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Can the IRS withhold my social security for back taxes?
Yes. They can. Your best bet is to contact the IRS before it occurs. If you owe, back taxes, you might be able to get your debt down, penalties reduced, suspended or frozen, an agreement to pay a small amount each month or have your account placed in CNC (Currently Non Collectible) status due to economic hardship or serious illness. If you owe a large debt, your best bet might be hiring a reputable tax attorney. But if your debt is not that large or you can't or don't want to hire an attorney, it's always a good idea to contact the IRS yourself, at least, to try to work something out. If you don't get help and a friendly, respectful attitude from the first IRS contact, ask to speak with a manager or try calling back at a different time. Always record the badge number of the employee, good or bad. If you get a good one, try to get his or her direct IRS phone number. But only call that particular employee about the current and directly related issues (unless instructed otherwise). Once the situation is resolved, it's not a good idea to call the same employee about a totally unrelated tax issue. Be respectful and try to listen closely to what the employee is telling you about options, consequences and time frames. It's OK to ask questions. Make a written note of the date and time of the conversation and everything the employee advises or promises to do to resolve the debt.
What is the difference between an IRS levy and lien?
A levy is a legal seizure of your property to satisfy a tax debt. Levies are different from liens. A lien is a legal claim against your property to secure payment of your tax debt, while a levy actually takes the property to satisfy the tax debt.A federal tax lien comes into being when the IRS assesses a tax against you and sends you a bill that you neglect or refuse to pay it. The IRS files a public document, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, to alert creditors that the government has a legal right to your property. You have the right to appeal if the IRS advises you of the intent to file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. Your appeal rights are explained in IRS Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights (PDF).When filed, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public document that alerts other creditors that the IRS is asserting a secured claim against your assets. Credit reporting agencies may find the Notice of Federal Tax Lien and include it in your credit report. An IRS levy is not a public record and should not affect your credit report.
The IRS called and said that I owe them money and that they could possess the house unless I pay. I don't remember owing anything but am scared. What should I do?
Do your best Liam Neeson impersonation and utter the following sentences solemnly, and slowly:“I have done everything you have asked since our last conversation.”“The bodies. They have been hidden.”“ All of the bodies. The men, the women, the children, all of them.”“At the bottom of the ravine. Never to be seen again, just as you said.”“Who shall be next, Lord?”The people calling you are not from the IRS. They want to scam you. They are criminals. (Yes, you can and should report them to the US Treasury Department, but probably nothing will directly come of it, since the fly-by-night gangs who run the call centers are overseas, usually in southern Asia.)So you owe it to yourself to have fun with these assholes. Just keep it legal (no death threats for example), and make it a point to never reveal any personal information at all, ever - not even info that you only think is bogus. (That fake Social Security number you came up with might actually belong to someone.)I would not advise doing this, as ingenious as it seems, since it’s in a legally gray area at best:Seriously though, one of my wife’s uncles suffered a stroke after receiving one of these calls, and he’ll never walk again as a result. Who knows how many other elderly folks suffered the same fate, or worse?You have a moral obligation to ruin these scammers• days.Share the call-back number and the cautionary advice with your buddies during your next beer or weed party. Try your hands at obscene phone calling, if that’s your thing. Or get on the operator’s shit for not getting accepted into IIT. Whatever.You have a mission, my friend. Godspeed!
Should I hire a CPA or an EA to do my personal or business taxes? What are the pros and cons of hiring a Certified Public Accountant versus an Enrolled Agent?
First of all, thanks for the ask! Disclosure: I am getting my MS in Accounting (Tax) in May 2022. and I am working towards the EA credential. That said, I'll do my best to make this fair and balanced. [ETA March 12, 2022. I've been an EA since May 2014.]The short answer (people will hate hearing this) is: It depends.When people talk about tax, they really mean two things. Tax planning (planning transactions before they happen) and tax compliance (filling out forms, applying for credits, calculating, etc). I'm going to say this comes down to four choices: EA, CPA, tax attorney, and non-credentialed accountant. First of all, let's talk about the sort of thing each person is likely to help you with.Non-credentialed Accountant (NCA for short)It's a matter of WHY they are non-credentialed. Is it because they can't pass the exam? Have they tried? Can they do it? There's obviously a difference between NCAs who can't pass any of the exams, NCAs who have passed the exams but didn't bother getting a license, and NCAs who used to practice more actively but are now "retired" because they prefer to take life easier.Tax planning or tax compliance? It depends. Most of a typical NCA's experience will probably be in tax compliance. What a NCA knows is pretty much dictated by their experience and their personal drive to learn.NCAs can be very good. It takes guts (or ignorance) and a heck of a lot of perseverance to go out there and make it without any sort of credential. They've either proven they can do it and dropped the credential after building up a client base, or just sort of wandered into the profession after years of experience.Or, they could just be NCAs because they can't pass the exams. You can't really tell unless you ask, but can you trust the answers?Certified Public Accountant (CPA)What is a CPA anyway? Why have certified public accountants? Aren't you required to be a CPA to be an accountant anyway?Well, no. The only real difference (for a client, practically speaking, besides the ethics stuff) between a CPA and an NCA is that a CPA can legally sign off on audits. CPAs are valued for being an impartial attesting party. (@What is the difference between an audit and an attestation?) Also, the four parts of the CPA exam are REG (regulations), AUD (audit & attest), FAR (financial accounting & reporting), and BEC (business environment and concepts).Less than 25% of what you need to know to be a CPA is tax. Just like lawyers specialize, accountants do too. That said, the CPA credential has come to be shorthand for "accountant". CPAs are permitted to practice before the IRS (see Circular 230). If your CPA is an audit/attest kind of person, I'm not convinced they'll know everything about tax, since if you don't use it, you lose it, and the minutae of tax regulations changes every year. However, if your CPA is a tax specialist, you're probably okay. (What kind of tax specialist are they? Personal tax? Small biz? State and local? Sales/business? International? Corporate? M&A specialist? Everything?)While we're here, let me point out that after you get a credential, you have to get continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain said credential. CPAs need 120 hours every three years, but that 120 hours can be in pretty much anything. (Though they do need to do 2 hours of ethics every year.) Most CPAs will probably do a tax updates CPE course, but it's not required. A CPA can choose to do zero tax and be just fine.If you are in the habit of getting your bookkeeping done by a CPA, they offer a tax service, and they seem knowledgeable, it probably won't hurt to have the CPA do your taxes. They know all your financials anyway, and it's easier to just have it all done by the same person. For complicated, out-of-the-norm things, though, it might be better to tread with caution. A CPA who does small business is probably good at things like personal taxes and small business tax compliance. Any more than that and it depends on how up-to-date they are in their CPE.Tax Attorney/Lawyer (I use these words as synonyms)Right off the bat, if the person is not a tax lawyer, why are you talking to them about taxes? Better to just ask Uncle George or Aunt Gina.Tax attorneys are trained in the planning of taxation/transactions and in the legal side of things. A tax attorney is usually necessary for large, complex transactions, usually in M&As, consolidation, business structure, etc. The tax attorney is also the one who is most likely to be able to represent you in court should the need arise. (CPAs and EAs can't go to District Court or the Court of Federal Claims, and they will need to pass a special exam to represent you in Tax Court.)Where tax lawyers MAY fall short is in the accounting side of things. A tax lawyer may not know GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) because they aren't required to know any of it. In large engagements, it's normal to have both accountants and lawyers. The lawyers figure the high-level "do it this way, make X a C corp, Y a partnership, here's the best way to figure the M&A details, etc." The accountants are the ones who handle the numbers and actually work out the sums. When it comes to things like legal reasoning etc, it's hard to beat a tax lawyer.When do you most need legal reasoning for taxes? Well, first of all, if you're in trouble with the IRS (or if you want to challenge something and you want your day in court), the lawyer is going to have the most training in court procedure and tax law. The other place where legal reasoning is crucial? Estates and trust.Tax lawyers, by the way, are usually far more expensive than any NCA, CPA, or EA. Hiring them to do your personal taxes on a regular basis may be overkill on your wallet. If that's what you want, however, hey, it's your money.Enrolled Agent (EA) - NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ENROLLED ACTUARYWhat is an EA anyway? For a lot of people, they'll only just have begun to hear this term and will think it's a new credential. Actually, the EA is America's earliest tax credential. Wiki has the details: Enrolled agentLike a CPA, an EA has to pass a set of exams and do CPE to maintain their license. However, there are three main differences:The EA exam is 100% taxes. The EA Exam is the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). Part 1 deals with individuals, Part 2 with businesses, and Part 3 with rules and regulations (the entirety of Circular 230.) You can check the syllabus if you want: IRS Special Enrollment ExaminationEA CPE must be tax-related (with the exception of 2 hours a year in ethics.) 72 hours every 3 years, which works out to 24 hours a year. Most EAs are part of the NAEA (National Association of Enrolled Agents), which mandates 30 hours of CPE per calendar year. All of it in tax (okay, yes, less 2 hours of ethics.)EAs aren't required to know GAAP. (Many do, anyway, because the obvious synergy between bookkeeping and taxes is really hard to ignore. An EA doing business on their own usually has some sort of bookkeeping license or experience.)EAs are trained in tax compliance: it is the be-all and end-all of their existence. That said, there are EAs who specialize in things such as offer-in-compromise (OIC). Many EAs are former IRS agents (you can get an EA license without taking the exam after working 5 years in the IRS.)So which do I choose?It's hard to say without knowing what you want your taxperson to do. We're going to assume that all four are equally competent and ethical. If you want someone to file your taxes, then the EA or NCA is going to be more cost-efficient. (Tax software or doing your own taxes is the MOST cost-efficient, but if you're looking for a taxperson, you have already decided you want someone else to do it.)If you want to think about a more complicated scenario then it starts getting a little murky. Estate planning and need to figure out the most tax-efficient way to pass your millions on to the next generation? (We're literally talking millions, because the lifetime exemption for gifts/estate tax is $5.34 million in 2022 and it goes up every year.) Incorporating a partnership? Dissolving a business? What are your needs? It may be that you'll need certain help that isn't just about tax... or maybe all you need is a sounding board.EA vs CPA: A NoteSome EAs are accountants who decided to take the EA exam instead of the CPA exam because they aren't interested in audit/attest work. These accountants are usually comparable to a CPA in terms of knowledge. In fact, within the Big Four, the EA is an acceptable substitute for the CPA within the tax branches of the firms.For all that, though, EAs are looked down upon, because the requirements to actually sit for the exam are... zero. If you think you want to take the SEE, go for it; all you need is to be 18 years old! If you want to take the CPA exam, you have to fulfill a set of requirements related to your education (and in some cases, experience) that varies depending on which state you are getting licensed in.For example, I will have an MS in Accounting and will have well over 150 hours of college and graduate education by the time I graduate. My graduate GPA is almost 4.0. However, I am ineligible to sit for the CPA exam because the specific courses I took in college don't match up to Colorado's CPA requirements.I could go to a different state and take the exam there instead (for example, WA), but I live and work in CO and I don't have any interest in audit/attest work, so I decided to get the EA license instead. If I want to make partner in a firm, I'll ultimately have to get the CPA license down the road (legal requirements having to do with firm formation/partner qualifications), and clients respond better to someone with CPA behind their name.Last WordsThe credential of the accountant doesn't necessarily matter, but it's a good shorthand for their experience/education/background/training. Ultimately, choosing a good accountant is like choosing a doctor/lawyer/dentist/any other professional. Get to know them and what they specialize in or like to do. Make your choice from there! Above all, find a financial professional you can trust and rely on. They're going to know a LOT about some very private details of your life. Pick an accountant the way you'd pick a spouse: think carefully, throw away arbitrary requirements, and go with what works best for YOU.
What is the hardest thing you ever had to go through?
My dad and mum were separated, so we went with our mum to stay with her at her village . She lost her job as a call operator at Nitel due to privatization. All the workers were layed off with a minimal severance pay, So basically she was broke and with three kids to feed with a husband that doesn’t care. So it was a bad phase for us all. We had to start selling of some of her valuables and assets to make ends meet and be able to feed.I and my immediate younger brother just finished secondary school with no money to apply for the university or even further our education as of the time of this family crisi. We were in this state of affairs for 4 years, I can remember so many countless nights I will wake up to see her crying and lamenting on how this wasn’t the life she wants for us and how hard life is for all of us, how she has rich and well to do brothers and none of them wants to help her, Brothers she sacrificed a lot for when they were in need and needed her help, I will always comfort her and tell her not to worry that things will be fine. she started becoming depressed at life generally.She soon became sick, she had this acute pain at her side below the rib cage near her hip bone, the area formed a big bump with time until it burst open and it was filled with pus, we took her to the hospital and they said it was gangrene and her stomach was infected, she had to undergo surgery and treatments, some months later it started all over again, she travelled from IMO state to Lagos state for treatment (500 kilometers) with our youngest brother.The hardest thing I can say I have ever had to go through was seeing my mother in the morgue, she passed on and didn’t make it. Looking at her Laid out, her skin was pale and white, facial expression was calm and resolved, Through all these I had an overbearing sense of safety been around her body as if she was still alive. An avalanche of thoughts/memories hit me like a tidal wave, her talks, smiles, prayers,advices, nurturing, care, protection• all gone. I felt so empty. My youngest brother was numb with so much emotional pain cause she died in his arms, he was 18 and I was 21.I had hoped she will be there to see her children achieve some milestones in life no matter how little it is.This is the first time I am talking about this
IRS sent me to collections, though I have an installment plan in place. What does this mean?
Without having access to your account, it sounds as though you have incurred another balance due that but is not a part of your installment agreement. You should contact the IRS to review your account. A lot of taxpayers don't realize that a second balance due is not automatically added to their installment agreement. The rules for having an installment agreement have not changed.
What did you think when President Trump said, in the 2022 SOTU address, that partisan investigations prohibit the success of our country?
For once I’ve gotta say: Trump is absolutely right!Partisan Republican investigations into Hillary Clinton cost us taxpayers more than $100 million. And the result was zero charges against Hillary, her associates, and the Clinton Foundation. ZERO!But they gave us Donald Trump as POTUS.And nothing since the Civil War has prohibited the success of our country more than the election of Donald Trump. Here’s the truth on partisan investigations by the king of partisanship.And how did that select committee go?The chair of the committee, Trey Gowdy, was so shamed by the failure to come up with so much as a jaywalking charge to file that he didn’t even run for reelection in 2018.HOW TO TEST AN INVESTIGATION FOR PARTISANSHIPHow do we know if an investigation is strictly partisan—strictly for political gain—or legitimate? It’s actually easy to know and we can use a Biblical quotation, which ought to appeal to anyone who professes to be a political conservative.Matthew 7:15 - You shall know them by their fruits.The fruit of the partisan investigations into Hillary and the Clinton Foundation was zero. Not a single fruit fell from all of those trees—and I believe there were 17 trees and we all, collectively, spent $100 million planting and raising them. And yet, not a single charge was filed against Hillary, nor any associate, nor the foundation.In stark contrast, the fruit of just one single investigation into Trump has been the filing of hundreds of federal charges, against dozens of people, with several guilty verdicts and guilty pleas, plus many years of collective prison time sentenced.And yet, as of today, all of that stands at probably less than half the total fruit that will eventually fall—from that single tree!And there are more trees, which are just in their flowering stages and are not yet mature enough to bear fruit:NY state Attorney General investigationsNY state tax investigationsFBI investigationsIRS investigationsThe U.S. House investigationsThe U.S. Senate investigationsHow can any Bible-thumping conservative not get that? Blind partisanship, that’s how!Know your party by its fruits.
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