St. Petersburg IRS Tax Resolution Attorney
Negotiating Relief in Pinellas County
Were you surprised with an enormous tax bill and now owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Are you worried the government may garnish your wages or seize your assets? You cannot ignore or easily eliminate unpaid income taxes: The sooner you negotiate a settlement, the better.
At Charles G. Moore PA, we understand how to effectively communicate with the IRS and address income tax debt. We have over 30 years of legal experience and will work closely with you to explore all available options. No matter your current financial circumstances, we are determined to negotiate a settlement that provides the relief you need.
If the IRS is threatening to take your property or garnish your wages as a result of unpaid income taxes do not hesitate to contact us online or call (727) 353-0054. We offer same-day appointments and are available to take your call 24/7.
Why You Cannot Ignore Unpaid Income Taxes
Learning that you owe money to the IRS is never fun. You might even dispute what the government says you owe. You will need to take swift action to address your tax debt – even if you cannot currently afford to pay in full – to avoid serious financial consequences.
The IRS has access to collection tools that are more powerful than those of other creditors. For example, the government can garnish your wages – meaning they take a portion of your paycheck – without needing to obtain a court judgment. They can also move to seize your retirement accounts, vehicle, home, and other types of personal property.
The government will not go after your property or wages right away. They will first send a Notice and Demand of Payment followed by a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and a Notice of Your Right to a Hearing. If you know you cannot pay the taxes the government claims you owe after receiving these notices, you should contact our office immediately.
It is important to understand that, in most cases, bankruptcy will not eliminate recent unpaid income taxes. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can temporarily stop collection actions, including government wage garnishments and levies, but you can only discharge unsecured debts at the end of the process. In some circumstances, you may also be able to eliminate unpaid income taxes that are at least 3 years old and meet other requirements. Bankruptcy may be a viable strategy if eliminating unsecured debts would give you the financial resources to pay what you owe to the IRS. Chapter 13 will also allow you to pay taxes that will not be discharged over the life of the Plan. This could be a significant advantage in controlling the IRS while at the same time eliminating or reducing your other debts.
Several types of tax resolution, other than bankruptcy, are potentially available, including:
- Hardship Extension. You may be able to secure additional time to pay what you owe before the IRS considers garnishing your wages or levying your property. Interest and penalties will continue to accrue if an extension is granted.
- Payment Plans. If you owe $50,000 or less in total tax debt, you may qualify for a long-term plan in which you will make payments over a period of up to 6 years. If you owe less than $100,000, you may be eligible for a short-term plan that must be completed in 120 days or less. You may also be able to negotiate an installment agreement if you need more than 6 years to pay what you owe. In these situations, the IRS will use your current disposable income to determine your monthly payment amount.
- Offers in Compromise. If you are experiencing serious financial difficulties and are unlikely to be able to pay the full amount of what you owe, you may be eligible for an Offer in Compromise. This type of settlement allows you to pay only a percentage of your tax debt based on your current income, expenses, assets, and future ability to pay. The IRS will only accept an Offer in Compromise if the agency believes it cannot reasonably expect to collect more than what you are proposing.
Our firm is ready to help you avoid the worst consequences of tax debt. When you come to us for help, we will carefully analyze your situation and review the options available to you. We will work tirelessly to negotiate the best possible settlement and secure the relief you need to move forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Right for Me?
There are two major types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is intended for people with limited income, while Chapter 13 is meant for people with regular income but are unable to meet their current obligations.
To determine your eligibility, you will need to complete the Means Test. Compare your current monthly income to Florida’s average median income for your household size. If your income is less than the state average, you “pass” the Means Test and qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is greater than the state average, you will likely need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have considerable disposable income each month.
We also recognize that bankruptcy is not necessarily right for everyone. It is important to have a full understanding of what property you can expect to keep, what debts can be discharged, and any other potential impacts and consequences that might result from your filing. Our lawyer will thoroughly review your situation and give you straightforward advice.
What Types of Debts Can I Wipe Out through Bankruptcy?
Completing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 generally allows filers to discharge nearly all of their unsecured debts without penalty. Unsecured debts are issued based on your creditworthiness and do not have collateral backing.
Bankruptcy can typically eliminate:
- Credit card debt
- Medical debt
- Gambling debt
- Signature loans
- Mortgage deficiencies
- Certain types of tax debt
You cannot discharge all types of debt through bankruptcy. While you may be able to discharge secured debts, which are backed by collateral, you will likely lose secured assets in the process. In other words, while you may theoretically be able to discharge a mortgage, for example, doing so will result in you losing your home. Additionally, you cannot discharge newer income tax debt, student loan debt, child support, or spousal support.
Will I Lose All of My Assets If I File for Bankruptcy?
No. There is a pervasive myth that you will be left with nothing if you file for bankruptcy. Though Chapter 7 bankruptcy does involve a liquidation process, only non-exempt assets will be sold to compensate creditors. You get to keep any exempt assets, and the state of Florida allows you to protect the equity in your home, a certain amount of equity in your vehicle, most of your personal property, and other essential assets. Strategic use of exemptions can result in your losing little to nothing.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves no liquidation process whatsoever. Within certain guidelines, you will be able to keep all of your property. This type of bankruptcy can be a great choice for filers with non-exempt assets they wish to keep.
Can Filing for Bankruptcy Save My Home?
Yes. Filing for bankruptcy immediately stops foreclosure proceedings thanks to the automatic stay, a court order that halts nearly all collection efforts. However, you must file before your home has been sold.
If you hope to keep your home, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide you the time and relief you need to catch up on payments. Your repayment plan must prioritize mortgage arrears over unsecured debts, so you will be able to devote more of your disposable income to bring your mortgage current. You will also usually be able to eliminate unsecured debts once you have made all plan payments, which can give you the additional financial flexibility you need to stay on top of your mortgage in the future.