pay-taxes-smart

Pay Taxes the Smart Way

Everyone knows how to pay taxes, but what about paying them the smart way?

Tax season can be an unpleasant time of year for a lot of taxpayers, especially if you owe money to the IRS or State. The only thing you can do is make the most of it, prepare ahead of time, and pay taxes in the lowest amount allowed by law.

Whether you are due a refund or writing a big fat check to the IRS, there are some steps you should take after your return has been filed. Here are three critical steps to take once the tax filing deadline has come and gone.

1. Print Off Hard Copies of All Your Forms and Receipts

Even if you save all of your documents on the computer and in the cloud, it is a good idea to print off hard copies and store them in a safe place. From the 1099 forms detailing your interest and dividend payments to the receipts that back up your charitable donations and business expenses, you never know when you will need this information.

You will appreciate having those hard copies on hand if your computer crashes or your cloud storage service fails. It takes only a couple minutes of printing, and those couple minutes could save you weeks of hassle down the road when you go to file and then pay taxes.

2. Check Your Refund or Balance Due Before You Pay Taxes

Even if you file electronically, you cannot expect instant service on your tax refund. It is the IRS after all. Even so, you should see quick action on your return and a notice that it has been accepted. Keeping an eye on your tax refund is one of the best ways to protect yourself and make sure the money you are owed does not end up in the hands of identity thieves.

This is also true if you owe money to the IRS. There have been tax identity theft cases where someone else files a tax return with your social security number, leaving you to deal with the liability or adding on to the amounts you owe.

If you use a tax filing software package, you should receive a notice by email when your return is submitted to the IRS, and another when it has been accepted. Watch your email box carefully and follow up if you do not receive those notifications within a day or two.

Once a week has passed, be sure to check the Where's My Refund page at the IRS.gov website to see where your refund stands. This handy tool provides a real-time picture of your refund status, from the time it is received by the IRS to the minute the money hits your bank account.

If you end up having to pay taxes, log in to your IRS account here https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account and check the balance to make sure it lines up with what you know you owe. If there are discrepancies, contact a tax resolution firm ASAP.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC

lauren@blackhawktaxsolutions.com

(719) 694-5505

www.blackhawktaxsolutions.com

3. Prepare for Next Year

You just filed your taxes, and the last thing you want to do is think about filing for next year. Despite this trepidation, now is the perfect time to start getting your ducks in a row for the filing season to come.

Start by looking at your current year's return and think about ways you could have lowered your tax debt. Perhaps you could have given more to your favorite charity. Maybe you could have increased your retirement savings rate. Knowing what you did wrong this year will make it easy to adjust your strategy and save more money going forward.

Nothing can make filing taxes a truly pleasant experience, but dealing with the IRS is something every American needs to do. Now that your tax return has been duly filed and your 1040 form is on its way to the IRS, taking the right steps can save you money down the line, protect you from identity theft and make future tax dealings a little less stressful.

ABOUT BLACKHAWK TAX SOLUTIONS, LLC

Our firm specializes in tax resolution, even if you have years of unfiled tax returns, or owe the IRS over $10,000 we can help! If you want an expert tax resolution specialist who knows how to navigate the IRS maze, reach out to our firm and we’ll schedule a free, confidential tax resolution consultation to explain your options to permanently resolve your tax problem.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC

lauren@blackhawktaxsolutions.com

(719) 694-5505

www.blackhawktaxsolutions.com


IRS Help for Coronavirus

Coronavirus Paid Leave from IRS

Coronavirus Paid Leave from IRS  -  March 20, 2020

A public notice sent out from the IRS Newswire service stated the following about the Coronavirus measures:

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers
    • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
    • Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.
  • Fast Funds
    • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
    • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
    • Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
  • Small Business Protection
    • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.
  • Easing Compliance
    • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

Need More Info?

For more information on the support and regulations from the IRS regarding the Coronavirus, please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Need Tax Relief?

If you or someone you know is struggling with tax debt or IRS issues, please reach out to us!

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC

(719) 694-5505

info@blackhawktaxsolutions.com

www.blackhawktaxsolutions.com


Tax Resolution: Stay Safe!

Tax Resolution: Stay Safe!

To handle any tax resolution case, filing and staying in compliance is a key factor. This means that tax season, and the hot topics surrounding it, are important topics to stay updated on.

Just like clockwork, all sorts of notices from the IRS have been sent out regarding the latest schemes to take advantage of taxpayers and while some of 2020’s scams are simply modernized versions of traditional cons, there are some alarming twists.

  • "Pennies-On-the-Dollar" Settlements 

    Have you ever seen those ads and commercials saying that you can settle your tax debt for "pennies on the dollar"? While that is an legitimate option for tax resolution, (it's called an Offer In Compromise), not everyone qualifies for that route. In reality, those deals make up the minority of the cases the IRS handles. Often times, people will get bate-and-switched into thinking they can get an OIC, but they just pay extra money to get the same installment agreement they would've gotten in the first place. This is why it pays off to hire a tax resolution professional to get rid of your tax debt correctly and permanently.

  • “The Bureau of Tax Enforcement”

    In this one, an official-looking letter arrives,  claiming to be from the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.”  In some cases, it’s mentioned the IRS, but in most, it simply states this bogus bureau is the collection arm of the IRS. It is designating where taxpayers can call to pay over the phone or where they can send payment for purported shortages owed to the United States Treasury.   Obviously, it’s a fraud, but the impressive-looking delivery and legitimate-sounding verbiage of the letter has duped many people thus far.

  • IRS Impersonators

    This is a very old scam with a modern twist. An email or phone call, claiming to be from the IRS is received with incredibly detailed instructions regarding a taxpayers’ refund.  In the message, the taxpayers is directed to visit a certain website to view their refund progress. What happens next? You guessed it! That site gathers the taxpayer’s information and sets up a situation where their identity is stolen.

  • Ghost Tax Preparers

    This is an old one, too, but until recently, was only a problem for a small percentage of taxpayers.  It works like this:  a taxpayer pays someone to prepare and file their return and that preparer (generally) makes certain guarantees regarding the size of the return.  In exchange for a “maximum” return, the taxpayer will pay a premium – up to $1,000 – for the service, but the actual person who prepared the tax return will never sign the return (as they legally must do).  The results?  The taxpayer is “on the hook” for monies owed, is often audited, and the tax preparer?  They effectively defrauded both the taxpayer and the government.

There are tons of different ways these and countless other scams are carried out, but the basic way to fight ALL of them?  Simple – have a professional prepare your taxes and handle your tax resolution case.  Make sure they have a “real” office, not some sketchy set up that opens in January in an empty strip mall and is closed on April 16th.

Call us today to set up a free tax resolution consultation.  (719) 694-5505 .

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC

(719) 694-5505

lauren@blackhawktaxsolutions.com

www.blackhawktaxsolutions.com

 

 

Want to avoid common mistakes when filing your taxes? Check out our past article below.

http://blackhawktaxsolutions.com/taxes-mistakes-avoid/


http://blackhawktaxsolutions.com/stop-irs-levy/

IRS Levy: How To Stop It

Of all the creditors or companies you might owe money to, the Internal Revenue Service can be the least forgiving about debt. If you don't pay your taxes, the IRS will levy and take possession of your property, including cash accounts, wages, and real and personal property. The IRS will sell non-liquid assets to raise funds to satisfy the debt you owe.

If you’ve received a levy notice from the IRS, it’s time to ACT IMMEDIATELY. Our firm may be able to get your levy released the same day but you must call now for a confidential consultation

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505 --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/

Forewarned Is Forearmed

Unless you don't open your mail or you moved without leaving a forwarding address, you probably won't be blindsided by an IRS levy. You'll receive a "Notice and Demand for Payment" of your tax debt well in advance of any action taken.

If you ignore this notice, the IRS will follow up by sending you a "Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Rights to a Hearing." Now the clock begins ticking.

You have 30 days to pay your tax debt or to contact the IRS to try to stop the levy. Even if you're unaware of the levy proceedings, your employer has a little bit of time to warn you if he receives notice that the IRS plans to take the bulk (up to 90%!) of your paychecks. Your employer doesn't have to begin sending your earnings to the IRS until the next pay period. With any luck, your employer will let you know what's going on within this time frame, so you can take action.

If the IRS levies your bank account, the bank will freeze the money in the account and remit it to the IRS after 21 days.  Therefore, you must act quickly to try to have the funds released upon receiving a notice that the IRS has levied your bank account.

Contact A Tax Relief Firm

Now is not the time to do it alone. If you call the IRS, they will often trick you into giving incriminating answers, further distancing you for the tax relief you so desperately need.

They are not your friend. They are there to collect what they believe you owe in taxes. Contact a professional experienced in tax resolution to help you with your case. Would you go to court without a lawyer?  Well, it’s the same with the IRS.  You need professional representation from a CPA, Enrolled Agent or tax attorney who is also a tax resolution specialist.

Contact Us Today!

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505 --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/

Establish Hardship

If the IRS intends to levy your pay or Social Security benefits and you can't come close to making ends meet on what's left, the IRS wants you to contact them.  The contact phone number should appear on the levy notice. DO NOT CALL THE IRS (see our note above).

The law requires that the IRS leave you with the total of your tax exemptions for the year plus your standard deduction divided by 52 if you're paid weekly.

Gather your documents and call our firm. We’ll help make the case to the IRS and explain that the levy will cause hardship for you and your family. You'll have to provide documented evidence of this, but if you do, the IRS will release the levy. This doesn't mean you no longer owe the tax. It just means that the IRS will leave your earnings and income alone and work with you to figure out some other way for you to satisfy the debt.

Make Payment Arrangements

We can also ask for payment terms for your tax debt even if the levy won't cripple you financially. If you enter into an installment agreement, the IRS will typically release the levy unless the notice you received specifically states otherwise.

You Can “Settle” For Less Than You Owe

An offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. It may be a legitimate option if you can't pay your full tax liability, or doing so creates a financial hardship. The IRS considers your unique set of facts and circumstances:

  • Ability to pay;
  • Income;
  • Expenses; and
  • Asset equity.

The IRS will generally approve an offer in compromise when the amount offered represents the most they can expect to collect within a reasonable period of time. It’s best to explore all other payment options before submitting an offer in compromise as the Offer in Compromise program is not for everyone. Make sure you hire a tax professional to help you file an offer, and be sure to check his or her qualifications.

The IRS really doesn't want to destroy you financially. It just wants the money it's owed. If you can make some arrangement to pay or prove that you don't owe the tax, or if you legitimately cannot pay it at this time, you may be able to make the levy go away.

Our firm specializes in tax resolution, even if you have years of unfiled tax returns, we can help! If you want an expert tax resolution specialist who knows how to navigate the IRS maze, reach out to our firm and we’ll schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation to explain your options to permanently resolve your tax problem.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505 --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/


pay-federal-taxes-with-monthly-payments

Pay Federal Taxes with Monthly Payment Plan

Every year, there are millions of taxpayers who find themselves unable to pay their taxes in full to the IRS. The IRS knows there will be some taxpayers coming up short. The good news is the federal government is happy to work with you through various options, like a monthly payment plan as one example. The bad news is, they’re relentless in their collection of back taxes and if left unattended, they can levy your bank account, garnish your paycheck, or put a lien on your property to settle your tax bill.

However, their cooperation comes at a price, called penalties and interest. Here are the steps you need to take if you wish to pay your federal income tax with a monthly payment plan.

Before you proceed to navigating the complicated maze that is the IRS on your own, we highly encourage all our readers to speak to a qualified Tax Relief Expert at our office. You can schedule a confidential, no obligation consultation to explore your options for tax relief.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505  --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/

Here are some steps you can take to get on an IRS payment plan if you can’t pay your taxes in full.

File Correctly and On Time

Trying some fancy 1040 shortcuts or inputing fake numbers on your tax return software to bring your tax bill down is not a solution. In fact, it will land you in deeper trouble. First, if you are going to owe tax and be unable to pay, your return will already face higher scrutiny as soon as you request a payment plan. Making deliberate attempts to file a fraudulent return will only compound your problem, and will lead to more serious consequences.

Waiting until after April 15 to file is also a poor plan, because you will only accrue more penalties. Also, filing an extension does not mean you have more time to pay. It simply means you’ll end up paying more with penalties and interest, sinking you deeper into a hole.

So make sure you file on time!

Attach Form 9465 Installment Agreement Request to your 1040 If You Need More Than 120 Days To Pay

WARNING: It’s best to hire a tax relief firm like ours to deal with the IRS directly. In most cases, our clients never speak to the IRS themselves and have our firm represents them every step of the way. One wrong move can put you in deeper tax trouble so it’s best to have the right firm representing you. Also, not everyone will qualify for an installment agreement. Contact our firm for a consultation today.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505  --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/

Ok, back to Form 9465…

This is the crucial step. If you have a reasonable reason for the delay in paying your taxes, the IRS can work out a 72 month payment arrangement. However, the late filing penalty can be as much as 5% per month of the outstanding tax debt, for each month or part thereof the tax is owed. The penalty is capped at a whopping  25% of the original tax owed. The failure to pay penalty is one-half of one percent (0.5%) each month up to a maximum of 25% as well. The interest is compounded daily, much like a credit card. The IRS charges interest on top of penalties and interest.  There is also an administrative fee to set up the monthly payments, depending on how you intend to pay. When you take into account the penalties and interest the IRS can assess, an IRS tax debt doubles every several years if you don’t address it head-on.

Applying for a Monthly Payment Plan Online

Your specific tax situation will determine which payment options are available to you. Payment options include full payment, a short-term payment plan (paying in 120 days or less) or a long-term payment plan (installment agreement) generally 72 months.

You may qualify to apply online if:

  1. Long-term payment plan (installment agreement): You owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest, and filed all required returns.
  2. If you are a sole proprietor or independent contractor, apply for a payment plan as an individual.

Wait 30 Days For a Reply (if by mail) and Make Sure the Monthly Payment Plan Is Your Best Option

It takes the IRS at least 30 days to process an Installment Agreement Request form. Understandably, after March 31 of each year the processing time is a little longer. During these 30 days, it would be a good idea to pursue other payment options. Plan on paying the late fee penalty and interest when you are comparing the full cost of an IRS Installment Agreement or another loan, such as through a bank or other avenues of credit.

When bank loan interest rates are higher than 6%, the IRS Installment Agreement looks like a fairly good deal. However, tax payers in true financial dire straits due to job loss or other issues need to take pause.

Defaulting on an IRS Installment Agreement is not the same as failing to pay your credit card bill one month. The collections process by the IRS is backed by the federal government, and includes the ability to apply a tax lien against any property owned by the taxpayer.

A delinquent taxpayer should also consider his or her ability to pay next year's tax bill. If the root cause of an inability to meet your tax obligation is recurring, for example related to a small business loss, certainly consider if the business is likely to weather a similar financial situation next year. After all, you can't secure another Installment Agreement if you are already paying one to the IRS. It may be prudent to pay this year's tax with a loan at a higher interest rate if you have the credit available and save the request for an Installment Agreement when you truly have no other option to meet your tax obligation.

Always Keep Careful Records of Forms Filed and Any Correspondence with the IRS

During the entire process of requesting an installment agreement, it is vital a taxpayer keep complete records. If there is communication by telephone, write down the time, date, and the person you spoke with in a log. It is also a good idea to briefly summarize the conversation, especially if there were any specific guarantees verbally given. Save all letters and notices from the IRS with your tax information.

There are a few reasons to keep these records. First, if something should happen to your paperwork, such as it becoming misplaced at the IRS office, you will have a back up to send and prove you complied with filing date requirements. Second, if the IRS fails to follow its own procedures and guidelines you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for help. Finally, just in case your failure to meet your tax obligation turns ugly and leads to litigation, your records are what your legal representation will need to show your effort in paying your tax bill.

Our firm specializes in tax resolution, even if you have years of unfiled tax returns, we can help! You may qualify for the IRS’s debt settlement program called an Offer in Compromise, which can be more advantageous to you than a payment plan.  We may be able to settle your entire debt with the IRS for up to 85% off the original amount owed, including penalties and interest, if you qualify.  If you want an expert tax resolution specialist who knows how to navigate the IRS maze, reach out to our firm and we’ll schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation to explain your options in full to permanently resolve your tax problem.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC  --  (719) 694-5505  --  blackhawktaxsolutions.com/tax-relief/


Filing Taxes? 4 Mistakes to Avoid.

Filing Taxes? 4 Mistakes to Avoid.

It can be a stressful experience preparing your taxes and filing them. It can be even more stressful however, if you make these mistakes that land you into tax trouble. It's important to remember that if you make mistakes that are serious enough, you might end up triggering an audit of your tax return or owe more in back taxes.

It’s early to be talking about tax season, but if you're planning on filing your own taxes this year, here are four mistakes that you should avoid.

Don't neglect to report all your income

Whatever your sources of income may be, whether it's your regular paycheck, a side gig, gains that you've made on the stock market, or interest that you've earned from deposits in the bank, it's important to remember that you should account for all of it in your tax return. If you don't, the IRS may come looking for it.

Every time you make at least $600 in income working as an employee of any description, you get a 1099 form stating what you've made. The IRS gets a copy of the form, as well. This means that it makes no sense to try to hide your income from the IRS.

When you make any kind of income, you should report it on your tax return. Technically, you should even record smaller chunks of income, the kind for which you don't get 1099 forms.

Don't just guess at what your deductions are

There are many possible tax deductions that you could take advantage of. It's important to remember, however, that you do need to back up every attempt at a deduction with documentary proof like receipts or logs. If you attempt a rough estimate at what your deductions should be, you could trigger suspicion, especially if the sum that you claim is high for your income level, or if it is a convenient round figure.

Don't automatically reject the idea of itemizing

Most tax filers choose to take the standard deduction, rather than itemize. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't itemize. It depends on your specific circumstances. If you have many legitimate deductions to make, say, because, you pay a great deal of mortgage interest, you might be better off itemizing, even if it takes more work to do it.

Don't put off filing your taxes

Preparing your taxes is a complex process. If you're self-employed, or if you need to itemize, it can only get worse. It's important to not rush through the process. Any mistakes that you make may prove costly. Take out the time to file your taxes well ahead of the tax deadline. If you need extra time, you can always file for an extension. This way, you can avoid the late filing penalty, which can add up to a whopping 25% of the original tax amount

Making a mistake on your tax return is the last thing you want to do. Mistakes can be complicated to correct and recover from. It's important to give yourself enough time.

Whatever you do, don’t skip filing. Many clients come to us with not only years of unfiled tax returns but owing large sums of money to the IRS.  Many times we can help you obtain a “fresh start’ settlement for up to 85% off the original amount owed, including penalties and interest, if you qualify.

If you do run into tax trouble, reach out to our tax resolution firm and we’ll schedule a free, no-obligation confidential consultation to explain your options in full to permanently resolve your tax problem.

Blackhawk Tax Solutions, LLC

(719) 694-5505

blackhawktaxsolutions.com