Greenville Tax Settlement Attorneys
Comprehensive Tax Debt Relief Strategies
Owing money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or South Carolina Department of Revenue can result in serious consequences. While you might be tempted to ignore back taxes – or even “forget” to file your returns in the first place – these debts will eventually catch up with you. You can potentially lose assets to levies or have liens placed on your home.
If you do not have the financial means to settle your tax debt, relief options are available. Government agencies will generally refrain from pursuing collection actions if you agree to a plan to address or settle your tax debt. Our team at Southeastern Tax Advocates includes an attorney board certified in tax law and proudly serves South Carolina taxpayers.
We have helped clients from all walks of life overcome back tax difficulties, and our Greenville tax settlement lawyers are prepared to help you negotiate a resolution with the IRS or SC Department of Revenue.
Why You Cannot Ignore Your Tax Debt
No one likes dealing with taxes, but one way or another you still have to pay them. Some individuals may “forget” to file and end up with one or more unfiled tax returns, especially if they suspect they owe a significant sum to the government.
One must be careful to not intentionally shirk their legal duty to pay taxes. Tax evasion is a serious crime that can land convicted offenders in prison for up to 5 years.
But what if you dutifully file your tax returns and cannot pay what you owe? You might be tempted to ignore the debt and allocate funds to more immediate needs, like your mortgage, car loan payment, or daily necessities. While this is an understandable instinct, you will not be able to put off addressing your tax debt forever.
Tax debt is treated differently than other types of debt. State or federal government agencies have more direct and powerful means of collecting what they are owed. Sooner or later, the IRS or SC Department of Revenue will attempt to contact you. If you fail to take steps to address your tax debt, they will begin to explore more severe collection actions.
Tax debt can result in serious negative repercussions, including:
The IRS has the ability to garnish your wage without first seeking the judgment of a court. This means they can continue to take a portion of your paycheck until your tax debt is satisfied. The government can also take far more than non-government creditors, and in many cases, you will only be left with enough to pay for basic living necessities.
The government can place a tax lien on your property, including your home and vehicle. The lien acts as a legal claim that will prevent you from selling or transferring ownership of the encumbered asset. You can only “release” the tax lien by resolving the underlying tax debt.
The government can “levy,” or seize, numerous types of assets to collect on a tax debt. This means they can drain your bank or retirement accounts or forcibly take your house or vehicle. Levying can continue until tax obligations are settled.
Negotiating with a tax agency to resolve back taxes in good faith will generally stop any ongoing collection efforts – or prevent collections from taking effect in the first place.
Our Greenville tax settlement attorneys can help you avoid:
- Wage garnishments
- And other consequences of tax debt
We understand how to effectively communicate with the IRS and SC Department of Revenue and can leverage our knowledge to secure a favorable outcome.
Late filing penalties are generally heftier than late payment penalties. As a result, you should always aim to file your tax returns on time even if you know you will not be able to pay what you anticipate you owe. If you cannot do so by the deadline, consider requesting an extension.
Any outstanding amount will begin to accrue interest after the deadline, regardless of whether you file on time. The relevant late filing penalties and late payment penalties will also be assessed. These penalties are significant and tax debt can consequently balloon quickly.
The longer you wait, the more tax debt you will need to deal with. Therefore, you should always move to address tax debt as soon as possible.
If you have ignored tax debt or were uncertain of how to handle it, you will eventually receive a Notice and Demand for Payment – even if you never filed a return. This document will explain how much you owe and by when it must be paid.
If you receive this Notice, immediately seek legal help. Our firm can help you manage your tax debt before it grows out of control.
If you continue to not take any action to handle your tax debt, you will soon receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing. This document represents your last chance to stop a levy or wage garnishment from taking effect, and you should immediately contact a legal professional.
To qualify for any type of tax settlement, you will generally need to file all tax returns. If you have put off filing for whatever reason, you will need to catch up before the IRS or SC Department of Revenue will be willing to negotiate.
In most cases, government tax agencies are ready to work with you to find an agreeable resolution. They would rather accept some money as part of a payment plan than resort to seizing and liquidating assets. Hiring a legal professional to assist you with this negotiation process can help you obtain a favorable settlement.
Offers in compromise allow taxpayers to ultimately pay less than what they originally owed. The remaining amount is effectively forgiven. Qualifying for an offer in compromise is difficult, however, and the IRS historically rejects many proposals.
To be found eligible for an offer in compromise, you must convince the government that they are getting the best deal possible. You will need to proactively submit your “offer,” which should be tied to what you can reasonably pay. The government will assess whether they think they can forcibly collect more through levies and other collection efforts. If they believe your offer to be fair, they may accept it.
Most offers in compromise will consist of lump cash payments. You will make one large installment, and the rest of your back taxes will be eliminated. However, some offers in compromise may be payable over a period of up to 24 months.
If you do not qualify for an offer in compromise, the government may also be willing to negotiate an installment agreement or partial payment installment agreement. These plans involve making monthly payments over several years (but typically not more than 72 months in total).
If you are experiencing substantial financial hardship, a partial payment installment agreement will allow you to pay less than what you owe in total, and your monthly payment amount will be calculated by your current ability to pay.
If you were unable to file or pay your taxes on time due to extenuating circumstances, you may qualify for penalty abatement. Penalty abatements reduce or eliminate late penalties.
The IRS and SC Department of Revenue tend to recognize several acceptable reasonable causes for late filings or payments, including:
- Natural disasters
- And inaccessibility of financial records (such as missing proof of income)
If any of your late penalties are reduced or eliminated, any interest associated with those penalties will also be reduced or eliminated.
Negotiating a beneficial deal can sometimes be challenging, but our Greenville tax settlement lawyers are familiar with how to craft effective offers in compromise. We are ready to serve as your partner and advocate throughout each step of this process. At Southeastern Tax Advocates, we can evaluate your unique financial situation and advise what relief options may be available.
How The Southeastern Tax Advocates Can Help
Our attorneys will continue to work with you until we can implement solutions that provide the tax debt relief you need and deserve. If you are currently being subject to levies or garnishments, our experienced team can act quickly on your behalf to communicate with the IRS or SC Department of Revenue and work to stop all damaging collections as expeditiously as possible.
 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)
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Board-Certified in Tax Law (Verne McGough)