Tax Collection

Greenville Tax Collection Attorneys

Stop Damaging Collection Efforts with Our Help

Learning you owe money to the government is never fun. If you have fallen behind on other bills, you may be tempted to put off paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or South Carolina Department of Revenue. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to address your tax debt, the greater the problem will become.

Before long, your tax debt may become unmanageable, and the government will likely pursue damaging collection actions against you. If the IRS or SC Department of Revenue is threatening to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts, or seize your assets, our Greenville tax collection lawyers can help.

Board certified tax lawyer Verne McGough and our experienced team operate as a subsidiary of Merline & Meacham, P.A. [1], which has been supporting our South Carolina community since 1970. Our firm understands what is at stake in these cases and is ready to act quickly on your behalf to negotiate a tax settlement solution, stop or prevent collection actions, and deliver the relief you need.

We can help you stop collections based on federal, state, sales, and foreign taxes. Schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options by contacting us online or calling (864) 613-6608.

Why You Must Address Your Tax Debt as Quickly as Possible

It can be extremely frustrating to discover that you owe money to the government, especially if you have already paid a substantial amount of taxes throughout the year. If you do not currently have the means to settle what you owe, you may be worried about the consequences of nonpayment.

If at all possible, you should make every effort to pay all taxes owed by the deadline. If you know you will be unable to file on time, you should proactively request an extension. While having to settle an unexpected tax bill can be annoying, paying all owed taxes on time allows you to avoid late penalty charges and the accumulation of interest.

You should not avoid filing your taxes, even if you are confident you owe money to the government that you cannot currently pay. Unfiled tax returns will eventually be noticed by the IRS or SC Department of Revenue, and sooner or later, you will need to pay any owed taxes. If the government determines you intentionally attempted to avoid filing and paying your bill, you could be charged with tax evasion. This is a serious crime that can land offenders in prison.

Late filing fees are generally more substantial than late penalty fees, so it is always advantageous to file on time. If you fail to file on time, you will be charged a penalty of 5% of your tax debt for each month past the filing deadline. Failure to file penalties max out at 25%. This means that if you had a $3,000 tax bill and filed two months late, you would owe an additional $300 – or 10% - in late filing fees alone.

The IRS and the SC Department of Revenue charge these penalties for unfiled federal and state tax debts, respectively. Even if you know you cannot pay immediately, filing on time allows you to avoid this significant penalty.

If you do file on time but cannot pay what is owed when due, you will be charged failure to pay penalties. Fortunately, failure to pay penalties accumulate more slowly than failure to file penalties. Both the IRS and the SC Department of Revenue charge 0.5% of your outstanding tax debt for each month that payment is late. There is a ceiling of 25%. Going back to the previous example, if you owed $3,000 in taxes, filed on time, but paid two months late, you would only need to pay only $30 in late penalty fees.

As soon as your tax debt becomes delinquent, it will begin accruing interest. The interest rate is calculated by adding 3% to the current federal short-term interest rate, which fluctuates. Your tax debt will accumulate interest regardless of whether you file on time, and it will continue to build until your tax debt is paid in full or settled.

The bottom line is that your tax debt will quickly grow if it is not addressed. Before long, your tax debt can grow far beyond what you will reasonably be able to pay. Our Greenville tax collection attorneys can help you get on top of your debt before it grows out of control.

Consequences of Tax Collection

Government tax authorities sometimes have a reputation for being slow and bureaucratic, but rest assured, the IRS and SC Department of Revenue will eventually notice you owe them money. Even if you do not file a tax return, tax authorities will file a “substitute return” on your behalf based on the information submitted to them by your employers and other relevant parties. This substitute return will estimate a tax bill you will be obligated to pay.

What Is a Notice and Demand for Payment?

When the IRS or SC Department of Revenue realize you owe them money, they will issue a Notice and Demand for Payment. This document will include an itemized list of what tax debt you owe plus interest and late penalties. It will also explain the deadline for full payment of the debt. If you receive a Notice and Demand for Payment and cannot currently satisfy the debt, reach out to our firm for help.

Final Notice of Intent to Levy

If you continue to ignore your tax debt, the IRS or SC Department will make concrete plans to collect. Sooner or later, you will receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing at least 30 days before a planned levy or collection action will take effect. If you still cannot pay off the debt, it is time to contact a legal professional. This is your last chance to take action before the government comes after your assets and income.

The IRS or SC Department of Revenue can collect on tax debt through:

Wage Garnishments

The government may directly take a portion of your paycheck until your tax debt is settled. While non-government creditors can also potentially garnish your wages to satisfy debts, the government does not need to secure a judgment first, meaning they act faster.

The IRS can also typically take far more of your wages than a typical non-government creditor and is only required to leave behind enough to pay for basic necessities.

Tax Levies

When the government levies an asset, it seizes that property to pay a delinquent debt.

The IRS will generally attempt to levy “liquid” assets like bank accounts and retirement accounts first, but it can also potentially levy:

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • And certain types of personal property

You will lose ownership of seized assets, which will be sold to settle your tax debt.

Tax Liens

Liens are a legal claim on a property. When the government places a tax lien on your home or vehicle, you will be unable to sell or transfer ownership of the encumbered asset until your tax debt has been paid or settled.

Make no mistake: Tax authorities will always come to collect. If you owe money to the government, you will need to address your tax debt in order to prevent or stop collection efforts. Keep in mind that any assets lost to tax collections cannot generally be recovered, so it is always more beneficial to seek help before collection actions take effect.

Avoiding and Preventing Tax Collection Efforts

It can be easy to feel helpless if you receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy but still cannot pay. Fortunately, the IRS or SC Department of Revenue resort to collection efforts as a last resort.

These are costly, time-consuming strategies and tax authorities would rather work with you to reach a compromise than invest resources in tracking down and liquidating your assets.

Our Greenville tax collection lawyers can help you negotiate and secure numerous types of tax settlement options, including:

Offers in Compromise

If you are experiencing tremendous financial difficulties and have little to no means of paying what you owe, you may qualify for an offer in compromise. This allows you to settle your tax debt for less than what you originally owed.

Tax authorities will only agree to offers in compromise if they believe they are getting the best possible deal, which means they must determine there is no viable way to obtain more from you through collections. Most offers in compromise will be facilitated through a single lump-sum payment, but short-term payment plans are available. We can help you prepare and negotiate an offer in compromise.

Penalty Abatements

You may be able to reduce or eliminate certain penalties if you can demonstrate you had “reasonable cause” for failing to file or pay on time.

Reasonable causes accepted by the IRS and SC Department of Revenue include:

  • Death
  • Incapacity
  • Inaccessibility of records (such as a missing critical income document)
  • And natural disasters

If any penalties are reduced or eliminated, interest associated with those penalties will also be reduced or eliminated. We can review your circumstances and determine if you are likely to qualify for penalty abatements.

Installment Agreements

If you do not qualify for an offer in compromise but still cannot pay off your tax debt in full immediately, we can help negotiate an installment agreement. This plan will involve making set monthly payments over a series of several years.

If you are currently experiencing financial difficulties, you may be able to negotiate a partial installment agreement, which involves setting your monthly payment amount based on what you can currently afford to pay.

When a tax settlement is pending with the IRS or SC Department of Revenue, collection efforts will typically stop. Any imminent collection actions will usually be canceled, and any ongoing efforts will generally be paused.

Our skilled team at Southeastern Tax Advocates can help you secure a favorable tax settlement that mitigates the consequences of collection efforts. Our Greenville tax collection attorneys can meet with you in person at one of our two conveniently located South Carolina offices or assist you remotely through a virtual consultation.


Protect your assets and stop collection efforts by contacting us online or calling (864) 613-6608. Same-day appointments are available.


[1] Southeastern Tax Advocates is a subsidiary of Merline & Meacham, P.A. All client cases will be handled by an attorney of Merline & Meacham, P.A. who primarily practices in one of our offices at 812 East North Street, Greenville, SC 29601 or 723 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Any result the law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

“I have known and worked with Verne McGough, for years. As a fellow attorney but in a different field of practice, he is the ONLY tax attorney to whom I will refer anyone. He is organized, prompt, and extremely knowledgeable in his field.”

- Eydie T. (Attorney, Not a Client)

Why Choose Us?

  • In-Person & Virtual Accessibility
  • Attorneys Who Personally Handle Your Case
  • Board-Certified in Tax Law (Verne McGough)
About the Firm

Get to know the firm and how our dedicated and experienced tax attorneys can assist you today.