“Caveat Emptor,” of course, is the famous Latin phrase for “Buyer Beware.” Sometimes people think of it as “buyers’ remorse,” meaning that sick feeling one might get after making a major purchase and then beginning to doubt whether one made the right decision. Nowhere is this more common than in the problematic industry of “Tax Relief” and “Debt Settlements” with the IRS. The scenario with see with San Francisco clients and others is usually as follows –
- A taxpayer has failed to pay his or her taxes, and/or come under the scrutiny of the IRS for bad practices.
- The taxpayer ignores the IRS, does not pay, or is unable to pay. Usually the unfortunate soul believes that just “pretending” it will go away, will make it go away. It doesn’t.
- The taxpayer is then in significant, significant trouble with the IRS, up to and including criminal penalties.
Enter the lawyer or law firm. These law firms promise “debt settlements” or “tax relief” vis-a-vis the IRS. Whether they can actually provide the service they provide… is another matter. We’re not going to comment on that, other than to point out the obvious: prevention is better than remedy.
Preventing an IRS Tax Audit is Better than Tax Relief
What do we mean here? Well, first and foremost, seek to prevent an IRS audit! We provide IRS audit defense, and We aren’t big fans of taxes, of course (who is?), but we are big fans of doing everything legally possible to minimize one’s legal tax obligation. We are aggressive yet fair vis-a-vis the IRS. Secondly, we recommend being prepared. Having a thorough tax strategy, and having systematic bookkeeping and accounting (whether for one’s business or one’s personal taxes) is paramount. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” or so goes the saying. So your first line of defense against an IRS audit is to prevent one by a) having a thorough record-keeping system, b) paying what is legally owed on time yet minimizing your tax obligation to the fullest legal extent, and c) being prepared for an IRS audit.
IRS audits are not fun, but if you have been thoroughly prepared and are assisted by a reputable CPA firm, they can be dealt with. The IRS is just doing their job, and we are just doing ours.
If, unfortunately, you have avoided filing your taxes, we can help there too. Often you have not yet been subject to a full IRS audit, and simply filing your back taxes and of course paying them, will get the IRS off your back. Finally, if you are so behind in your tax payments, that you need the desperate assistance of desperate lawyers who may (or may not) be able to bargain a debt reduction agreement with the IRS, you have waited too long.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We work with clients all the time so that they are systematically prepared against an IRS audit. And so that they can sleep soundly at night!