I want to tell you a story about a long road to victory. It's not an easy one, but it's important. Victor came to us in 2012. He was sad, depressed, and his wife was working tirelessly to pay all of their bills.
Victor had run up a huge payroll tax debt from a landscaping business he had started. His business suffered from something that you wouldn't quite expect – it had the misfortune of being too profitable far too quickly. The success of the business went to Victor's head and had him thinking that nothing could tear him down. His new mentality calling the shots, Victor did some of the things you might expect of someone who thought that money would keep just keep pouring in. As Victor told us, his "Wampum card" at Foxwoods needed to be water-cooled.
You never write, you never call
Victor's financial picture actually wasn't all that bad. We were extremely confident that we could get him a great resolution through an offer in compromise, but Victor wasn't in the mood to help us help him. He wouldn't return our phone calls, emails, or letters, and his reluctance to do anything left us scratching our heads.
Here's an extremely valuable bit of advice – when employing tax representation, it's absolutely imperative that you keep in touch. There's no way we can fight the IRS on your behalf if we don't have the information we need from you. Unfortunately, and I really do mean it, we can't just wave a magic wand and have all the necessary documents appear in front of us. Solving tax problems requires all members of the team — both representation and client — firing on all cylinders. We absolutely need our clients to do what we tell them to do. And yet, Victor refused. Despite our continued efforts to get a hold of him, he fell completely off the map.
Earlier this year, Victor showed up at the firm. It had been so long since we had seen him that it took us a minute to remember who he was. He was angry and wanted to know why no work had been done on his case. It's not an easy conversation to have, but we had to let Victor know that he had shot himself in the foot with this one. We told him, "We tried to contact you, but you never got back to us. Can we help you now?"
Victor told us that he started going to school to be an aviation mechanic and was getting close to completing the program. Since he was getting ready to start a new chapter in his life, he wanted to start fresh; he needed his tax problem to be resolved. There's no way that we were going to let him face the IRS alone, so we agreed to help. That being said, so much time had passed that we had no choice but to restart the process.
I was worried that we would have a rehash of our earlier experiences with Victor, but something was different. The guy who was once evasive, glum, and depressed became the guy who would pick up my call on the first ring and greet me with a, "Hey brother!" He gave us all the documents we needed as soon as we asked for them; he was a man on a mission. He had run up a bill of about $260,000 with the IRS, but we weren't going to let him pay anything close to that. We submitted an offer in compromise for a few thousand dollars to settle his debt, and we had built his case so well we didn't even think an offer in compromise appeal was going to be necessary.
A small, but potentially fatal roadblock
We had run into a problem. Despite putting together a compelling offer in compromise package and convincing the examiner that this offer was a good deal for the government (which it was), it was rejected because the IRS made the bold claim that Victor did not file his 2014 tax return. Despite the IRS's claims, Victor assured us that he had filed it. We called around to various service centers and was on hold with the IRS for what felt like a week of hold-time, and we were finally able to track down the return. Once we proved to the examiner that the return was filed, we heard those beautiful words we never get sick of hearing: "Ok, I am going to submit this for my supervisor's approval."
I called Victor to tell him the good news. It hadn't been an easy road, but — with his help — we were able to substantially cut his debt and free him from living in the shadow of the IRS. A few days later, Victor came in with the offer in compromise check and told me that he would be starting a job with a fixed-base operator at one of the local airports. His future was shaping up nicely!
I have to say, there's something incredibly satisfying about someone making a big change to get their life back on track. There is no thrill like victory, especially those that might take a little extra hustle. If you have a tax issue you need assistance with, contact us. We can help.