IRS challenges can be a problem. If they’re bleeding into other areas of your life things can really get out of control. Click here to read or watch more IRS Help resources.
My name is Darrin Mish, and I’m the IRS Solution Attorney.
From experience, I personally know that when people have financial problems, there is a tendency for them to negatively impact the person’s life. Tax problems, especially, can put a strain on marriages.
Part of my job is to do a little counseling to help them feel better.
There’s always a perceived fear that versus the reality of what’s actually happening in their lives. In fact, I usually spend the first 10-15 minutes addressing a new client’s fears before we get down to discussing their problem, and how we can come up with a solution.
However, it’s not just all about business. My clients are people, and if I can throw the light on their tax problems and other “life” problems, I know that I’ll be able to provide an invaluable service that goes beyond offering just expert tax advice.
Intentionally Hiding Assets?
It’s one thing to have some tax challenges, but if you’re intentionally doing something, like hiding assets or other covert things to hide what you have, then you may have placed yourself in the IRS’s crosshairs.
Going back to the fear bit, one of people’s biggest fears is that they’ll end up in prison over taxes they haven’t paid. Then, I’ll have an almost immediate opportunity to tell them that’s not going to happen.
So, that piece of news is good for the client because it immediately calms them down and we can get down to the business of solving their problem.
I often talk about these things on my show, and I inform people that going to prison is highly unlikely if you owe the IRS money. While it’s uncommon, there are certain things you have to work at to make sure that it doesn’t happen—that you remove it from the realm of remotely being a possibility.
So generally speaking, if you own the IRS money, and you don’t pay them, you’re not going to go to prison. That’s sort of the general rule.
Solutions for the Procrastinator
Working with procrastinators isn’t that difficult. That’s because procrastination is relatively easy to fix. The solution is simply to change one’s behavior.
Looking back over my own life, I did my share of procrastinating—from high school, college, and perhaps in law school on occasion. While not typical, it is considered normal behavior.
However, when it comes to trial work, you lose if you are unprepared. It’s just that simple. And people are depending on you for a positive outcome.
Not being prepared creates fear. It’s the same with anything in life. When people come to see me about a tax issue, they’re dealing with a lot of fear because they’re not prepared.
The reason people may not see a doctor for their regular checkup is they fear there might be bad news. People fail to deal with problems because they’re terrified at what might happen.
I love being thorough. When a client only asks me 2 or 3 questions, as compared to 20 or so, it’s because I’ve thoroughly addressed any fears and answered virtually all their questions.
People don’t conduct a lot of research. I can tell this by their questions. However, I’m not complaining. I don’t mind being the expert. That’s what I’m here for.
People do, however, quite a lot of research looking for an attorney before they call. I may not always be the first call on their list, but that’s fine with me. It could be my open personality, which some may find a bit strange. Once they get to know me, they know they’ve made the right choice.
I can speak, not only as an expert concerning their taxes, but as someone who understands life. Married, with children, I know that no one wants to deal with people who are irritable and difficult to be around.
I mean, I can remember when I was going through periods of my life and was really feeling negative about a lot of things. If it’s one thing I know, being negative perpetuates a lot of negative things. You have to readjust your attitude and “fake it until you make it” if at all possible.
I can remember in my own life, not that long ago, when everything seemed to be going wrong. Then one day, I looked in the mirror, and realized that it was “ME” that was wrong in life.
By faking it until you make it, I mean I sort of faked positivity. And it worked. So, while I’m helping clients with their tax problems, I can also give them a boost of confidence. We’re going to work out their tax problems. We’re going to eliminate the unknown so that we can eliminate their fears.
People Can Tap into Their Higher Standards
Tapping into your own higher standards is when you start making the decision to do better. It’s when you stop throwing pity parties for yourself and start looking at life in a positive way that better things start coming your way.
The truth is I’m all about compassion. I get the pain, anxiety, and fear that a lot of people deal with. I get it down to the core because I’ve had to deal with it on occasion in my own life.
When a person walks into my office, sits down, and looks me in the eye, their mindset is the first thing I want to help them change. Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do with their own personal finance challenges that will have lasting impact.
Start Doing Research – Change Your Fear Factor
If there’s something in your life that you’re unsure about, starting doing some research on the matter. It doesn’t have to be real sophisticated. As I said, what makes people afraid is a fear of the unknown.
Your research can be as simple as saying to yourself, “I have a problem with the IRS, and I’m going to “Google” what happens when someone doesn’t file their taxes. Will they go to jail? Is there a tax penalty filed?
Get a few answers, and then, call a tax professional and set up an appointment to take care of the problem. You can even look for people on a national level that can help. Call the person and find out how much it costs.
Avoiding Tax Scams
The last thing you want to do is hook up with a scam artist. They’re out there, and they’re always looking for their next victim. Be aware of the following scams:
• Fictitious claims for rebates or refunds based on Social Security Benefits withheld.
• Bogus claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS enabling a payout of the IRS.
• Offers of free money without documentation being provided.
• Promises of large refunds for low-income people.
• Bogus advice on claiming the Earned Income Credit for exaggerated reports on self-employment income.
• And much more.
What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed
If you feel that you’ve been scammed, there are a couple of things you can do to close the “fear” gap. First, get a second opinion. Find a competent tax preparer, tax attorney, or CPA and find out for sure if there’s a scam going on.
Tax preparation is as much an art as it is a science. As such, anyone competent in tax matters should be able to tell you if there is a scam in place. If there are irregularities, you have time amend the return using form 1040x. A tax attorney may help to get the penalties abated if reasonable cause is found.
There are a lot of reasons to trust a qualified tax preparer with your taxes.
• It can be a hassle trying to figure out your own taxes.
• It is nearly impossible for the average individual to keep with changing tax laws.
• Mistakes can be costly.
• If there are mistakes made, a tax program cannot possibly represent you in an audit.
• A qualified tax professional can help you plan ahead, including future years.
• Your tax professional can recommend ways to save on your taxes.
• Knowing that a professional is handling your taxes can give tremendous peace of mind.
Peace of mind is a process of having eliminated fear, which takes us right back to the beginning of the article. If you’re having any IRS challenges, don’t let them bleed into other areas of your life.
For more information on how you can keep IRS Challenges from bleeding into other parts of your life, you can check out my podcast episode “How to Keep IRS Problems from Bleeding into Other Areas of Your Life“.