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Important Tax Tips and Fraud Prevention
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What You Need to Know About Tax Liens and Levies

Posted on January 29, 2021 at 2:55 PM

What You Need to Know About Tax Liens and Levies

Failure to pay federal income tax can have serious repercussions. Not only will the IRS likely charge you fines and interest on the unpaid balance, but the IRS may also enforce collection with a tax levy or tax lien. Let's review what a tax lien and tax levy is, how they work, and what you can do if faced with one.


 What is a tax lien? 

A tax lien is a federal government lawsuit against your property. The IRS can provide a tax lien on your property if you neglect or implicitly refuse to pay a full tax debt.

A tax lien does not require you to sell real estate to pay taxes. But it ensures that when you sell, the IRS is entitled to the proceeds as payment for any taxes owed.

Tax liens can affect any assets you own, including your home and other property, vehicles, and other personal property, including financial assets and any business property you own. It can also be attached to goods purchased after the IRS has issued the lien but before paying to settle it.

In simpler terms, a tax lien is the last resort used to secure the payment of personal or corporate taxes.

When the IRS sends you an invoice, but you neglect or refuse to pay it, it sends you Letter 3172, Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing, and your rights to a hearing under IRS 6320. If you do not agree to the lien, you have 30 days from the letter's date to request an appeal. Instructions for requesting an appeal are usually included in the letter.

If you miss the deadline to appeal, you can file a Form 12153 request at an equivalent hearing. But this type of hearing does not block the tax levy, suspend the ten years that the IRS must try to collect your debts or allow you to go to court to appeal any decision by the IRS board of appeal.


How does a tax lien affect me?

The IRS files the federal tax lien notice with local government authorities, such as the secretary of state or the county registry office, where you live, do business, or own property. The lien does not specify which properties are affected; it automatically applies to all real and personal property and all future assets you may purchase during the lien period.

Plus, it can affect your ability to sell or refinance your property and run your business because it applies to all of your assets. Also, in many cases, a federal tax lien cannot be discharged in the event of bankruptcy.

There is good news regarding tax liens. Previously, credit bureaus included tax liens on credit reports, which could hurt credit scores. But in 2017, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (the three major consumer credit bureaus) changed some of the public record rules they include on credit reports.

 The National Consumer Assistance Plan, launched by the three credit bureaus, has eliminated the inclusion of debt credit reports of debts that do not arise with a consumer entering an agreement to pay or contract. As a result, debts such as fines, traffic tickets, or tax liens no longer show up on credit reports.


What can the IRS can do?

In the United States, the IRS may place a lien on the taxpayer's home, vehicle, and bank accounts if the federal tax payment is delayed and no effort to pay the tax due has been demonstrated.

The federal tax lien takes precedence over all claims of other creditors. It is also difficult for the taxpayer to sell the property or obtain loans.

The only way out of a federal tax lien is to pay all of the tax owed or enter into an agreement with the IRS.

Before the changes made by the National Consumer Assistance Plan, once the lien is filed, it will appear in the taxpayer's credit report, affecting the person's credit score. It also prevents the taxpayer from selling or refinancing preferred assets.

The lien will remain in force until the end of the tax collection or until the status of limitation expiry.


What is a tax levy?

The next step after a lien is usually a federal tax levy.

As soon as the government's interest in your property is secured, the government can repossess or confiscate your property as a means of collection. The Internal Revenue Service is known for issuing levies on wages and bank accounts if they do not hear from the taxpayer on time or if the requested documents are not received.

It is important to understand that a tax level is different from a tax lien. A tax lien gives the IRS the power to file a claim against your assets. For example, if you have to pay taxes and put your house up for sale, there is a guarantee that the IRS is the first to claim income from your house's sale.

A levy is a separate action by which the government confiscates your property or assets to pay off an unpaid tax debt. For example, the IRS can levy your bank account by taking the amount needed to pay off your tax debt. It doesn't matter if you use your account's money to pay off your mortgage or your car payment. Thanks to a federal tax level, the IRS has the right to seize your funds to pay what you owe before anyone else's claim.


How do I know if I have a tax levy or lien?

Tax levies and liens are serious problems, but they do not arise out of the blue. The IRS will not issue it without notifying you first.

The IRS sends out a payment request and then emails the Federal Tax lien notification after filing the lien. If your account is not paid and no other arrangement has been made, the IRS will send you a notice of intent to levy and a notice of your right to a hearing. Despite these notifications, it is not uncommon for taxpayers to have an active levy or lien and be unaware of it because the notification was sent to an old address or lost in the mail.

Taxpayers sometimes find out of tax lien when they try to refinance or sell a house. While an existing tax lien can be discovered during a title search or visit to the county registry, the best way to determine if an IRS tax lien has been filed is to check with the IRS.

If you owe IRS taxes and have not made other arrangements to meet your debt, it may help to verify that you are not subject to a federal tax lien. You can find out by authorizing your tax professional to call the IRS lien office on your behalf or by calling the IRS central lien unit at 1-800-913-6050.

In addition to federal liens and levies, you may also be subject to state or local liens and levies. Your secretary of state's office, as well as the county registry office, is a great place to start when looking for state or local liens.


How to get out of a tax lien?

The easiest way to get rid of federal tax lien is to pay the taxes you owe. However, if this is not possible, there are other ways to manage collateral damages with the IRS's cooperation.

The IRS will consider discharging a tax lien if the taxpayer agrees to an automatic monthly payment plan until the debt is paid.

The taxpayer can discharge a certain asset, effectively removing it from the lien. Not all taxpayers or properties are eligible for discharge. IRS Pub 783 details the rules for discharging property.

Subordination does not take the lien off a property but sometimes makes it easier for the taxpayer to get another mortgage or loan. IRS Form 14134 is used to request this action.

Another process, a notice of withdrawal, removes the public notice of the federal tax lien. The taxpayer remains responsible for the debt, but the IRS does not compete with any other creditor for the debtor's property upon withdrawal. Form 12277 is used for this application.

If the tax repayment is simply not possible, the taxpayer should pay off as much debt as possible and seek dismissal of the balance from a bankruptcy court.


Final Words

If you are unable to pay off your tax debt in full, don't ignore the situation. Respond immediately to any letter you receive from the IRS. Try to find a payment plan as it can help you avoid a federal lien or levy, although you may have to pay interest and possibly fines.

If you face a tax lien or levy, a tax professional can help you dispute a tax lien filed in error or help you create an effective course of action to solve your tax problems and get on with your life.



1099 Filing Reminder

Posted on November 21, 2020 at 2:15 PM

The truth about Form 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC: When to issue and what happens if you don't!

You may have heard the following myths:

  • "I only have a couple 1099's so I don't have to file",
  • "My vendors won't provide info so I can't file" or
  • "If I don't issue a 1099, the IRS will just disallow the deduction if I don't file".

These are myths and simply are not true!

Here are the facts you need to know:


Do you need to file a form 1099-MISC and/or a 1099-NEC? Yes, you are required to file, even if you only have one 1099 to file. Please be aware that the rules have changed.

You must file a form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, when you have have paid for the following items during the year (in the normal course of business):

  • $10 or more in royalties or broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest
  • $600 or more for:
    • Rent
    • Prizes and awards
    • Other income payments
    • Notional principal contract
    • Fishing boat proceeds
    • Medical and health care payments
    • Crop insurance proceeds
    • Certain payments to an attorney
    • Section 409A deferrals
    • Nonqualified deferred compensation


Beginning with the 2020 tax year, you must file Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation (NEC), for any sole proprietorship/individual, single member LLC, or partnerships you paid at least $600 to perform services in the course of your trade or business, when that person is not your employee, excluding corporations.

In summary, Forms 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC are due on January 31st. Contact KLSM CPA Firm, PLLC if you need assistance with your filing or need information on how to file when a vendor refuses to provide information.

Accounting, Tax and Fraud Tips to protect your business

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 10:35 PM

Join KLSM CPA Firm, as we partner with the Small Business Expo to offer a FREE webinar on November 7, 2019 entitled, Protecting Your Business: An Accounting, Tax and Fraud Perspective. During this webinar we will cover the topics above and much more to help you protect your business. Don't wait until, the webinar is sold out...Register Today. 

What to do when you can't pay your IRS tax bill

Posted on September 2, 2019 at 6:35 PM

Have you received a letter from the IRS? Do you owe back taxes? Stop your panicking! On this week's episode, we posted a short video that explains exactly what you need to do when you can't pay your taxes. Watch and Listen to the episode onYouTube:

2019 Tax Filing Season

Posted on January 8, 2019 at 11:25 PM

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation's Tax Filing Season will begin on Monday, January 28, 2019. Additionally, Tax refunds will go out, despite the government shutdown.

Can I employ my child to work in my business?

Posted on October 7, 2018 at 10:50 PM
General rule: According to Texas labor laws it is illegal to employ a child under age 14 except under specific circumstances. Exception: When a business is owned and operated by a parent or legal custodian, they may employ their own children at any age to work as long as the work is non-hazardous AND child works under the parent or custodian's direct supervision. Rules: 1. The child must be an actual employee and work real hours 2. The child must be treated as any other employee (i.e. completion of a W-4, I-9 and other onboarding documents required for other employees. 3. You must withhold income taxes from their pay. What does the IRS say about this? The IRS allows this practice so long as there is legitimate work occurring. See the IRS reference (

Reminder: 1099 Filing Deadline January 31, 2018

Posted on January 3, 2018 at 6:25 PM

This is a friendly reminder that this year's filing deadline for issuing 1099's is January 31, 2018. Now is a good time to get your books up to date and identify who will need a Form 1099. Don't wait until the last minute!

  • Do you or your business need to file a 1099? Generally, a 1099-MISC should be issued to any individual or entity paid $600 or more for nonemployee compensation, rent, prizes, awards and other types of income. This includes payments to attorneys, accountants, independent contractors, consultants, and web designers. Rent paid to a landlord is another reportable payment that is sometimes overlooked. You don't need to issue a 1099 to corporations (with some exceptions), or for payments made via credit card or a third party network.
  • What information do you need to file a 1099? The standard way to get the information you need to file a 1099 is to ask your contractor/vendor to fill out Form W-9. This form will provide you with all the information needed to file a 1099. It is always a good idea to obtain a W-9 from a vendor before you pay them. This way, you will have the information you need to file a 1099 without the hassle of tracking them down later.


Tips to Boost Your Business Credit Rating

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 10:25 PM

The life of a small business owner is typically very hectic as they are constantly juggling, customers, employees, and business operations. Although the former aspects of the business are very important, business owners must also manage their credit score. Here are a few tips to help protect your business credit rating:

  1. Limit your credit usage
  2. Manage your companies financial ratios
  3. Pay bills on time
  4. Avoid closing accounts
  5. Establish trade lines with your suppliers
  6. Check your business credit score 
  7. Consider securing investors

5 Tax Tips for the 2016 Filing Season

Posted on December 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM
1. Locate a Tax Professional 2. Get Organized - Request or obtain a tax organizer from your tax professional to help organize your receipts for the 2016 filing season. 3. Charity - If you plan on making a charitable contribution, be sure to give to an qualified 501(c)(3) on or before December 31, 2016 and obtain a donation letter. 4. Major life changes - Notify your tax professional of any major life changes such as getting married, having children, moving for a job, purchasing a house or going back to school. These are a few of the major life changes that can impact your tax filing status, allowable deductions, and tax credits for which you may qualify. 5. Retirement - Talk to a tax professional about your retirements plans as you may want to consider contributing to an IRA or adjusting your contributions to a 401(k).

5 Fraud Tips Every Business Leader Should Act On

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 7:40 PM
Organizations worldwide lose an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to the ACFE's 2016 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. A single instance of fraud can be devastating: the median loss per fraud case was $145,000, and more than a fifth of the cases involved losses of at least $1 million. The good news? There are some basic steps your organization can take immediately to lessen your vulnerability to fraud: 1. Be Proactive - Adopt a code of ethics for management and employees and evaluate your internal controls for effectiveness. 2. Establish Hiring Procedures - When hiring staff, conduct thorough background investigations. 3. Train Employees in Fraud Prevention - Do workers know the warning signs of fraud? 4. Implement a Fraud Hotline - Fraud is most likely to be detected by a tip. 5. Increase the Perception of Detection - Communicate regularly to staff about anti-fraud policies, ways to report suspicions of misconduct, and the potential consequences (including termination and prosecution) of fraudulent behavior. Implementing these tips could help prevent your organization from becoming a statistic. Take action today. **Article from**