Steve had realized the most difficult obstacle of having one's own business: taxes. More specifically, the confusing world of self-employment tax and estimated tax payments. Steve was out of his league from the start, and you can't really blame him. The world of taxes, especially for the self-employed, is riddled with complexities and traps that can be incredibly tough to avoid.
Tax debt forgiveness: The IRS doesn't want to let you off easy
Once his divorce was finalized and his business dissolved, Steve was ready to get back in the game. After months of fruitless job-hunting, he finally landed a full-time position in a big-box retail store, and he began to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly, that quickly revealed itself to be the light of an oncoming train driven by an IRS Revenue Officer we’ll call Iron Fist McGinty. Any success that Steve would have with an IRS tax debt forgiveness program was going to be an uphill battle thanks to his assigned officer.
When Steve received that long-awaited first paycheck from his new job, he worked out a budget and was elated to see that he could get by on his new income, even if there was very little to spare after all of his monthly expenses had been met. That elation, unfortunately, was short-lived. When Steve opened his next paycheck — having worked just three weeks on the job — he discovered that Revenue Officer McGinty had caught wind of his brand new income and had immediately issued a wage levy. Steve was once again far from being able to make ends meet.
Absolving IRS tax debt: it all starts with picking up the phone
Steve hit rock bottom, and that's when he picked up the phone and called us.
It was during the autumn of 2011 when Steve called. After telling us his story and hearing our plan for resolving his tax problem, he again began to see a glimmer of hope; this time that glimmer was daylight and not "the IRS pain train," as he called it. However, as soon as he was given our fee quote for resolving his tax problem, Steve thanked the attorney for his time, and abruptly made a hasty exit. Steve really liked us and we really liked him, but that fee we have to charge, it appeared, had got in the way of him being able to hire us.
As the Finance Manager at IRSMedic, I am frequently called into consultations when a potential client has doubts about his ability to pay our fee in full. In this case, however, Steve was gone before I had a chance to meet him and explain the payment options available to him. My initial phone conversation with Steve had resonated with me so much that, when I found out what had happened in his consultation, I couldn't just let it go and hope for the best. Here was a guy who was struggling, and I knew that I wanted to help him make it safely through an IRS tax debt forgiveness program. So I gave Steve a call.
The keyword is "help"
It would be an understatement to say that Steve was surprised to receive my call — "absolutely floored" would be a more apt description. He told me that he had been sitting in his truck crying and praying to God for help, and then my call came in. I told him that if he had stuck around for just a few more minutes, I would have been more than happy to sit down with him and outline the payment plans that we offer to clients who cannot pay our fee in full up front. Steve explained that while he appreciated the gesture, the fact that his already-modest wages were being levied by Old Iron Fist virtually guaranteed that there was just no way that he could afford our services.
As you might imagine, this is a quandary faced by many of our clients — how can they afford to pay for representation when an IRS wage levy has already left them barely scraping by? We have a saying around here: "You need to be able to afford to hire us so you can afford to hire us."
So how to get out of this trap?
I explained to Steve that when our clients see how we can help to put their tax problem behind them for good, it is not uncommon for them to turn to a friend or family member for financial assistance. Steve took this message to heart, swallowed his pride, and contacted a nephew who Steve said was a good kid who he had always liked. Steve's nephew came through without hesitation. I guess the fondness went both ways. With our fee paid in full, we were able to start on his case, and got the levy released.
We were able to fully settle Steve's tax debt within 10 months.
Don't settle for subjection: a better life exists after resolution
We're in touch with Steve to this day. He is back in business working for himself, and reports that, even in light of the favorable outcome that we achieved for him, his nephew has turned out to be a more pleasant creditor to work with than Iron Fist McGinty. For Steve, the stress of having to go through an IRS tax debt forgiveness program can finally be a distant spot in his rear-view mirror.
The thing that I love, and why this is one of my favorite success stories is that this episode of pain and agony most likely brought Steve and his nephew together for a lifetime of just better times.