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Levy Tax Help Show - Transcript - 10/18/2018

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Liens, levy’s, wage garnishment, 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 Levy: Good Morning South Florida and welcome once again to the Levy Tax Help Show. We hope that everyone had a great week this week. The weather was pretty darn good in Florida. We hope that everyone in the panhandle area is recovering. I know that you WFTL is doing some hurricane relief efforts and some moves in that direction. So that’s tremendous and we really hope that everyone is going to get back to normal as quickly as possible. And our condolences go out to any lives that were lost and we wish everyone a speedy recovery back to a normal pace because right here in South Florida this time last year we experienced Irma. The keys got hit pretty hard. Miami, Broward County, Palm Beach County in fact in our office building here, we lost power for almost a week. What’s that didn’t make the news that pockets of Delray was out but we’re not here to talk about the weather, we’re here to talk about what do you do if we have an IRS tax problem and what do you do if you can’t afford to pay the IRS. What do you do if you haven’t filed your taxes in a few years? That’s what we do in the Levy office and on the Levy team, we have a great team. We have a tremendous deep bench as the sports saying go. But I know nothing about sports, nothing and I mean zero. I used to play tennis but tennis is really that big anymore. Unfortunately, we’re not here to talk about that, let’s talk about what we do for a living. So, let’s first say hello and good morning to Greg Mahaffey who used to work at the IRS for over 30 years. Greg, I bet when you were at the IRS you would never think you were going to be having your paycheck signed by a person with the last name Levy. Didn’t even cross your mind. I’m sure. Right.

Greg Mahaffey: That’s definitely correct.

Lawrence Levy: And now we actually have three former IRS employees. Mindy Gonzalez was a revenue officer for 25 years I think. And she was a manager, a GM for the last eight years of her career. We also have Clara Coffee, that was the revenue officer for about 15 or 16 years. I never get it right. And she was the revenue officer for another 15 or 16 years. I never get it right. So, between Mindy and Greg and Clare, we have almost a hundred years of combined IRS experience. And Greg as a former IRS employee now advocating as what’s called the power of attorney. What do you see and what are the biggest benefits of hiring a tax resolution firm? If you have an IRS issue, you haven’t filed in a while. There’s a mix up on the tax return, you owe back payroll taxes. You’re in the middle of an audit. What do you see is one of the big advantages of hiring a tax resolution firm from the eyes of a former IRS employee?

Greg Mahaffey: Well basically for those of us who worked at the IRS for many, many decades we know how the system works. We know what the laws are. We know what is allowable, what is not allowable. We know what your rights are. We also know what is prim and proper and what should be. And we also have firsthand knowledge of snafu’s within the IRS system. IRS system is designed by humans, that means susceptible to failure. We know how it works. We know what happens. We know the procedures. We also know how accounts can get totally screwed up beyond recognition. And further with our experience, we have the experience to know where and how to get accounts fixed. Accounts many times do get screwed up beyond recognition as I said before. They basically IRS if you don’t file returns, they’ll file for you. They take a wild number which is based usually upon reported income. If you’re individual taxpayer or based upon previous returns filed if you’re a business taxpayer, they will send you out a 30-day letter basically that says “file the correct returns or we’re going to send you a bill for this amount plus penalties and interest”. And if you had several quarters of back returns have never been filed for whatever reason, those figures can get to be quite huge. So, you need a firm that knows what they’re doing. You need a firm that can navigate the IRS’s maze of systems that they do have. They can go in there and get the correct amount assessed. Get it assessed and then go back in there and tackle the problem of how to get it resolved. Right. So, there’s many different avenues for that.

Lawrence Levy: And when you have an IRS problem one of the worst things you can do is procrastinate and a lot of people, they’re scared, they’re frightened, they’re paralyzed. Is that really what you see a lot and you’ve seen quite a bit over your years.

Greg Mahaffey: Definitely. People sometimes just freeze up. They don’t know what to do so they try running, hiding, obfuscating, pretending as though there’s nothing wrong and that just makes the situation a lot worse especially if you start pyramiding what they call pyramiding meaning additional periods additional years.

Lawrence Levy: Snowballing pyramiding snowball, all in the same family.

Greg Mahaffey: That’s right. And then you have a real mess on your hands and you have no idea how to get it fixed. A lot of times the IRS individual units don’t even know how to get it fixed. It may not be their specialty. So you need someone in a firm that has lots of experience going back decades and decades, on getting accounts straightened out, fixed and then ultimately resolved.

Lawrence Levy: And you know we have been around a long time over 20 years. Actually, if you go back to my father, you’re going back to the 60s when he was alive. And by the way Dad, I always say thank you for being a Levy. Thank you for the last name. Thank you for actually making us all what we are and helping out. That’s a really good feeling to be able to help our taxpayers. By the way, I want to talk about a couple of examples before I do that don’t give it out enough the phone number is (800) TAX LEVY. Yes, Levy really is my last name. The local number right here in always sunny Delray Beach looks like (561) 865-7800. We are on Federal Highway about a half a mile south of Linton on the east side of the street. We are right across from the Toyota dealership, right next to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. And Greg, when you were at the IRS and now being in the private sector, you’ve seen clients that span the demographics. From police officers to doctors to lawyers to the restaurateurs. To you name it we’ve had just about every client the auto repair shops, the painters, the electricians, the plumbers. We had a plumber in the office earlier this week. We talked to an electrician earlier this week. The day care facilities, the gas station owners you name it. We’ve seen just about everything. A guy that does audio visual the high-end stuff. I want to talk about a lawyer a really nice guy who came to us as a referral not even a month ago and not including 2018 which he’s going to owe again, there’s no way he could play catch up. He knows just about a quarter million dollars. When you ask him why? Well his wife had some medical issues there were things that came up. Life just got away and things happen. And Greg when you were working at the IRS you heard those excuses, those reasons because the word excuse sometimes has a negative connotation to it. But you heard those reasons from people that they had medical issues, in this guy’s case and were giving the example really nice guy. We actually talked to him on Thursday on the 18th around lunchtime to have a follow up call to review his what’s called the 433 A and go through it. Real nice guy, wife had some medical issues, breast cancer if I’m not mistaken and she’s OK. Thank God, they have kids. And Greg when you were at the IRS, you heard a lot of reasons. Some better than others some probably nonsense and B.S. as they say but some are legitimate. And now on the other side there’s a good story that you always talk about a really good case study that we talk about with the gentleman right here from Florida. He had cancer and you got him an offer in compromise he owed like a quarter million dollars I think you got him an awesome compromise for in the 40s. If I’m not mistaken.

Greg Mahaffey: About thirty-four forty-four thousand dollars it is a couple years ago.

Lawrence Levy: And he had cancer the guy he had cancer.

Greg Mahaffey: Yeah and that’s what got him into trouble. And the IRS is all over him constantly thinking he was hiding money. He was hiding stuff under a corporate guy. They file not many liens. They made his life a living nightmarish hack so to speak and we had to go in there and sort it out and get it cleared up. He was assigned to a local revenue officer and his local revenue officer was doing her job to the nth degree and I believe maybe a little to nth degree but that was not for me to judge. I had to go in there. We fixed his issues. We saw right off the bat he had been maintaining current compliance for almost six years and that’s unheard of in the tax resolution world that someone should had their act together and then they come in for help. Well he needed help and the IRS was not budging an inch. So, we had to go in there and convince them that the only proper solution is an offer in compromise. The Revenue Officer fought against him but eventually we got the Offer in Compromise pushed through the system. We’ve got it processable. She wrote up all the negative reviews she could. And finally, in appeals we did prevail, and we got him his offer in compromise. I think it’s 34 and a half thousand dollars, down from original high of over two hundred seventy-five thousand. Well he was quite pleased at the end of the day.

Lawrence Levy: Yeah, I got to tell you, it really makes you feel good when you have someone who has a need. Doesn’t always have to be because of the medical issue. The story that we heard, when was it, on Wednesday of this week on the 17th. A real tragic story that our client had lost their son suddenly and the father went into a state of depression over it and their life just really took a downward spiral. You know as a father which I am and Greg of course you are to, your grandfather by the way. And also, I don’t want to forget you were in the military you were in the Gulf War, in the Navy right?

Greg Mahaffey: Yes. In the Navy. Well the song goes in the Navy.

Lawrence Levy: [00:10:27] So, you know ultimately this there’s tragedies that occur and sometimes it has a domino effect on people’s lives. In IRS, should they care. The State Department of Revenue. Should they care. Do they care, will they care? There is some discretion and you hope that the person who’s making the decision in your case is going to exercise some discretion if it’s justified under the circumstances. There are good people out there within the IRS. I would say there’s probably some not so nice people that are out there. Some frustrating components of it but everyone’s here to do a job. And Greg you and I talk about this on the show quite a bit. You go out to dinner with your wife and your meal doesn’t come out right and the waiter or the waitress is obnoxious, and they say what you mean. You told me you wanted to just take well done no you didn’t hear me. I wanted my steak rare and they’re rude about it. And the manager doesn’t come over to say anything and you’ll never go back again I had a bad experience. But what if the waiter says you know I’m really sorry, I must’ve misunderstood or I’m sorry maybe the kitchen messed up. Let me go and get you a new steak and oh by the way the manager comes over and says I’m sorry for your bad experience. Let me buy you a cup of coffee and some dessert. You’ll go back there you’ll give the place another chance. So, it’s just human nature and unfortunately you run into that a lot with the IRS. We run into it, we see it too it’s not just you the average taxpayer that’s out there. We run into it to. There’s plenty of IRS Revenue Officers that literally will bend over backwards and are so nice and so accommodating they’ll give you time to get what’s needed. They’ll give you a reasonable deadline. They won’t be unreasonable. But then there’s another handful that are out there that are absolutely. That to me, it makes no sense to me it’s the antichrist of resolution. Why not take a resolution-oriented approach? Greg, you always took that approach when you were at the IRS right.

Greg Mahaffey: Yeah, I learned through experience that being hard core and trying to punish people will not get you anywhere. You won’t get the cases resolved, you won’t collect the money, you won’t be, you’ll just make more problems for yourself than what it’s worth. And then finally I realized one day after my years and years and years of fighting the V.A. where I got sick after the Gulf War and had to fight the V.A. for seven years. Hey, this is not the way to handle basically service the public. Service, we work for the public when I was at the IRS and that’s when I realized one day, and I decided, let me put myself in their shoes. What does it take to get the case resolved? How do we make sure that this taxpayer never falls off the wagon again so to speak? How do we not only get the taxes paid but keep him out of trouble going forward? That’s the most important thing in the IRS world. Making sure they go forward and they do not owe any more taxes ever again. They don’t like repeat business at the IRS. We think everyone loves repeat business but not at the IRS. And that’s the approach we take as well. We fix your problem. We want to make sure that you don’t need to come back to us again.

Lawrence Levy: That’s right. Yeah absolutely. And besides a lawyer that we just talked about the ones with her cancer we have had in the past week or so a new client that was in law enforcement and a real nice guy. And there was an issue with how his taxes were prepared. So, he thinks, Greg actually has been dealing with this, but it doesn’t mean because you are a police officer that you’re immune because you are a lawyer or a doctor you are immune to a tax problem. It happens, and a nice former retired police officer happened to and another police officer coincidentally who is now not in law enforcement that now is in personal protection. He is a bodyguard for a very wealthy, well-known, individual. And he owes the IRS, which dates back literally back until the early 2000s. So, we’ve talked to this week doctors, lawyers, former police officers and a gentleman who owns the restaurant a lady who owns a gas station, a gentleman who owns an AV company. A gentleman who owns a cleaning company. It’s just it’s literally endless what goes on. A guy that went through a bad divorce last week is in the middle of hiring us and he’s got four or five years of un-filed tax returns and the divorce mediation can’t finalize itself until he gets the tax returns all done. And guys of real is just is down to earth nice guy actually his divorce attorney referred him to us and we actually had a lot of interesting stories this week that have gone on and a lot of people. Greg, one of the ones that we’re talking about too is remember the lady that was referred who had the issue where the IRA and the 401K was double dipped. It was mixed up in IRS thought she owed sixty thousand dollars. And now that was you know, IRS misinterpreting it, the company maybe not reporting it right. It went from whatever it was 50 60 70. I don’t know the number called 50 I don’t care but down to what now zero. She’s getting a refund this lady and how old is she and her late 70s early 80s, not terribly healthy unfortunately, but in that scenario did that make you feel good as a human being.

Greg Mahaffey: Yes. And what people also don’t realize is when the IRS makes adjustments, they a lot of times report those adjustments to local state authorities as well. We’ll go back and make what’s called a piggyback assessment and now this lady who got resolved with the IRS all of a sudden, the state of Michigan is trying to tell her no you owe us eight thousand dollars from this same transaction. So, we have to take the IRS report now and go to the state of Michigan and get them to reverse their assessments as well and that can get tricky at times trying to juggle between state and federal authorities at the same time. But you’ve got to hire a firm that knows how to do it. That’s experienced in doing it. Otherwise when you try it on your own, you’re going to be in for one rude awakening and will cost you dearly.

Lawrence Levy: Right. And those things happen, and you don’t want to be in that situation and it’s a problem and if you have an issue and you’re concerned, and you have an IRS revenue officer like Greg was, like Claire was, like Mindy Gonzalez was knocking at your door. You want the representation. We’ve been around for a long time to call the levy office. And as we always say which I love, and I thought of this myself I’ll take credit for it. “You want to levy on your side not what against you don’t fear a levy. You hire a levy” and we always want to live by that motto. But besides the great three former IRS employees Mindy, Claire, and Greg, we also have a phenomenal team that is standing right by their side from the CPA to the enrolled agents. We actually have Mark and Dan as the EA’s. There’re some surprises about some people getting their EA’s which we’ll talk about a little bit when it actually happens relatively soon. Then you have the team of the power of attorneys. Arnold, right here in Delray Beach Florida. Danielle, right here in Florida. Then you have Bianca. Then you have Rene and there’s just a great team of people. And also, on our team, we have a guy named David Brockman who used to be the former assistant attorney general in charge of collections for a particular state. And he comes with a great history and background from collections on the other side of the table. And I want to also give a little bit of a shout out. This has nothing to do with the state of Florida, has nothing to do with the IRS but we were talking earlier this week, different state, to a client of ours that had an issue with the state and the revenue officer for that particular state was not the most helpful person to walk the face of the earth. To say the least. The manager however was and the manager was so nice, that one of my staff members, Danielle said “Oh my God this lady is so nice and so friendly and so helpful.” So, I talked to her and said I want to tell you. When was the last time that someone took a minute out of their day to say thank you for being polite and thank you for being helpful because usually people are complaining, their bank account was levied, their paycheck got garnished and levied. But I said I want to call you ma’am and I want to take a minute to say thank you. You were helpful. You were professional. You were polite. You were resolution oriented. You got to the meat of the matter. You took care of it in a timely fashion and you returned a phone call, thank you. And she said, Oh, my God I’ve been a manager for a while and no one has ever taken the time to say thank you. And I said look it takes this as long to say how terrible the experience was to say how rude and obnoxious the person was, I didn’t care. I didn’t return phone calls, but I want to tell you that in today’s world I think people need to take the time to say thank you. How about when you walk out of a restaurant. Thank you. How about just to say thank you in general you go to the gas station and I walked in the other day was really cool right by the office I walked in the guy I stopped some time to get a hot chocolate on the way in because we’re an early start office and I stopped in when the guy in front of me you know just got a cup of coffee and said hey thanks have a nice day. I think everyone should be perky and cheery and friendly and upbeat in this world for crying out loud. No reason not to be like that in my opinion. You want to be friendly and perky and cheery. Greg do you run across that we’re not everyone is so friendly and cheery and warm and fuzzy at the IRS.

Greg Mahaffey: Oh yeah, definitely. Because it’s a high stress high pressure job and they haven’t had any hiring authority in many years which means, everyone is doing three times the work they used to do at the IRS. Being expected to be able to handle even more and more and more stresses and it gets back on these people and they in turn sometimes take it out on the taxpayers. So again, it’s the burnout factor combined with lots and lots of years or decades of doing the same thing over and over again and again it comes down to who you get and what kind of mood they’re in any kind of preconceived notions and how close they are to retirement. If they even can afford to retire. So again, it comes down to individuals’ situations.

Lawrence Levy: You hope that everyone is going to try and treat everyone else as we are, I would say Ladies and gentlemen treat ladies and gentlemen with respect and that’s how it should work. And the Levy office, we do our best to be professional. We do our best to be courteous and respectful, no matter who it is from the receptionist to the admins to the POA’s, we do our best to try and be respectful and I think everyone should out there. Not sure everyone does but they should. Now we are past, Greg, this past Monday was a pretty big day in the Levy office for tax preparation purposes. You have four big days. March 15th, April 15th, September 15th and October 15th. So, this week in the Levy office we had folks in both Michigan and Florida until about eleven thirty at night. And Greg what should anyone do as a listener out there today. And Greg coming from your mouth as a former IRS employee for over 30 years, what should people do if they have not filled their taxes in a year or two or three or five and they obviously missed the extension deadline once again and keep in mind folks the extension extends the period of time to file but not to pay. So, if you owed money you owe the money back retroactive to April 15th. But Greg what should people do besides pick up a phone right now, call to action. Come on it’s late in the game in the year. We’re coming up on the holiday season so let’s say happy holiday season pretty darn soon. But call us at 800 TAX-LEVY 800 TAX-LEVY or (561) 865-7800 call us of course. What should people do if they haven’t filed their taxes in a few years.

Greg Mahaffey: Definitely. Get in and get it filed fast and get make sure you had the professional help you need to do it the right way. And if you find that you’ve made a mistake think it in and get help again. We can get stuff fixed and you also have to keep in mind just because you haven’t filed in many years. Well maybe you were do a refund. There’s a statute of limitations on getting refunds out there so if you haven’t filed in many years and you turned out and you find out that you had should have had a refund. If it’s four years older than 2014 you are S.O.L You will not get that refund. That’s another reason why you need to keep a copy of your taxes with a professional and get it done right the first time and we stay on top of it so we can make sure that from here on out, you don’t have any more problems going forward. So just because you haven’t filed if you have a refund in addition to that. There’s no penalties and interest on refund returns. That’s something else to keep in mind. But again, there is a statute of limitations for getting your money back. So, if you haven’t filed, you need to contact us right away, so we can get you in here and get the ball rolling to get you squared away.

Lawrence Levy: And I will also promise you that you will feel so much better. I can’t tell you how many times people come in the office and when they leave. Yep, there’s some trepidation, there’s going to be some anxiety, but it should dissipate as time goes on because you’ve got yourself in an IRS financial pickle and jam. And as we always say look this is just money. Money can fix this. Time we’ll fix this. It’s not hell. And unfortunately, last week, a family friend more so on my wife’s side but a relatively young guy dropped dead of a heart attack. And recently I had a guy that was younger than me in his early 40s. That was a friend of the family a fraternity brother as well but younger than I am. And he passed away suddenly later on Labor Day of a heart attack. And I say that because a) I want everyone to be healthy so please eat healthy drink a lot of water and exercise certainly. And if you smoke gosh darn it quit. I can’t tell you how much that bothers me to see people smoke but we’re not here to talk about your health although we want you to be healthy. We’re here to talk about your tax health and how to keep you out of stress with the IRS. If you have not filed and yes October 15th was on Monday. You want to come on in. You want to call us, and the Levy office is open seven days a week for all of your tax resolution needs. We literally have staff in, Greg you’re in pretty much every Saturday for the most part. And we also have someone on Sunday’s that in but the Levy office is available to you. I can’t tell you how much we love, we love love love the weekend interaction. I really enjoy when we have clients call. We actually like to schedule calls. Greg, I know you like Saturday mornings is a good time. You don’t have the IRS interaction you don’t have to deal with the various states that you’re dealing with. It’s time that you can actually focus and it’s a little bit quieter. We’ll say on the weekends physically in the office and I enjoy weekend time, I come in the office on weekends and for our clients. The logic there is, let’s take care of it not during the week. You got kids, you got things, you got families, you have wives and husbands, have loved ones that you have to take care of. And you got to work. So that’s why we also try and have our client interaction sometimes early. We’re early start. We have people in the office typically around 5:40-5:45 or six o’clock every morning. Stephanie definitely beats you in religiously Monday to Friday. She’s in about quarter to 6:00 a.m. right.

Greg Mahaffey: Yeah about that. I usually come in between six thirty and seven although she leaves here at three thirty I’m usually here at about 6:00 at night or later like tonight right.

Lawrence Levy: Exactly and that’s what you know. Again, we appreciate all that everyone does. Signing off for now from the Levy Tax Help Show you have the famous former IRS revenue officer Greg Mahaffey who used to work there for over 30 years. And Greg thank you for all you do. Thank you for being an advocate for taxpayers and helping them and I hope it does make you feel good. I want to end by saying in the Delray office one of our accountants Dan Marine got a very nice thank you letter with a basket like a fruit basket. I didn’t see it but I was told about it and it’s so nice to be appreciated. And actually, that’s the second thank you note that Dan got in the past couple of weeks. If you haven’t had a tax problem give us a call locally (561) 865-7800 or toll free 1 800 TAX-LEVY and yes Levy really is my last name. Signing off for now. Lawrence Levy and Greg Mahaffey in the house. It’s all about the weekend South Florida. You take care.

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