it a technical knockout? I need some details?
Jet: It was a technical knockout.
Lawrence: A technical knockout, do you think it was rigged, fixed?
Jet: No, I don’t think it was rigged.
Lawrence: It was legitimate?
Lawrence: Alright. Well, I think it was legitimate too. What is also legitimate is, there was something that came up that there was an IRS debt that, I think, Mayweather had. I am going to read part of the story: –
‘A news report says Floyd Mayweather’s $3.3 million tax has been released by the IRS, even though he appears to still owe a whopping $29 million.’
If it is true. Let me point out why the IRS often push so relentlessly, but seem to ease off in some cases. In this case, the answer appears to be that Mayweather paid the $3.3 million to our tax so the IRS didn’t have a choice. The money the boxer still owes, which is more than $20 million, and he is suing the IRS to await his [? 00:08:23] fight pay day for more payments. Anyhow, this was from some online forums.com something or another, about a month ago, actually. So, we shall see what happens.
We have had, in the Levy Office, pro-athletes, we have had clients that were literally playing pro-sports. We also have had clients that are rock star legends. I don’t know if you even know about that, but there is a guitar that we have signed by one of the people in the particular band.
In any event, everyone out there, no matter if you are a lawyer, a doctor, no matter what, in this case pro-athletes, boxers. They are all over it. Google, it. Floyd Mayweather IRS issues. It is all over. Hollywood movie stars have it. So, ultimately what you want to do is to try and resolve the problem before it becomes an issue and before you lose sleep at night.
Let’s do that phone number one more time.
Jet: 800 TAXLEVY and the local number is 561 865 7800, the website is Levytaxhelp.com
Lawrence: If you have a tax problem, who do you want on your side?
Jet: You want a Levy on your side, not against you.
Lawrence: Who do you want on your side? The Levy Team.
Jet: You want a Levy on your side, and you don’t want one against you. Don’t fear a levy, you hire a Levy.
Lawrence: Do you know why I have these people on my show, like my son, or sons? It is because we are down to earth people, real human beings. I am a dad, I am a husband. Of course, I own the firm, but we are human beings and we understand what goes on in peoples’ lives. We have empathy and sympathy. I’m not sure that the IRS does, or other State tax authorities do, but we do.
I want to talk about the story that was happening, this is pretty astonishing. One of the POAs in my office, locally here in the Delray Office, was working a file for a gentleman from Palm Beach County and his file is now with the appeals division of the IRS. Danielle is her name. She is in the middle of working out a resolution and it is one of these things that there needs to be a resolution worked out. Danielle is trying to do it at a particular time when the file is in appeals. There are two different divisions, collections and appeals. It is a little confusing. So, Danielle has got it worked out in appeals. The appeals officer and Danielle are working. It is a very nice appeals officer and there is an issue where there are just some last-minute tweaks going on to resolve the file. It is going to be a payment plan, by the way. In the meantime, the revenue officer issues a bank levy. Well, why? Now, the case is in appeals, the revenue officer knows it is in appeal, and there are some procedures that the revenue officer has to deal with in order to levy a file, but where there is a pending appeal it is pretty technical. It is what is called levying with a non-cbp modules. But, with this revenue officer, I am not sure if they followed the proper protocol. So, in the meantime, for a week, literally, Danielle calls the revenue officer. The revenue officer’s manager doesn’t get any response, and finally after a week and a half, and probably twelve phone calls and messages (I kid you not), the revenue officer and manager fax over the bank levy.
So, when I say it is amazing and astonishing that this happened. Number one, they didn’t say sorry that they did it. Now, of course, the client is happy, the bank levy is released and everything goes on and it is fine, but ultimately why would that happen when we are trying to work towards a resolution. The revenue officer knows that. If they don’t know it, in fact there is a procedure where the revenue officer has to confirm that there is nothing pending towards a resolution and it is okay to take collection action to levy, and the file is in appeal.
In this case, which makes absolutely no sense, and maybe we will never know. Why did the revenue officer levy, there was literally a week and half worth of calling and finally the manager, who ‘thank God’ is nice and reasonable, agreed to release the levy and it was released? But, the headache and the frustrations that were caused were absolutely unbelievable. For a week and a half, this gentleman was on pin. We were literally calling and calling, and not one return phone call from them in over a week. It is not as if the person’s voice mail said, ‘Hi, this is (so and so). I am going to be out of the office for a week. In my absence please call the group secretary, please call the group manager’.
This was nothing. It was unbelievably frustrating. The good news is that it ends up working out. The bad news is that we are in a situation where there is a frustrated client, who now ‘thank God’ is happy, not because of anything that he did, not because of anything that we did or didn’t do, it is because of what goes on with the tax authorities. It is extremely frustrating. It makes absolutely no sense.
Literally, on Thursday. I get a text from the plant, ‘Are you available for a call?’.
I text him back that I can’t right this second but ask if it is important. Is it an emergency?
He texts back, ‘Yes’.
One of the States had levied his corporate bank account for over $20,000. We have a pending penalty abatement there. I am hoping, and as of the end of the show we still haven’t found out. I am hoping that it is not what I think it is, where literally someone went behind our back and tried to take collection action on a file. I would be shocked if that is the case, but, unfortunately, it is just one of these things that is frustrating. When you think you are working in good faith, you think that you are trying to work towards a resolution, and bring everything to current and help the taxpayer out who has fallen off the wagon a little bit, and then you have to constantly battle over it. Whether it is the State, in this case it is an unemployment issue, for unemployment taxes, but, no matter what it is, it is an unbelievable battle and waste of energy and resources to constantly have to fight, and constantly have to have the contentious, non-sensical back and forth as opposed to a practical resolution.
It is amazing to me, how things go if you don’t agree, and there is no discussion, there is no discussion that is worth it. Let me ask you a question. If we don’t agree on something, what do we do, do we talk it out, and how does that work? If you and I are going to have a dinner. Let’s say we have dinner tonight and I say, ‘I want Chinese food and sushi’, and you say, ‘Dad, I don’t eat Chinese food and sushi’. Even though it is father and son, how does that work? What happens usually? I give in because you are my son, but what happens usually?
Jet: We talk it out, and you give in, and I win.
Lawrence: That is what happens, you win, it is that simple?
Lawrence: Do you think that is fair?
Jet: Kind of.
Lawrence: Why, is it because you are my son?
Lawrence: Well, if you say so. It doesn’t work like that with the IRS, but what should happen is that you and I should talk. We should say, ‘Hey, listen, why don’t you want that restaurant?’, and I will say, ‘” don’t know, why don’t you want this restaurant?”, and we figure out where we are going to eat, or we will be just simple guys and make noodles in butter with some Parmesan cheese on it, and we wouldn’t have to worry about it. We just sit on the couch, and not tell Mum we are going to sit on the couch and hopefully don’t spill, and that is that.
In the IRS world, in the taxes world, it makes absolutely no sense to me, how or why there is not intelligent, substantive dialogue where you can have these conversations back and forth that actually makes some sense.
I am going to talk about another story. I ended up having a call on Tuesday night, 29th of August. I ended up having a conversation with a gentleman around 04:30. He happens to be our client’s CPA. He is forty-nine years old. He told me he used to work at Ernst and Young, a big CPA national firm. We were asking him a question about the tax return he prepared and he said, “I can’t believe what you folks go through. I don’t have the patience to deal with the IRS. I don’t want any of these resolution files, I will gladly pass every one to you”.
I said, “Why, what makes you feel so soured about it?”.
He said that about three years ago he had a revenue officer come into his office in one of his plants that owed the IRS about $75,000 – $80,000. The gentleman sat in his office and he was asking questions regarding a 10,31, a tax exchange, and taxable events and so forth, but the revenue officer didn’t know anything about the file. They didn’t know anything about a 10.31 exchange. I said to the CPA that revenue officers are collectors, they are not accountants, they are not lawyers, they are collectors. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t have the tax knowledge that you have as a CPA. So, you have got to take a step back and understand that they see a debt, a bill. They are there to collect the debt. They are not there to try and go back and help you amend the tax return. He was just saying how frustrated he was and eventually he said to the revenue officer, “With all due respect, Sir. You need to leave. I am done with this meeting. I am going to talk to your manager”. He had to keep on going up, and up, and up the chain of command in order to speak to someone. He went on to tell me so many stories where he would try to file an offer and compromise, they sent it back because something wasn’t done the right way. He tried to say that he would fix it, or perfect the form, please don’t send it back. They said, ‘No’, and then he was on hold. He told me he bills $300 an hour. Unfortunately, he said, “Look, you are on hold, you could be on hold waiting for a half of an hour to an hour”. Sometimes, we called the IRS on their 800 number, it is called the ACS automated collection system and we are on hold for over an hour. He said, “I just can’t justify billing a client $300 an hour”.
I said that in tax resolution, in this industry, it is not very common to bill hourly. In fact, it is incredibly uncommon. If you hear of someone who bills hourly for the tax resolution industry, it is someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. That is how grossly uncommon that is. Ultimately, there has got to be a way in which the tax professional can have some sense of intelligent dialogue back and forth with the client, and back and forth with the IRS, or the State for that matter.
I want to share another story with you. I was on a State call, it happened to be Michigan. By the way, Michigan farms out their collections oftentimes to a third-party debt collection agency. By the way, for whatever it is worth to you, we will talk about this probably in the next show, but IRS just started doing that as well. They farm out their debt collection work, it just started again. They were going to do it a few years ago and they stopped it. We literally just got a file that was with a collection agency. I am going to have Greg McHaffy on the phone to talk about it on the show. The next show, maybe. It was a mess, IRS said he was in uncollectable status and yet the file still went to a collections agency.
Anyhow, I was on the phone earlier this week, with the State of Michigan collections agency, not the real State of Michigan, and the gentleman happens to be a lawyer. He is our client. His financial statement and his tax returns reflect that his income is $16,00 a month. That is it. So, we asked where you show that he is allowed to spend, as a single man, for food and clothing, groceries, basically. They look at it differently from how the IRS does. $350. Great, how much to you allow for car payments plus gas? I don’t know the number, but we will call it $450. So, operating costs and a car payment is $450. So, now we are at $800. I asked how much his mortgage payment is. It is $900. I said that between the mortgage payment, and not counting utilities, the car payment and what you allow for groceries, this guy is literally upside down. That doesn’t count utilities. That doesn’t count his gas, light, cable. That doesn’t count any of that. So, why not put him in a hardship situation? The State calls it hardship. The IRS calls it ‘currently uncollectable’. He said that he needed a letter of support. I said that he is not getting a letter of support because one doesn’t exist. He has a little bit of saving left and he is dipping into each month and when that well runs dry, he is going to be in trouble. Well, if you can’t give us a letter of support, then we can’t put him in a hardship, and why don’t you just ask him to get a letter of support? That was the reply. I asked, “Are you asking me to have our client write a letter that is not the truth, I am pretty shocked that you just asked that?”. He said he didn’t mean that. I asked what he did mean. This was unbelievable. That is what I was saying. These are unbelievable stories of the week.
I said, “By your own arithmetic, you show that this gentleman does not have any disposable income, here at the end. So, now what?” To cut a long story short, the amount of red tape sometimes you go through with the State of Michigan is an unbelievable scenario that goes on.
Unfortunately, when you have a scenario where you have tax problems you get so frustrated. People just throw their hands in the air and don’t know what to do. It is just a sad and despicable scenario that goes on when you have tax problems. When you have tax problems you need to deal with them head-on. You need to make sure that you are pro-active and that you do not sit back, and do not wait. Make sure you do everything you possibly can in order to be pro-active with it. If you have problems, the phone number again is…
Jet: 800 TAXLEVY, and local is 561 865 7800, and the website is Levytaxhelp.com.
Lawrence: You always want to have a Levy on your side, not one against you, don’t fear a levy, hire a Levy.
Do you ever think about going into the radio business when you get older? Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
Jet: Not a clue.
Lawrence: Well, you got a few years. Mum is a lawyer, right? Maybe, a doctor?
Lawrence: You never know. You watched me getting stitches two months ago. I talk about that way too much.
Jet: Way, too much.
Lawrence: I was tough. Was I tough when they gave me a shot? You saw them stitch it up? I wasn’t tough, I was a wimp.
Lawrence: Really. If you say so. You video-taped it though. Yes, you are making funny faces. It hurts. Can you imagine what I felt with that needle? They put a needle in [? 00:23:01]. So, it was not fun. What is also not fun, is when you have tax problems, right. That is what we talk about. We are not here to talk about my stitches. We are not here to talk about my silly finger. We are in here to talk about you being not in school. We are going to talk about what to do if you have problems.
Coming up in another couple of weeks. If anyone has not filed their corporate tax return, the corporate tax deadline is September 15th. Do you know the one for the personal extension deadline?
Jet: October 15th.
Lawrence: I am impressed. You must do a lot of reading. Do you go to IRS.gov? October 15th is right. So, coming up soon. If you are going to file on the famous day April 15th, you have a six-month extension that takes you through to October 15th. If you have a corporate tax return?
Jet: September 15th.
Lawrence: Yes. So, what do you do. You need to file and you have got to scramble, you give us a call on the local phone number.
Jet: Local 561 865 7800, and 800 TAXLEVY.
Lawrence: What is your name and how do you spell that?
Lawrence: Right, and it is 5389, so that is 800 TAXLEVY. How about that? We are on 800 TAXLEVY. I like that number. Give that out to your girlfriend when you get a girlfriend. When they want your phone number, give them the 800 TAXLEVY and tell them to talk to you secretary. Okay, give them the phone number one last time.
Jet: Local is 561 865 7800, and call free is 800 TAXLEVY.
Lawrence: That is right. So, if you are frustrated with the IRS, if you are frustrated with your tax problems. You don’t wasn’t to face it alone. We have talked about a few pretty frustrating stories just this week. The State was one of them, the IRS just being non-responsive. It is frustrating and it would be very nice if there is a way to have someone leave just a voicemail, or that out of office reply to say that you are not there but please call ‘so and so’. If not, I feel that you are just in this nebula black hole where you go to this IRS cyber never, never land. If anyone listening out there is frustrated, if you can’t seem to get anywhere, we get you there. We will be persistent. I have a staff that is incredibly tenacious. Tenacity is their middle name. We know what to do. We know where to call. We know who to call. If you can’t get through, sometimes you have to be patient, sometimes it takes multiple attempts, but it happens.
One last thing before we sign off. We had a gentleman who owes the IRS about $300,000. We got him put into what is called, currently non-collectable a couple of years ago, just recently, this week he got a letter in the mail saying his account is signed for enforcement action. We call him, he says, ‘you guys are so on it, you are so on your game, I can’t believe it. Thank you for being so pro-active, it is incredible. So, we called him and he ended up saying, on Thursday around 12.30 that he couldn’t be nicer, couldn’t be happier, but you want to be pro-active.
If you are frustrated, you call us. The Levy bench is deep and we are the best. The former IRS revenue officer, the attorneys, the CPAs, the enrolled agents, the admin. Staff. My staff is a great staff. Publicly, I don’t say that enough. So, staff of the Levy team, you guys rock, you are awesome. Also, a shout out to my little son here, who has been on the show for this past half hour, and as we almost wind down the show here, give us out the address, why don’t you do that?
Jet: 2881 South Federer Highway, Delray Beach, Florida.
Lawrence: And, the phone number, one last time.
Jet: The local phone number is 561 856 7800 and the call free is 800 TAXLEVY.
Lawrence: You want a Levy on your side, not one against you. You don’t fear a levy, but you hire a Levy.
On that note, I love that. I should make you a regular. That is awesome. You have got a good radio voice, son. Signing off from the Levy Tax Levy Show. Laurence Levy, in the house, talking about the good old frustrations that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. If you have IRS tax problems, what do you do? You call us, you want the best on your side, you want a Levy on your side, never a levy against you, and we don’t want you to fear those levies, we strongly suggest you hire a Levy. One last time with the phone number, it is…
Jet: 561 865 7800 is the local one, and the call free is 800 TAXLEVY.
Lawrence: Signing off for now, Lawrence Levy and the little Levy in the house. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend South Florida, you take care.