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 enjoyed the weekend. I forgot, actually, which is pretty crazy of me, but I forgot to give a big shout out to all of the fathers out there. I just want to take a minute to talk about being a father and fatherhood and think about how important that is.
So, even though this is about taxes and we have a great guest who is one of the latest additions to the Levy team, but, let’s take a break and do the right thing, and introduce her first.
We have just recently added on a new staff member, Natalia. She joined us recently. She has got a lot of great things about her. We will talk about it in a little bit, but she is one of the newest additions and is a CPA. Natalia, good morning and welcome to the Levy Tax Help Show.
Natalia: Thank you, Lawrence. I am very excited to be coming onboard. It looks like I am going to be a part of a great team, and I am very excited to be joining.
Lawrence: We are excited to have you. We are going to get back to you in one second but let me talk about Father’s Day. To me, it is actually one of, if not is one of the better days of the year. I talk about my kids all of the time. I have two boys. I have a twelve-year-old and a nineteen-year-old and I really enjoy my family time. I think, a lot of fathers, sometimes, get the short end of the stick in a divorce action, in my opinion. You don’t hear necessarily about bad mothers, but you hear oftentimes about the bad fathers. So, I really want to give a shout out to all of those fathers that are out there, that are the good fathers. There a lot of good mums and there are a lot of good dads, but, I just don’t think that the father gets enough praise. A lot of times, that goes unnoticed. So, even though we are almost a week past Father’s Day, I want to give all of the fathers listening out there a very big, “How are you doing and a pat on the back”.
I want to talk about one father in particular, quickly. It is not me. I had the greatest Father’s Day of all time with my kids last Sunday. We have a client whose daughter was injured in what I will call a violent incident, which is the best way to put it. This guy’s life has been turned upside down. His daughter has a daughter. So, he is a grandfather. He has literally had to care for his daughter and his grand-daughter as if he is starting all over from scratch. It was a close head injury. He is a really kind man with an incredible heart of gold, and I want to give him a particular shout out on this Father’s Day, albeit that I am a week late. I really want to say it. If you listen to the show, I am hopefully going to let him hear the podcast of it after, if he is not listening now. He is one of the nicest guys of all time and has been through a horrific couple of years. Please, God, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I want to give him a big shout out. He darn well knows who it is. He is a really good guy and a great father, and a great grandfather. He just has a heart of gold.
So, to all of the fathers out there, I hope you had a great day and you enjoy your kids. Even though my kids hear me on the phone sometimes seven days a week, I could be driving my son to school. I could be doing whatever I am doing on the weekend and I always try and make the time for my family, but, being self-employed you are always on. It is a seven day per week thing and there are pros and cons.
The pros are that I don’t have a boss. Although, I think, my kids and my wife are my boss, but the pros are that I don’t have a boss. The cons are that you are always on and you have to be available for seven days of the week.
Let’s talk a little bit about Natalia, but before we do, let’s give out the local phone number here in Florida. We are the nations leading tax resolution firm.
- If you have an IRS problem in the civil tax controversy world.
- If you haven’t filed your taxes in a few years.
- If you owe the IRS.
- If you haven’t filed or paid some payroll taxes.
- If you have an issue with the Florida Department of Revenue.
We want to help you fix those problems. Whether you haven’t filed in five or six years, or whether you have to catch up and show the IRS some financials, we are here to fix that tax problem that you have. We have former IRS revenue officers. We have two of them, currently. A lady called Claire Coffee and also a gentleman named Greg Mahaffey, both of whom worked for the IRS for over thirty years.
We now have a couple of CPAs. We have Natalia. We also have Dave Crop. We have a couple of EAs, enrolled agents. Of course, we have the POAs, the attorneys, but function as POAs, we have Arnold, Bianca, Danielle and Paul. It is just a great team that we have. Also, we have our support staff and our admin staff and case managers. They are just a great staff that we are blessed with here at the Levy Office. We have a deep bench.
The talk about benches give me a good segue way to Natalia. We started interviewing Natalia and we asked what her interests were. I think, on your resume you had that you play tennis.
Natalia: Yes, I have.
Lawrence: Actually, you were going to go ‘Pro’, correct?
Natalia: When I was really young I wanted to be a professional tennis player, but after I graduated from high school my parents pushed me more towards academic careers. So, I have decided to go and play intercollegiate tennis in the United States.
Lawrence: What college did you play for?
Natalia: I studied in Kansas State University, then, I transferred to Auburn University, Montgomery.
Lawrence: Is Kansas State in a city called Lawrence Kansas? No, that is Kansas University?
Natalia: Kansas State in a city called Manhattan. So, when people were asking me, “Where did you go?” I say that I went to Manhattan, and they say, “That is nice. New York”. I say, “No. It is Kansas.”
Lawrence: You know, you are actually right. That is KU, I think, DJ Flash is mentioning. That is in Lawrence Kansas. I actually drove to Lawrence Kansas, for obvious reasons. I had a buddy that was there, but I stopped at the local high school and bought a Lawrence High School shirt.
Anyway, we are not here to talk about that so much, but we like to let the listeners know that we are human beings. As a CPA, you have knowledge on Quick Books. Part of what we do here is, we try to clean up. Before we get to a couple of examples of the week, let me also talk about one of your other claims to fame. For anyone who is currently or has been challenged with the IRS we oftentimes hear that it is like climbing a mountain and that challenges with the IRS are huge undertakings that can be frustrating. It is, “Oh my God, they are climbing a mountain and they can never get to the top”. We hear that a lot.
So, here in the interview, we interview Natalia. I see on her resume, again, she says that she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Natalia: Kilimanjaro, yes.
Lawrence: You summited, which means that you made it to the top.
Natalia: That is correct.
Lawrence: How long did that process take you? I have actually never physically been in the same room with a mountain climber, let alone someone that has summited Kilimanjaro which, I think, is a huge accomplishment. It just shows your perseverance as an individual and as a human being, but, how long did it take you to get from base-camp to the summit?
Natalia: The total trip, back and forth, was six days. Four days were climbing up and two days were descending. The climb back was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. We went through five different climate zones, starting with a rainforest and ending with a total desert with icebergs there. As you very correctly have pointed out, I can imagine it is exactly like fighting the IRS. During the last day, it was just putting one foot in front of another.
Lawrence: Did you have oxygen tanks?
Natalia: We didn’t need any oxygen tanks because the oxygen levels were still within the limit of human body acceptance, but we had to climb up and then descend on day number three to allow the body to adjust to the altitude.
Lawrence: That is crazy. How long were you at the summit?
Natalia: It was probably thirty-minutes, or less.
Lawrence: Did you take some pictures?
Natalia: Yes. It was to take pictures and to be able to enjoy Africa from that. Actually, if I am not mistaken, the Uhuru peak is the tallest point on the African continent. So, that was a really nice experience, especially when we got there as it was sunrise. So, we were able to see how the sun is coming up.
Lawrence: That is great. There you go! So, here, everyone listening, we like to, again, welcome Natalia to the office. She is a tennis player. She is a mountain climber who has summited Kilimanjaro, and she is also a CPA. Your knowledge of Quick Books if great. You also come to the table with your tax preparation experience. So, we are really blessed to have you here. Actually, I like to talk about those things because it makes someone well-rounded. You are persistent, you are tenacious, and you have a desire for that mountain experience.
Like I said, we get that all of the time where people say it is like climbing a mountain and it is a big climb, and it is steep, and there are things that you can do that can be quite damaging as you are going up a mountain, and with the IRS, if you don’t do a certain thing the right way that is also a problem.
Let me just give a couple of examples of the week. This was earlier in the week just passed. It was the day after Father’s Day, on the Monday. We had a referral. There is a gentleman that acquired a business and had not filed his S-Corp election. IRS had it down as a C-Corp and he needs to be able to prove that his tax returns were filed. It is somewhat a bit of a mess because he is trying to get finance, and IRS doesn’t have him down as filing under the S-Corp but have it down on the S-Corp and it doesn’t reflect the it. It is a whole big mess.
We see these red-tape nightmares like that a lot. The gentleman has to try and get through that red-tape to try and prove that he had filed the right form. We have to get a tax per advocate involved.
I will give you another example. We had a gentleman right here from South East Florida. He owed about $250,000, if I am not mistaken. He had problems that went back to 2010 and 2011. I am going to try and pull up these notes and get a pay-off calculator and have it as of 18th. This gentleman owes the IRS just over $200,000, as of the 18Th. It was for the years 2010, 2011, and 2015. He has been on an instalment agreement and is now about to try and sell his house. There are issues that are going on with how these debts are being carved out. It is a jointly held home with a title. The wife is partly the non-liable spouse in some of this. There are a lot of things at play in there. He has got accumulated penalties of about $45,000 between these three years. That is what it looks like, if I am looking at this right, in penalties.
Sometimes, you can get penalties abated, sometimes, you can’t. You have to qualify for a penalty abatement based upon what is called ‘reasonable cause’. It can’t just be because you play tennis or because you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. You have to have a reason behind why you actually would be able to get relief from the penalties. There has got to be a specific reason behind it, and it is called ‘reasonable cause’ for penalty abatement. That is the technical term.
You can get what is called ‘first time abatement’. In this gentleman’s case, you have to have no penalties assessed in the three prior years for the year you owe. So, in this case, he has liabilities for 2010, which means for 2009, 2008, and 2007 he can’t have any liabilities.
A lot of these things get into play. They are technical. You wouldn’t know if you don’t ask. A lot of times, penalty abatement is something that people oftentimes overlook.
I am going to go to another example. These are good learning experiences for everyone listening in, and, of course, for Natalia.
We had a client that was in a payment plan for 2016. The gentleman owed the IRS $48,000 for 2016, and some change. As of June 11th, he got a letter in the mail. I will read right from it because my last name is in it. It is from the Cincinnati Ohio Service Center, from the IRS.
“Notice of intent to levy. Intent to terminate your installment agreement. The monthly payment for your installment agreement is overdue. We didn’t receive one, or more payments. As your installment agreement requires, if you don’t make the payments we will terminate on 30-days from the date of this notice. In addition, this is your notice of intent to levy of your installment agreement and you exhaust your right to appeal a termination and we may seek to collect the total amount of the unpaid liability.”
There are options. People get this letter in the mail and don’t know what to do about it. You have options. This is for 2016. In this gentleman’s case, his CPA is going to be amending the 2016 return and lowering that liability. We don’t prepare this gentleman’s taxes. Even if they were able to send this in next week, before the end of the month of June, it will most probably take a while for this tax return to be assessed and adjusted from the amended tax return. There are a lot of things that are at play here. A lot of people don’t necessarily know what to do. One of the things you always want to do is to reach out to a firm that has got the qualified help.
Natalia, even though you are relatively new in the Levy Office, now, as a CPA you can help people to understand their tax returns and you can help them to get the books right. One of the files you are working on this week happens to be for a roofing company. It is just a mess for 2017. Oftentimes, people don’t have their books in order and that causes a big problem. It is like building the house and you don’t have good walls, so it is going to cave in. Do you see that a lot?
Natalia: Yes. The perception of accounting by most people is that it is something that is also complex. So, being the procrastinating creatures that we are, companies like to postpone doing their accounting and proper book-keeping the the very last moment. What oftentimes happens when they procrastinate long enough is that they start hearing from the IRS and other tax collecting agencies. So, what my recommendation would be is, don’t postpone it until you receive the letter. Start doing your books right from the very beginning. The sooner you start, the easier it is going to be.
Lawrence: Exactly. That is an issue. We have a lot of our clients who are the quintessential procrastinators. I am going to give you an example. There is a gentleman right here from South East Florida. He is a very nice guy. He came into the office here on Delray Beach about a month ago. He had some unfiled years that he owed for and it was a significant amount of money. We were able to get the levy released and after that we had him come in. It turns out, there is another year that goes back to 2001. He doesn’t have all of the records. It is going to be a struggle to get it. So, Danielle, one of the power of attorneys, was on the phone with him last week and his ‘non-liable’ wife. He is a really nice guy. Now, we are trying to file an offer and compromise for him. He is a very nice man. He just wants to get these things cleaned-up. You really feel good because you can tell that there is some frustration and stress going on there, and you can just see how much someone wants to really try and help and get things off of their back. You see a lot of people who have procrastinated over the years, and that has been a huge problem. Do you see procrastination a lot?
Natalia: Exactly. You wouldn’t think about it, but, the people who are sometimes affected the most are the high earning individuals who see taxes being taken out of their pay cheques on the maximum level of tax, and they think, “Hey, we are in good shape. The government is taking what it needs. So, we don’t need to bother with filing tax returns”.
Lawrence: Absolutely, not.
Natalia: What sometimes happens is that, even though the government withheld on the highest level, still they have to pay more tax. So, this is essential, especially (? 00:18:54) close by and they are one of the most affluent communities, in Wellington, that gathers lots of wealthy equestrians and riders. They would rather horse around than work on their tax returns. So, myself, as an obsessed equestrian, I help lots of people from Wellington to address their tax situation.
Lawrence: So, the people that are horsing around…I love that. You don’t want to horse around with the IRS because the IRS will be the hunter jumpers. I don’t know much about equestrians, but the hunter jumpers?
Lawrence: You ride too?
Natalia: I am a hunter jumper.
Lawrence: So, tennis, hunter jumper, and a mountain climber.
Natalia: The horsing community is one of the markets we would like to start reaching more too.
Lawrence: If anyone out there is on their way to an equestrian event, we want to try and reach out to the equestrian, to the horse lovers of the world. Who won the triple-crown? The horses name? I can’t think of it.
Natalia: I can’t remember the name, but it was something like American Tarot last time, but I do not remember this time.
Lawrence: I thought he was the Belmont, but what is the main one previous to Belmont? The Kentucky Derby, thank you. One thing you will learn about me is that I know absolutely nothing about sports. Zero. I used to play tennis and can talk to it a little bit. About Jimmy Connors and McEnroe and Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova, but, even these days I don’t know anything about sports. So, if you ever want to poke fun at me, you could always ask me who won the triple-crown. (It was Justify). That is a different type of horse racing, but we are way off topic here.
Let me give you our phone number.
Local: 561 865 7800 Toll free: 800-TAX-LEVY.
We have 9 – 10 minutes left on the show as we come to the top of the hour. Let me, again, bring back in as a reintroduction, Natalia. She is one of the latest additions to the Levy team. She is a CPA. She is also a big tennis player. She also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and made it to the summit, and she also rides. She is a hunter jumper in the Wellington area.
Natalia: Yes. I also know lots of aspects about taxation of the equestrian business. So, if you have any questions don’t hesitate in reaching out to us. We are more than happy to help.
Lawrence: I love that. So, anyone listening out there who is an equestrian aficionado, and anyone listening, no matter what type of equestrian as it could be any horse racing, in general. It could be the hunter jumper, harness racing. Do they still do harness racing at the race track. We had a part of Michigan that was big on harness racing. What is that big equestrian show in Miami over New Year, on the beach?
Natalia: It is a global champions tour. Actually, it is huge in Europe. The first year that it was brought into the United States was in 2015. I was fortunate enough to be at the grand opening. So, now they hold it every hear in April, on Miami Beach.
Lawrence: We are going to get of the horses for a second. Horse-riding is great. I have always wanted to go to a Dude Ranch. I want to do a ‘City Slickers’ thing and go to a ranch. I wear cowboy boots a lot in the winter. Not that, that means I can ride horses. Let’s get off horses for a second.
Let’s talk about IRS again. We had a client, and I am looking at a notice here. We are almost at the end of this one, believe it or not, back in May. A local gentleman here with a local revenue officer in the South East Florida area. There are a few IRS offices. There is Miami, Plantation, and West Palm. There used to be Deerfield, until Deerfield and Plantation merged. These are in this primary listening area. We pump out pretty far at WFTL, Big Talk Radio. We go all the way north of West Palm to Port St Lucie and almost to Orlando. Has anyone seen Mickey Mouse? One of the guys is a big Disney guy, Allan. Allan is a guy that has never had an argument with his wife. He has been married for twenty-six years. He has two kids. A nineteen-year-old daughter and a fourteen or fifteen-year-old son. ‘Never once’. He has had a disagreement, but he has never had an argument with his wife.
Anyhow, we are not talking about horses and we are not talking about Allan’s marital bliss. Let’s talk about this gentleman here. He came to us and, on paper, the IRS believed that he owed over $620,000. He was just like one of those that you talked about, the procrastinators. He hadn’t filed a few years of tax returns, and when all of the dust settles he is actually going to owe very little. He actually may have a refund come back because IRS had levied some money and had refund offsets, I think it was, and maybe not levied funds, and applied to these, what we call an SFR years.
An SFR, for anyone listening as we wind down the show here, is the acronym for a substitute for return. Based upon that, IRS said for one year, “Hey. You owe $400,000. For the other year you owe $140,000, and for the other year you owe all of $30,000”. It was over $620,000. We prepared the returns, and talk about Father’s Day, this was the Mother’s Day weekend and our staff were in here, and Dan came in and was preparing these few years of taxes to get them out. As the show is now is airing this week, I believe that most of these returns have almost finished adjusting. So, we will try and give an update to this one.
Unfortunately, the IRS filed liens against this gentleman. The liens are going to be released once all of these returns adjust and if the IRS accepts them as filed. If you are hearing this, as of the 23rd, or if you are hearing this as it re-airs on the sport station, The Hurricane, on 24th June, we are almost done with this. We are in hurricane season and we hope hurricanes stay away this year, although the Pacific has had quite a bit of turmoil, but hopefully it doesn’t mean much for the Atlantic basin. What a great feeling this guy is going to have, to have his big tax problem sorted out. It was literally plaguing him for over a decade, over ten years.
Like you said, Natalia, a lot of these clients procrastinate and bury their head in the sand, and don’t think book-keeping is critical. I can’t tell you how many times a client has walked into this office, or we were talking over the phone, and we say, “What do you make?” The roofing gentleman, for example, didn’t know.
They don’t know because they don’t have their books done, or their Quick Books is inaccurate. They don’t know if they are coming or going. They are keeping afloat, barely, but they don’t know where they are going with a lot of these things. Ultimately, this is what we do in the Levy Office. Now, we have a nice new addition, Natalia, as a CPA and she has taken on quite a bit of the book-keeping tasks this week, and she will eventually blend into a really nice asset here on the Levy team.
What did we talk about today?
- We talked about a gentleman who owed the IRS over $620,00- because he hadn’t filed. Those returns will be adjusted once the dust settles.
- We also talked about penalty abatement and first-time penalty abatement, and how that works.
- We talked about ‘reasonable cause’ and how that works.
In order for the IRS to abate penalty, you have to have a reason. That reason is called ‘reasonable cause’, and that is the process. You have to establish ‘reasonable cause’. It could be medical, health, embezzlement, theft. I will give you this great example.
We were talking to a gentleman earlier this week. He was from Tampa, Florida. He had owed taxes from 2010 – 2014. It was all of the way on until we took it over back in 2016 and kept his nose clean. It was not tremendous dollars, but big enough. In our world, $50,000 is roughly what is owed in that. He didn’t qualify for an abatement. When one of the POAs in our office talked to him and asked him why he owed, he said, “I didn’t have the money. I was broke. Does that count?” Unfortunately, he had prior penalties in 2009 and so he didn’t qualify for first time penalty abatement.
So, if you have an IRS issue, you really want to make sure that you seek professional advice, or, for that matter the Florida Department of Revenue, as long as it is in the civil arena, we are happy to help you to fix the problem. We have had tremendous success, lately, with the Florida Department of Revenue. Often, people come to us and say, “I didn’t know. Oh my God, you saved the day. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done as it has given me peace back in my life”. It is such a huge relief to have it off of them, and to know how this is all going to pan itself out.
Sometimes, we don’t now the end result, but, at least, we do know it is going to work itself out, and we give the people the feeling of assurance. It is a nice feeling to be able to help someone. I know that you have delved in recently to equestrian accounting and book-keeping, but it makes you feel good to be able to help someone, doesn’t it?
Natalia: Yes. Very much so. Especially, after you get the books clean and you explain to the client what has been done, and what situation they are currently in, and the next steps. So, they can go and horse around further without being worried about the levies.
Lawrence: Yes. But, horse-riding and the levies, you don’t have to worry about the levies because you are horsing around. We use our name quite a bit here. People always ask, “Is that really your last name?” I always say, “Yes. It is”.
So, talking about fathers as we wind down the show, I want to give a huge shout out to my dad. Unfortunately, he passed away about seven years ago now, but, if it wasn’t for my father, we wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here. This office wouldn’t be here. We always say, “L-E-V-Y’, and not “L-E-V-I” because those are the jeans and that is a denim company. I want to say, “Thank you and a happy Father’s Day to my father up in the heavens and looking down on us”.
Again, happy belated Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there. Welcome, again, Natalia. A nice addition to the Levy Office as a CPA, tennis player, mountain climber, hunter jumper equestrian, aficionado, and a really great addition to the Levy team. We look forward to having you in the Levy Office for many years to come.
- If you have an IRS problem.
- If you haven’t filed in many years.
- If you are in the middle of an audit.
- If you owe back payroll taxes, ff you own a business.
- If you owe income tax because you just haven’t filed, and IRS computed assessment for you, or you really do owe the money.
Give us a call!
Local: 561 865 7800 Toll free: 800-TAX-LEVY.
Yes. Levy really is my last name. Signing off for now from the Levy Tax Help Show, you have Natalia, our latest addition as a CPA in the house, and Lawrence Levy.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, South Florida. You take care. We will talk to you next time.