Resolution Of Errors Is At Heart Of Local CPA Practice
Errors, lack of communication, backlog, no answers, total silence....individually any of these words could indicate a problem, but when combined, particularly under the acronym 'IRS,' well real panic starts to set in.
Tax expert and self-proclaimed 'tax junkie' Stephanie Perrin wants to change the words and actually, much more than that. She never could resist a challenge or a cause. The local CPA and owner of Two Rivers Tax & Accounting Service is on a mission to educate, advocate for and to provide peace of mind to taxpayers in a panic. "The IRS is absolutely in crisis," Perrin said. "People need to realize that 70% of the time, the notices sent to taxpayers are in error." She emphasized that IRS notices are auto generated, meaning there is no individual reading the return individually and flagging it. "This alone is a revelation to most people, who open these notices and feel they are doomed from the start," Perrin lamented.
Many IRS problems are well documented by the media. In a recent issue of the Kiplinger Tax Newsletter – Kiplinger is a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice – a tax update section cited the continuation of automated notices, backlog of unprocessed returns & refunds, and a total lack of communication or acknowledgement to taxpayers.
IRS resolution is the favorite part of Perrin's practice, which includes services such as financial reporting, business formations, internal control, tax return preparation and tax advisory services. She advises clients on important steps to take when receiving an IRS notice; The first caveat is always the "do not panic" directive. And while the notices always need to be addressed and answered – ignoring them can cause a plethora of painful consequences including asset attachment - Perrin advises that the first call before talking to the IRS should be to an accredited tax professional with experience in IRS resolution. "I work on behalf of my clients and represent them to the IRS directly. There are solutions in place, and the IRS will work with individuals who are seeking to resolve issues.
Now that tax season is here, Perrin wants taxpayers to be educated, to feel empowered and to be armed with important information:* Do not ignore an IRS notice. You must respond in a timely manner. Ignoring a notice can eventually result in property liens, asset attachment or wage garnishment.
* Contact a tax professional with experience in IRS resolution. A professional can directly represent you with the IRS and work on your behalf.
* The IRS also has a Taxpayer Advocate Service designed to assist with tax issues
* Payment options and installment agreements are available in addition to an Offer & Compromise. A professional can make an offer on a client's behalf
* A Stop Collection Order can be put in place while the issue is being resolved
* A ten-year Statute of Limitation exists on IRS collections
* Again, 70% of IRS notices are errors
With over 25 years of experience as a CPA, Perrin is clearly addicted to the adrenalin of solving tax issues. She especially enjoys working with individuals and families who are experiencing the financial trauma of divorce and has been there herself. Perrin started Two Rivers Tax & Accounting Service in 2015 but has been working with tax issues for over 12 years. "I simply love what I do," she exclaimed.
Perrin has many success stories. She recalls a client who received a notice for tax year 2019. She responded on behalf of the client, but the IRS never acknowledged the response and escalated the matter to tax court. "That should never have happened. I was able to resolve the problem, but the whole situation could have been totally avoided if there hadn't been such a bad backlog at the IRS." Another client was in debt with over $80,000 owed to the IRS for 7 to 8 years of back taxes. Perrin made an offer & compromise and successfully stopped any collections, negotiating a settlement of $3,500 on behalf of the client. A widowed client who fell victim to excessive debt from her deceased spouse received needed relief through Perrin's intervention. With over $140,000 in back taxes, Perrin resolved over $122,000 of the balance and had the property liens removed through filing for a lien release due to the 10-year statute of limitations. And still another client suffered needlessly when he received a notice of tax deficiency on his distribution of his 529 educational account which was used to pay qualified educational expenses and should not have been subject to tax.