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 Associated of Delray Beach, tax resolution specialists. Call Levy and Associated 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. Guess what is coming up tomorrow, if you are listening to this on the 14th, which means it is April 15th. It is a Sunday and you typically would get to the next business day which is Monday 16th, but Monday happens to be a holiday called Emancipation Day. It is observed in the district of Columbia in Washing DC. Therefore, IRS is closed. So, everyone out there listening, you actually have until Tuesday 17th to file your taxes.
On the show today, we have a very nice young lady. She is one of our admin. I brought her on for a couple of reasons that she doesn’t even know about. Let’s say ‘good morning’ to one of our perky, upbeat team. She always has a smile on her face. She is one of our perky administrative assistants, Tanya. Tanya, good morning.
Tanya: Good morning.
Lawrence: I want to tell people this. Just from your voice you can almost tell just from the ‘good morning’ that you are absolutely just an absolute pleasure always. You have been in the Levy Office for how long now?
Tanya: Five and a half years now.
Lawrence: That is crazy. I think it is really important because we talk about this and I want to start off the show here. Your husband, when you first started working here, was working for an airline. He decided that he wanted to go and be in the police force to become a police officer. He ended up going in to be a State Trooper. I have got to tell you, now he is in a patrol car he comes to visit the office once in a while and he is a really down to earth guy. We always like to give shout outs to the retired military and the first responders – the fire fighters and police officer.
Tanya, I know that you are mum. You have a child. It is probably for you, as the wife, and I know that people worry about taxes, but we are here to talk about life in general sometimes too because we are down to earth people, but do you ever worry about your husband when he is out there patrolling by himself?
Tanya: Yes. All the time.
Lawrence: Thank God he comes home. He came into the office a while back. It was a couple of weeks ago and he had his whole uniform on with his vest and all of the gear. People look out for that and respect that. I think, police officers, especially in today’s world, we should give them a whole lot of respect. So, I want to start out by giving the police officers out there a big shout out and say, ‘Thank you very much for all that you do to make us feel safe and sound’, much like the first responders. The people in the military, both active and retired, it is great.
Tanya, we are not here to talk about your husband and him being a State Trooper, we are not here to talk about the first responders, we are here to talk about what you do if you have an IRS tax problem. What do you do if you haven’t filed in a while, perhaps a couple of years, five years? What to do when you haven’t paid? That is what it comes down to in the Levy Office. How do we fix these issues?
In the Levy Office we have a pretty deep bench. There are former IRS revenue officers. A gentleman named Greg and a lady named Clair. They have both worked with the IRS for over thirty years each. Clair ended up rounding out her career as an offer and compromise specialist and Greg was in the offer unit for a little while, probably a year or so, but he was a revenue officer, like Clair, for the majority of his time with the IRS. We also have the CPAs, and right now we are in the middle of tax season and so this show will air on Saturday, but it also airs again on Sunday on the Hurricane sister sport station. I know absolutely nothing about sports, but Tanya, they joke about that in the office, don’t they? That I know nothing about sports.
Lawrence: Although I will tell you that I heard some guy, and I can’t remember his name, he won the Masters and he got to put that green jacket on. I watch some news worthy stuff, but that is about it.
One thing that I want to talk about a little this week on the show is that it is tax season. Pick up the phone and call us.
Local 561 865 7800
Or, come into the office. It is right here on Federal Highway on Delray Beach. We are about a half of a mile south of Linton, and on the East side of the street. It is a free-standing white contemporary looking building. It says ‘Levy Tax Professionals’ on the sign on the street. We want you to come on in.
If you are listening to this show and you haven’t filed. Pick up the phone right now.
Local 561 865 7800 Toll free 800-Tax-Levy
And, yes, Levy really is my last name. Now, I want to talk about my staff, and particularly you Tanya. You do an absolute fantastic job of keeping the office and the clients. You are so upbeat and perky. Explain what you do because I want people to understand that not only do we advocate and help people who have tax problems, but we are also caring about our fellow workers.
Tanya, don’t you do something with the change of the season, at least up in our Michigan office where you put up the decorations for the seasons, right?
Tanya: Yes. I sure like to put up a lot of my décor.
Lawrence: So, over the past almost six years that you have been there you have seen so many people come in there and say, “Oh my God. Thank you. You totally saved my life. I had this big stress monkey on my back and you made it go away, and now I am free of this problem that I had.”
You have seen that a lot, right?
Lawrence: Does it make you feel good?
Tanya: Very much so. Especially when they come in here and they are full of tears, but they come out smiling.
Lawrence: Exactly. Sometimes they come in with tears of joy after the fact when they come out smiling. That is an important part of it. Let’s talk about a few things that have gone on this week.
We, unfortunately in our tax resolution world, see a lot of people who shouldn’t be in the tax resolution business. Sometimes it could be a CPA, and sometimes it could be an attorney, and this week, ‘low and behold’, we say it. It was on the phone with a gentleman who happened to be a CPA and he didn’t think that the IRS would abate penalties unless the tax-payer fully paid the tax. We said that is wrong. You can get penalty abatement and you don’t have to pay the full tax.
By the way, for anyone listening. Penalty abatement means the IRS will waive, or ‘abate’ is the term. They get rid of the penalties, but you have to have a reason for it. It can’t be just because Tanya has nice décor and she changes the décor for the various seasons of spring, summer, fall, and the winter. It can’t just be for that reason. You have to have a reason behind why the IRS will waive penalties. It doesn’t always happen. Not everyone is going to fit. Actually, this client who was the CPA we were speaking to about it and I said, “What was the reason you didn’t file and the reason you didn’t pay?” She said, “You know, I just didn’t have the money.” I said, “But, you were able to pay your other bills.” Oftentimes, clients need to really hear and understand that and how it works. They are thinking if they don’t pay the phone bill they will give you a break on your phone bill.
Tanya, have you ever had a bill that is late, and they waive a late fee for you? Have you ever had that happen to you or your husband?
Lawrence: So, occasionally they will do that. You may think it is on auto debit and it is not. Whatever happens, happens. It turns out that you overlook something, and they give you a one-time break on it. IRS doesn’t quite have that same logic, nor does the Dept. of Revenue for Florida by any stretch of the imagination, but fortunately you do have the ability to request that a penalty is abated for a particular reason. It is usually a two-round challenge. So, if you go to round-one and you say to IRS, “Please remove the penalties because of reasons X, Y, and Z,
“and they don’t, you can take that to appeals and appeal the denial. So, there is a two-round challenge. Tanya, at this time of year in particular you see a lot of people coming in and trying to drop their taxes off and trying to give them to us at the last second. They are scrambling, they may not know what to do.
When you see someone, you are right at the front. You are one of the first people tat someone sees. So, how do you approach someone when they come in, it may be a new client and they are stressed out because they have an IRS revenue officer knocking at their door, or they haven’t filed in a few years? How do you approach that? You have been here for a long time and you have seen a ton of clients come in. Some have high stress. Some simply don’t care and it appears that their stress is low, but how do you approach that?
Tanya: Honestly, when they come in you try to figure out exactly what is going on, and reason with them. Try to be their friend and find out exactly what is going on with their situation and go from there.
Lawrence: Right. You want to try and help people. It is no different, in my opinion, then someone who comes into the doctor. They don’t feel well, and the doctor has to have a good bedside manner. The doctor has got to be able to understand, to listen and try and help you through it. Sometimes, the problems are going to be as simple as you are going ahead and taking a hot shower, drinking some orange juice, taking some vitamin C gummy bears, or there is that ‘emergency’ vitamin C type powder that you put in water. There are always ways to fix the problem. Your doctor is going to say, “Here is what you need to do.” You break you leg, you maybe need to have a cast, or you maybe need to be put in a splint, or you maybe have to have a bandage.
We have similar. IRS is going to deem you unable to pay. That is called ‘currently non-collectable’. The other IRS option is called an instalment agreement. That is a payment plan and there are variations of that. There is a PPIA, which is a partial pay instalment agreement. Then, there is the offer and compromise which is what you hear advertised a lot. So, if you owe the IRS $100,000, $50,000, $20,000 or a half of a million, whatever the number is you try and settle for something less than 100 cents on the dollar. I want to be very clear that not everyone is going to qualify for that type of relief.
Now, Tanya, over the years and especially lately, you have seen a lot of people who have come into the Levy Office who have had recent success stories with an offer and compromise. Doesn’t it make you feel so good? You go home, maybe tell your husband after you hear about his day as a police officer, but it just makes you feel good to be able to help someone, doesn’t it?
Tanya: It sure does. It really does.
Lawrence: It is an uplifting feeling. It is something where, like your husband who protects and serves, we try and help people who have got themselves into a jam. I would say that our clients don’t do it intentionally. No-one doesn’t pay their taxes and want to cause themselves grief. Something happens in their life.
Earlier this week, I was actually on the phone with a client that owes $2 million. The gentleman said it was because he was waiting on receivables to come in that didn’t come in. They were coming from a municipality and because they didn’t come in on time he had to pay other bills, otherwise the company would have gone under. The guy owes a couple of million dollars in payroll tax. It is a lot of money. Even if it is $100,000, $50,000, or $20,000, it is a significant amount of money.
Tanya, when you see a client come in, some are happy go lucky and shake hands and give you a hug, and you see others that are just really super stressed out and so forth. It is really a nice feeling to be able to help someone like that and you really make it special because you always have a smile on your face. When you answer the phone, you are always like that. Have you always been like that? Have your parents always said, “Tanya, what a sweet girl you are?”
Tanya: I believe so. Yes. I am always bubbly.
Lawrence: Always bubbly and always perky?
Lawrence: Well, I will tell you something, it is a pleasure to work alongside nice people. I think, ultimately when people have a tax problem they really need to focus on it. When they are not able to focus on their lives and they have to do something that is really important that people focus on, dealing with the IRS won’t go away. You have to address it. You can’t just bury your head in the sand. You can’t just sweep it under the rug.
Give us a call directly on 561 865 7800.
We are about half way through and I am going to throw it back a little to Tanya. You are just a nice young lady who came to work in the Levy Office in the administrative role. Your husband worked for the airline and now he is a Stare Trooper, a police officer. When you see people walk in that door, and I keep bringing this up because it is such a good feeling to be able to help, but you see people walk in the door and they seem to have a tremendous amount of stress.
I don’t know if you will remember this, but it was a couple of weeks ago in the Michigan office and he was really stressed. You could almost see steam coming out of his ear. By the time he left he was just, you know… give him a big bear hug. He was just a real nice guy that just wants to get back on track. His wife is trying to help him to figure out things, and it is really is a tremendous feeling to be able to helps someone out like that.
So, if anyone is listening out there today, and has an IRS problem, there is no magic wand. There is nothing that anyone can do to say, “You waive this, you do this, and you don’t do this, and ‘poof’ it goes away.” It doesn’t work like that.
Tanya, in the past couple of weeks especially, you have been dealing with a lot of people coming in to pick up their taxes and filing for extensions. Some people are loving life because they have a smile on their face and have refunds, and others owe, but what is your advice that you would give someone who is listening. You are not a power of attorney. You are not the one who negotiates on behalf of the tax-payers, but you are a human being. You are a mum. You are a wife. You are a daughter. You are a sibling. You are probably a grand-daughter. What would be your advice that you would give to people listening out there today about what to do if you have an IRS tax problem?
Tanya: Honestly, call us, please.
Lawrence: Wow. That is it. Call the Levy Office.
Tanya: Call us and I will answer the phone.
Lawrence: That is it. Call us. We are not in the business to wave the magic wand because it doesn’t happen like that. There is a lot that has to go into it. You have to get into compliance. You have to stay current. If anyone out there is self-employed, raise your hand. That is funny. I wonder if anyone is waving their hand out there, but if you are self-employed, whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, a real estate agent, a plumber, an electrician, or you own an auto-body shop repair place. No matter what you do.
Let me try and rattle off in my mind the clients that we have talked to just this week. An electrician, a doctor, a home-maker (I think that is a profession too), we had a gentleman come into the office who is in the real estate business, we had another gentleman in construction. I mean, you name it, we see just about everything possible. Just as I thought we would never see something unique, we have someone who makes holsters for guns, of all things, which is a very sensitive topic in today’s world, but that is what he does for a living. There is just so much that is out there, that we see everyday with people who have tax problems. Restaurateurs, people who are in the restaurant business. A dance studio. It is on and on, an on.
We see almost every element of it. Hairdressers, truck drivers. You name it, whether you are self-employed, or you are not. We have clients in the boat business. It is just, no matter what it is, you are bound to have a tax problem, but you want to be able to fix it.
You start off, like Tanya said, by calling us.
Local 561 865 7800
We actually had a lady come through who was in the cleaning business and owns a janitorial company. We have had quite a few of those actually, building maintenance, window washing, power washing, landscaping. It is just all over, as far as what we have. Ballroom dancing studio. A band. Nail salons. It is crazy, but that is what is out there. You are not alone. That is the point to telling you all this. You are not alone. You are not the only one that has a tax problem. Sometimes, to some people, that is comforting because it is very problematic.
Think of this a different way. How many people are in a situation where they have heard about someone who has had a foreclosure? Tanya, have you ever heard of someone who has had a foreclosure in the neighborhood where you live?
Lawrence: That is pretty common. Now, rewind back to about ten or fifteen years ago. The thought of filing for bankruptcy, the thought of owing taxes, the thought of having your home in foreclosure – those were all almost taboo. People didn’t want to talk about those things. It was really that they were leery. It was almost taboo to talk about things like that. It was something that you were almost embarrassed about.
Now, some people say, “Oh my God. You were in your house for two or three years and living there without paying the mortgage”. It really is shocking, but that really happens. It is crazy. It is absolutely insane and that happens quite a bit now where people are saying that they are trying to do a loan modification and they brag about it, to some extent. They may be living in their house and know that they are going to have to move eventually, but they are trying to work out a deal with their mortgage company and they haven’t paid the mortgage in a while.
Whether you pay the mortgage, or whether you owe back taxes, or whether you owe other creditors because you got into a financial pickle. Maybe you went through a bad divorce. We were talking to a client over the weekend that is in the middle of what he believes to be a pretty dragged out divorce. There are reasons why people get into these financial pickles. Sometimes, it is just because you wanted to send you child to private school and you didn’t pay taxes. Sometimes that is just the reason. I say, “Look, as a father, I don’t blame you, but as a professional, you are sitting in our office now because you owe taxes and IRS has certain allowable expenses that they will only grant you”. The allowable expenses are called national standards. When you go through what you make and what you spend, the what you spend has caps on it.
Tanya, how many people do you see coming into the office with 433s. A 433A, or a 433B. There are all of these questions and they don’t know how to fill it out. We are trying to explain to them. ‘Show us what you make.’ You see that quite a bit.
Tanya: Yes. We do. A lot.
Lawrence: People are there. When you have a client that owes the IRS, generally speaking, you have to fill out a financial statement. That financial statement is called a 433. 433A is what you fill out if it is for an individual and a 433B is if you have a business debt. IRS is going to say to the power of attorneys in my office, which by the way, the POAs are comprised of CPAs, attorneys, former IRS revenue officers with EA (enrolled agent) designations. We also have EAs that are not former IRS revenue officers. It is the POAs that will actually advocate for you, but the POAs need the tools. So, they can’t have an empty toolbox, they need the tools. Those tools, generally speaking, are going to be solid accurate 433s, either 433A, or 433B. It is basically about what you have, what you spend and what you have as expenses. That is the way we always explain it.
It is not different than if you go and try to get a mortgage. You may want to buy a house for $250.000. You are going to put down 10%. So, you want to finance $225,000. The mortgage loan person is going to say that they need to see your application. “Show me pay stubs, bank statements, in savings, and retirement fund, stocks, assets…” They will go through a whole financial disclosure to verify what you have and then to verify if you can afford to repay back the debt.
IRS does a very similar thing. They want to see what you make. They want to see what you spend. They want to see what you have. The answers to those questions are what is ultimately going to dictate how a case goes. If you have an IRS problem and you haven’t taken care of it. Let’s make this the call to action.
It is April 14th everyone. It is April 14th now. If you are listening, this show re-airs on Sunday which is April 15th. Come on. What more do you want than to think about fixing your tax problems today? It is a good day to fix it. The Levy Office is open for seven days of the week.
Tanya, you know that we have cover for seven days per week. Greg is in on Saturdays, Arnold is in on Sundays with two of the POAs. Arnold is right here in this office in Delray. He is literally in every Sunday, from what I can recall in the past couple of years. Except for when he was out on medical leave when he had an accident, but ‘thank God’ he is okay. Greg is in religiously every Saturday and he is always in. Rain or shine, the guy is always there.
Now it is tax season, we are open for seven days a week for tax problems, but also for tax resolution we are always open. We are like Vegas, we never sleep.
Let’s recap what has went on today in the show, as we come to the top of the hour with about four or five minutes left.
We had a nice young lady who is still on with us on the show, Tanya. Tanya, how long have you worked for me?
Tanya: Five and a half years.
Lawrence: So, when is your anniversary date? Is it towards the fall?
Tanya: It is actually in October.
Lawrence: So, that will be six years. In those six years… How old is your baby?
Tanya: He has just turned 21 months.
Lawrence: Yes. I am telling you, before you know it. You have seen my kids grow up, right? You have seen my older son. He is going to be 20 years old. It is insane to me. Absolutely. It means that I am getting old. I know, as the saying goes, ‘time goes by so fast’, but I can remember when my older one, who is going to be twenty, was your son’s age and not even two. I literally can tell you that the time flies. Where it goes, I have no idea, but it flies. So, enjoy it while you can because before you know it, they are going to be driving and I promise you are going to sit second-seat to his girlfriend!
Tanya: Not yet.
Lawrence: I am sure it is way early for you too think that, but you watch how fast that is going to come. “Dad, I am going out with my girlfriend. I know it is my birthday, but I am going out with my girlfriend tonight.” “Oh really, well when can you squeeze us in, please.” You have got to pencil us in. I talk about these things because we are down to earth in the Levy Office. Tanya, you have been there for six years in October of this year, but it is a great feeling to be able to help people. It is a great feeling to have really nice staff.
In the Levy Office we have a pretty deep bench. We have the CPAs, the enrolled agents, the attorneys all of which function as power of attorneys to represent tax-payers in civil tax controversies. We have been around a long time. It has been twenty-something years now. We probably, in my opinion, are the most experienced tax resolution firm in the country. We have a tremendous deep bench with lots of experience dealing in every asset. Whether you are a self-employed doctor, a self-employed lawyer, a real estate agent, the person who owns an auto repair shop, the person who owns a dance studio, the landscaper, the truck driver, the handyman, the electrician. You name it, no matter what it is, we are here to help so that you can sleep better at night.
Now, I want to be very clear. It is not going to happen overnight. You have dug yourself a little bit of a hole, and you have to take some time to dig yourself out of it. Staying in compliance and making sure that you have filed on time and payed on time is a real critical part of it. So, if you are listening to the show live on Saturday morning, at 08.30 hours, WFTL big talk radio AM850, you want to pick up the phone and call. We have got a great listener base these days and if you have an IRS issue, you have just got to be proactive about it.
I was talking to a client that actually does listen to the show. It was earlier this week, on Monday. He was on the phone with one of the POAs in my office. We actually have two POAs in the office. He says that he just wants to get himself back on the right track. What more could you want? A guy who wants to help himself out and make sure for the sake of his own sanity and peace of mind and for his family that he is on the right track. It is really important to do that. Take in the pay cheque if you have a corporation, making sure that you are on payroll. If you are self-employed make sure that you make quarterly estimated tax payments. If you have questions about any of the above, what should you do? What should you not do? What should you say? Open up the mail. Give us a call. How many times have you seen clients come into the office with unopened mail, Tanya? They are afraid to open it. You see that a lot, right?
Tanya: Yes. I sure do.
Lawrence: I will tell you something, we literally will sit there, and I will come in and say, “Tanya, can you give me an envelope opener?” Low and behold, we will sit there and open them up one by one and explain what this is and what needs to happen. Some letters are actionable, and some are not. We will go through it with you, but there is a solution out there. You just have to know what to do and how to get there. When you are dealing with the IRS or the Florida Dept. of Revenue, you need to make sure that you have representation. Being represented is key. Can you do it yourself? Sure, but if you go to the doctor and you have a cold, can you take a hot shower and get some rest, drink orange juice, take some vitamin C gummies, sure, but maybe you need a prescription and maybe it is something more than that.
We are here to help in the Levy Office if you have tax problems. Give us a call. We are local, right here in Delray Beach. We are about a half mile south of Linton, on the East side of the street. We are directly across from the Toyota dealership and right next to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Local 561 865 7800
Over the years, we have saved tax-payers millions and millions of dollars. We have got a lot of abated penalties, and a lot of offer and compromises giving people the peace of mind. Some are getting into an installment agreement, or perhaps they have been deemed currently unable to pay, ‘non-collectable’. There are options out there. You just need to know what to do and how to deal with it. If you have any questions at all, or if you are worried and want to have peace of mind this weekend, pick up the phone and call us.
Local 561 865 7800 Toll free 800-Tax-Levy
Yes. Levy really is my last name. I always say, “Don’t fear a levy, hire a Levy and you want a Levy on your side, not one against you. Tanya, thank you so much for coming on. As always, say a prayer for the fire fighters and the police officers out there to be safe, like your husband is as a State Trooper. So, thanks again for his service to keeping us safe. Signing off for now from the Levy Tax Help Show, Lawrence Levy and Tanya in the house. Enjoy the rest of the weekend South Florida, you take care.