Owing more money than you can afford to pay is scary. Owing that money to the government can be even scarier. While you may know that an Offer in Compromise is the only way to settle with the IRS for less than what you owe, what you may not know is that there is tax debt settlement help. But when dealing with money, you need to be careful who you ask for assistance. This is especially true if the government is involved.
If you owe the IRS more than $10,000, most people would suggest that you hire a tax attorney. The local bar association can recommend which lawyers are reliable, but then you have to consider how they want to be paid. Some charge you a retainer fee before working with you at all, while others charge after their services are complete, based on how much money they save you. Shop around for the best rates before deciding who to ask for help.
A lawyer or company can probably help you, but you need to be sure it is the right person or company. Just like any company you trust with your personal information, you should check them out before making any agreements. Ask people you know and trust for references of who helped them. Look up reviews online. Finally, check their validity on the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).
Keep in mind that if the settlement they offer you seems too good to be true, it might be. Many scams in this area involve companies charging you a high fee when they tell you that they can settle your debt for pennies on the dollar. In reality, they are making an offer they know the government will refuse. In this worst-case scenario, you are out the money the application fee cost you as well as the fees you have been charged by the company you have asked for help.
You might need a tax lawyer, but your best bet usually is to look into non-profit tax debt settlement help. Most importantly, do your research: compare prices, look into the success rates of the help you select, and look into the IRS settlement process yourself. If you have an idea of what is average and what is possible, you should be able to spot most scams.
Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.