We are excited to share some of the following tax client success stories.
"Professional, super clear and very practical"
"We were always kept well informed of the progress with complete access to discuss or meet on a regular basis if needed.."
Pianos for Peace
"Jeff Cohen is the only one I felt like understood all the troubles I have had."
"Having the right lawyer that knows what point to use to present your case will make the difference you need. I highly recommend you consult with Jeff Cohen."
"Highly recommended and would trust him with any tax issue."
"We were always kept well informed of the progress with complete access to discuss or meet on a regular basis if needed."
2023 Client Success Stories
APRIL 2023: After working on an Internal Revenue Service audit case for two years, my client’s $3.5 million tax refund was approved. The Internal Revenue Service initially challenged it every way they could, even sending the case up to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation for review. The refund was approved yesterday, and the client and his CPA are ecstatic!
FEBRUARY 2023: We had a very successful meeting with actual Internal Revenue Service agents in our office this week. My client, who owes $192,000 for tax years extending all the way back to the year 2001, will pay only $1,000 a month for 22 months, representing a huge savings, and a well-deserved relief from the stress of dealing with the Internal Revenue Service for such a long time.
2022 Client Success Stories
NOVEMBER 2022: A new client who lived in another state, and never lived in Georgia, was assessed over $60,000 in back taxes by the Georgia Department of Revenue. I challenged the assessment legally, and supplied the DOR with incontrovertible proof of the client’s residence elsewhere and lack of taxable contacts with Georgia. The Department relented and conceded that our client now owes nothing! More proof that fighting back often gets good results.
AUGUST 2022: Our client received an assessment from the Internal Revenue Service for a complex series of transactions involving a foreclosure several years ago. Using a novel theory, along with a statute of limitations argument, I filed a Tax Court petition challenging the
government’s assessment. Today they agreed with me, and their full concession saved the grateful client over $90,000 in taxes.
JULY 2022: We just negotiated an Installment Agreement for a client that provides he will pay the Internal Revenue Service $1200 per month. However, the good news is that he owes them over $1 million, and all of it will go away completely when the statute of limitations expires next year.
JUNE 2022: I just finished a “Correspondence Exam” with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of an individual client. After my first dispute letter, the Internal Revenue Service
reduced the tax bill from $96,000 to $13,000. Sometimes good results like this are easy to come by, but that can never be promised.
MAY 2022: After a client had been previously audited for 2015 and owed back taxes as a result, the Internal Revenue Service decided to audit his businesses for the years 2016 through 2018. After dealing with the Revenue Agent for over two years, mostly on a frustrating remote basis, we finally negotiated a final settlement to the examination where the client owed nothing! He is so thrilled that he told me he still cannot believe it.
MAY 2022: We are very proud to report that our client was granted a complete victory against the Georgia Department of Revenue. We conducted a full day trial in the Georgia Tax Tribunal, and challenged the Department’s claim that my client, who lived and worked in another country for over 10 years, owed income taxes to Georgia. The court found that even though the taxpayer owned property in this state, he did not live here or earn income here, and therefore was not liable for Georgia income taxes. I could not have been happier with the decision.
JANUARY 2022: My divorced client owed thousands of dollars to both the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue because her ex-husband had put several incorrect numbers on their joint tax returns for years. My client never saw or signed any of those returns, so therefore I submitted a Petition for Innocent Spouse Relief. After 51 weeks of waiting, we finally received a letter today from the Internal Revenue Service granting my client full relief from the taxes.
2021 Client Success Stories
NOVEMBER 2021: It took 2 ½ hours on the phone with the Internal Revenue Service last week to convince them to stop seizing my 83 year old client’s social security payments. He has no home, no savings, and no income other than the minimal social security. The client was ecstatic, of course, but I am concerned that the understaffed Internal Revenue Service is making it harder to get the right thing done lately.
AUGUST 2021: Over the past two weeks I have counseled and represented two different clients in the sales of their businesses. Both got their asking price: one was paid $2.6 million, and the other received $7 million, over time. Each transaction had its own challenges, with banks, law firms, and document disputes and strategies. Congratulations to both of them!
JUNE 2021: Another very happy client this week. This out-of-state manufacturer/distributor was threatened with criminal prosecution and loss of license by the Georgia Department of Revenue. After our discussion with the Department and the Hearing Officer, we got the unintentional violations reduced to probation and a nominal fine, and the client got to keep its license to conduct business in this state.
JUNE 2021: I reached out to Jeff in 2017 after receiving a dreaded letter from the IRS regarding an audit. Definitely not the type of thing one wants to handle on their own. I was distressed by the events and reached out to Jeff for assistance. He picked up the phone right away as I called him and explained to me the potential processes that would follow. Jeff’s demeanor put me at ease and after meeting with him and deciding to move forward with him as my legal representation, Jeff was spot on for every step of the process. We were able to appeal our case and get a significantly lower negotiated amount than what the IRS wanted. I highly recommend Jeff to anyone needing help with the IRS. Professional, courteous, knowledgeable are the 3 mains words I would use to describe Jeff. Thank you for everything Jeff.
MAY 2021: A client who had been divorced for a few years was assessed a large amount of money by the Internal Revenue Service. She had been on a joint tax return with her ex-husband, and he failed to report a large retirement account withdrawal. I filed an Innocent Spouse Petition with the Internal Revenue Service, and after over a year, we were notified today that the entire assessment against our client was eliminated. We had proved that she met all of the prerequisites of the Innocent Spouse rules.
MARCH 2021: A small car dealership came to us in the summer of 2019 with a $397,000 tax bill. After one and a half years of dealing with the audit division, and other administrative procedures at the Internal Revenue Service, I was very happy to call the client yesterday and tell him that this tax bill was reduced to zero!
JANUARY 2021: This recent case shows that the Georgia Department of Revenue does indeed have a heart. I have a client with a permanent disability, who cannot leave his bed or wheelchair. He cannot work, and his wife is his full time caregiver. Their only income is Social Security. I offered the DOR $1 as a token, and submitted hundreds of pages of medical records to support our position. They initially rejected our offer, and requested more medical records. I appealed this rejection, and was truly moved when I was able to call the client and tell him that the decision had been changed and he no longer owed any tax to the State.
2020 Client Success Stories
DECEMBER 2020: We reached a fantastic result for a client this week. The Internal Revenue Service assessed a small construction company with $3.8 million in taxes. Of course the client was terribly upset, and we were unable to win at the Appeals Division because the client had paid so much of its business expenses with cash. We filed a Tax Court petition, and after dealing with the case for over a year, used other methods to prove the expenses were legitimate, and got the final tax bill down to $38,000!
NOVEMBER 2020: The Internal Revenue Service announced on October 23 that they will resume sending out balance due notices, and also the more intimidating demand notices, to past due taxpayers soon. This program had been suspended since May, giving many clients a needed delay. Please contact me if you receive such a notice, or are experiencing a hardship that prevents you from being able to pay the Internal Revenue Service.
OCTOBER 2020: After negotiating an affordable payment plan for a client with the Internal Revenue Service, I was pleased today to inform the client that the statute of limitations had expired, and he had saved approximately $500,000. Our strategy had worked again.
OCTOBER 2020: I was just able to convey some excellent news to a long time client. I had challenged the Internal Revenue Service calculations of the expiration of the ten year statute of limitations. It took the Internal Revenue Service over two years to get a response to me that I was right. In the meantime, our procedural choice saved the client over $260,000!
SEPTEMBER 2020: The Internal Revenue Service is still seizing property from “taxpayers” who refuse to pay when they can. And the Internal Revenue Service will continue to do so. A recent internal government report, dated September 9, shows just this. Beware ignoring the Internal Revenue Service.
SEPTEMBER 2020: Jeffrey Cohen has just been elected to serve as chair-elect of the Georgia State Bar Association Section on Taxation, as well as its Executive Committee.
JUNE 2020: After working with a client since 2008, we were able to guide him through the Internal Revenue Service statute of limitations morass this month, finally saving him $723,000! This is another example of the fact that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
FEBRUARY 2020: I just received an email from a client whose salary had been levied by the Internal Revenue Service. We got the levy released today, just in time for payday. The email said “YOU ARE AWESOME!! THANKS SO MUCH!
2019 Client Success Stories
AUGUST 2019: After working with an individual who owed the Internal Revenue Service in excess of $1.4 million, and after going through several Internal Revenue Service collection employees over a period of four years, we were successful in getting the Taxpayer an Offer in Compromise where he settled his tax bill for just over $300,000.
JUNE 2019: Over the past few months the IRS has assessed a large amount of payroll tax against a business client. They also attempted to assess it personally against a former employee of the business, long since retired. After interviewing her, calling her, and essentially scaring her into a panic, I was able to convince the IRS of the obvious: this innocent lady had no decision-making authority for the business and should not be held liable for their taxes. The lady cried with joy when I informed her that the IRS would no longer pursue her.
MAY 2019: My clients, a married couple in their 70’s, were assessed almost $300,000 by the Internal Revenue Service. They were in shock. I believed the assessment was not only wrong, but based on sloppiness by the government. Using a special procedure, we were able to get the balance down to zero!!! Now they can retire in peace.
MARCH 2019: A client that really loved an island in the Caribbean came in and told me that not only had he neglected to report his foreign bank account to the IRS, but that the Caribbean bank would not give him any statements of account nor respond to his calls and emails. After several months, I was successful in getting the bank to return over $600,000 of my client’s funds that they had held for 24 years. And now we have just begun the process of cleaning up and resolving his lack of reporting with the Internal Revenue Service.
JANUARY 2019: A new client who invested in a New York restaurant eight years ago was assessed with over $100,000 of its unpaid taxes, even though she had lived in Georgia for the last five years, and even though she was a passive investor who had no contact with management and never received a dollar of profits. Although New York law allows such an unfair assessment, our research discovered an exception, and we were able to get her tax bill in N.Y. down to $1400!!
2018 Client Success Stories
NOVEMBER 2018: I was exhilarated today to go into an IRS Appeals conference with a client to contest a proposed assessment of over $700,000. The reason is that after three hours with the agent, we closed out the case with the client only owing $610.00!! This again shows that an initial IRS assessment might only be an opening offer.
NOVEMBER 2018: This has to be a record: we have been dealing with the IRS for 4 ½ years on behalf of a client to finally get him an Installment Payment Agreement. It certainly was not easy for anyone, but the payment is in an amount that the client is very happy with. More importantly, in the meantime, the client’s tax bill was reduced by over $80,000 due to the passing of the statute of limitations on collection.
OCTOBER 2018: It’s not an everyday occurrence that a client’s gratitude touches my heart. A new client, with a poor grasp of English but who owned a business for five years, came in with a Georgia Department of Revenue penalty of $47,000. And this was on a tax underpayment of only $500 per year for five years. I filed an appeal and quickly got the amount reduced to $4700, where it should be. The gratified client told me that he and his family could finally sleep because I had saved his life.
SEPTEMBER 2018: We just saved a client over $300,000 in a case we had to take to Tax Court. I’ll give credit to the client—they had good records. We also were lucky enough to have intelligent and competent IRS agents and attorneys on the other side.
AUGUST 2018: Our client from North Georgia was assessed over $175,000 by the Georgia Department of Revenue. He claimed not only could he not pay it, but that he felt he could not possibly owe that much. It turns out that he was audited by the IRS, and in turn, Georgia, but he did not receive proper notice of the audit. Of course, the government disallowed all deductions and taxed him. We challenged this with the Department of Revenue, and they agreed with the lack of proper notice and procedure, and reduced the client’s tax bill down to $1000!
JULY 2018: 2017 was not a good year for Mr. H. His wife died in January. Five months later he got an assessment notice from the IRS that he and his wife jointly owed over $60,000 in back taxes. Because Mr. H. had withholding from his paycheck, and his wife always took care of bills and paperwork, he was shocked. He brought his story, and paperwork, to us, and we filed a petition in the Tax Court asking for the Court to rescind the assessment based on the Innocent Spouse defense. Our petition and negotiations were successful, as we today signed paperwork from the Court concluding that Mr. H owes nothing. He is having a much better year in 2018.
JUNE 2018: We have been seeing an increasing number of clients who have received notifications that their passports may be revoked or denied because they owe the IRS more than $50,000. This can cause a major disruption in business and vacation travel plans. The IRS has so far been woefully incompetent in dealing with us in resolving individual client issues. We will keep you informed as we gain more experience with this unfair new law.
MAY 2018: Our client owed the IRS $350,000, and we offered them $40,000 to settle in full. The IRS rejected the Offer, claiming that the client could eventually pay over $1.6 Million! Two phone calls and one fax from me, and the IRS changed their calculations and accepted a $54,000 Offer in Compromise! The client viewed It as a lesson in Perseverance.
APRIL 2018: Using a new Georgia law just enacted last fall, I was thrilled recently to get a client’s $98,000 tax bill to the State of Georgia reduced down to $15! This was a fairly unusual situation, and only older tax debts can take advantage of the new law.
APRIL 2018: A client of mine for a long time, who owes the IRS in the six-figure range, had a great day this week. Because of his health issues, I was able to get him and his wife placed into Currently Not Collectible status with the Internal Revenue Service. This means that despite their high balance due, they will have to pay nothing on the arrearage for the next few years.
MARCH 2018: An Atlanta small business with about 20 employees was assessed a $105,000 penalty by the Internal Revenue Service for what they believed was the client’s failure to turn in certain forms. Although this does not happen every day, I was able to convince the IRS that it was their own mistake, and got the penalty reduced all the way down to $4000.
March 2018: The IRS program for those with undisclosed foreign or offshore assets will soon be terminated. Call me to discuss the details. Click HERE for the IRS News Release.
February 2018: Utilizing our experience with certain employees of the Internal Revenue Service, and our knowledge of the intricacies of the statute of limitations, we just saved one client over $100,000.
January 2018: Bitcoin investors take note: if you make money on your digital currency transactions, you will owe tax on it! Your anonymity is short-lived. Be sure to read this New York Times article which clearly explains why you should not risk a charge of tax fraud.
January 2018: After several months of wrangling with a high-dollar Tax Court case that was referred by an accounting firm, all it took was a long sitdown with the IRS attorney to resolve the case completely in our client’s favor, with no tax due.
2017 Client Success Stories
December 2017: I am so happy to announce my move to the Bomar Law Firm in the Atlanta Galleria. This firm is young and accomplished, and specializes in tax controversy and tax issues. I look forward to utilizing their combined expertise and contributing to their team.
NOVEMBER 28, 2017: We were hired by several new clients this year who are tax return preparers being audited or investigated by the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue. There are so many areas where return preparers, whether they are a CPA or not, can make errors on their clients’ returns, which will cause them to be assessed a variety of penalties. Any tax return preparer who is contacted by the Internal Revenue Service about an investigation, or who sees many of their own clients getting audited, should seek a consultation with a tax attorney to determine if they have any penalty exposure.
NOVEMBER 17, 2017: A client that owed a large amount to the Internal Revenue Service was very relieved when I was able to inform him that I convinced the IRS that the statute of limitations on its tax bill had expired, and that the IRS would no longer be able to collect anything. We always look at using the statute of limitations for a client’s benefit when the situation allows for it.
AUGUST 2017: Mr. Cohen was chosen to serve on the Executive Committee of the Taxation Section of the Georgia State Bar. This organization deals with tax related seminars, education and legislation for Georgia attorneys.
AUGUST 2017: The IRS audited a client, and initially denied his charitable deductions because he did not have the cancelled check (the client only had carbon copies of the checks he wrote.) It was easy for us to prove, and convince the IRS Appeals Office, that the charity indeed received the contribution, and the client should get full credit for the donations. This was a nice, and proper, victory.
JULY 2017: A client who came to us last year had won a million dollar lottery! Unfortunately, they spent it all, and now had a six figure tax bill to deal with. Using the often abused Offer in Compromise technique, we are happy to report that we just settled their case with the Internal Revenue Service for a little over $9000. This is a terrific result for an elderly couple.
JUNE 2017: The three major credit reporting agencies will soon make changes in their credit report practices that will make many of our clients happy. Most people with tax liens from either the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Revenue know how it shows up on their credit reports and sometimes hurts their efforts to get loans or jobs. Because of the many lawsuits against them in recent years, the agencies will now significantly reduce the number of liens that will show up on the reports, and taxpayers should eventually notice the change, and hopefully experience a benefit. – N.Y. Times Article
MAY 2017: We just completed an IRS appeal for a client, and he is, in his own words, ecstatic. The Internal Revenue Service had audited him and his business, and he came to us with a proposed assessment in excess of $360,000. We did a bit of tax research, and prepared a formal appeal. After a bit of negotiation with the Appeals Officer downtown, the IRS essentially agreed with our positions, and the tax bill was reduced to $25,000. As I often tell clients, the initial position of the IRS is not always correct.
APRIL 2017: As we mentioned in our February posting, the Internal Revenue Service has now started sending out taxpayer accounts to debt collection agencies. Yes, those same people that harass you when your credit card or car payments are late. In a recent NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE, it is explained why this is such a bad idea on the part of our government. Please contact us rather than attempting to discuss your private tax issues with any collection agency. These people do not know tax law, and are receiving a percentage of what you pay on your back taxes.
MARCH 2017: The Georgia Department of Revenue recently tried to force a small tax return preparer out of business. Using a tiny sampling of less than 1% of her filed returns, they sued in court for an injunction, which would have put her out of business. We were thrilled when the court accepted our argument that the DOR did not even come close to proving that our client had any intention at all to defraud the State of any taxes. Although the Internal Revenue Service will occasionally go after return preparers, this is the first case we have had which was initiated by the Georgia DOR.
FEBRUARY 2017: The Internal Revenue Service has been authorized by Congress, and will soon start using private debt collection agencies to collect past due tax that the IRS has been unable or too understaffed to reach. Different procedures will apply to these collection agencies, and we expect scam artists to try to take advantage of taxpayers again. Please contact us if a debt collector (or the IRS, of course) calls or writes you concerning past due taxes. There are certain ways in which we will handle the collection agencies which may differ from how we might deal with true IRS Collection Division employees.
2016 Client Success Stories
DECEMBER 2016: Almost two years since we submitted a client’s package to the IRS to get them relieved of criminal and penalty liability for their foreign bank accounts, the IRS accepted them into the OVDP program, and agreed with our asset valuation in its entirety! The agent actually told me that this was one of the few OVDP cases he had ever handled where he accepted it without requesting additional money and documents.
DECEMBER 2016: We were ecstatic to get some great news on an IRS case this week. We had put together a detailed package challenging an IRS assessment on a business owner for tax periods in 2004 through 2007. The challenge was based on many technical issues, and the IRS fought back for several months, but the bottom line is the client saved $679,000!
OCTOBER 2016: The IRS attempted to assess the wife of the owner of a local company with over $100,000 in withholding taxes that the company had not paid. We had to take the case all the way up to the Appeals Division to convince the IRS that their assessment was wrong, and that the wife had no responsibility for or control over her husband’s company’s finances.
OCTOBER 2016: The month is starting off particularly well for two of our clients. One who owed over $800,000 will only have to pay $3600 to clear his tax debt and get his liens released. The other, after an IRS Appeals hearing, will pay $3999 as an Offer in Compromise on a $71,000 tax bill. These two cases are not the norm, but prove that there is always hope to work things out.
AUGUST 2016: Yesterday I set a new lifetime record for the quickest IRS Appeals Hearing ever. My client and I were in and out of the hearing officer’s conference room in five minutes, with the IRS conceding that their $125,000 proposed assessment against my client could not stand. We were of course well prepared to present our case, and had supplied the hearing officer with our documents and research in advance.
AUGUST 2016: Another extremely happy client had his case resolved today. He came to us a year ago with an IRS assessment of $119,000 for three years. We filed a Tax Court petition, and settled it with the client owing only about $300! Fortunately for this client, when the IRS asked for records and receipts, we had them.
JULY 2016: Well over a year ago we settled a case in Tax Court for an “innocent spouse” who agreed to pay $30,000, leaving her ex-husband to pay the remaining $150,000. The IRS mistakenly billed her $52,000 instead of $30,000, and then took all $52,000 when she sold her house. After a very frustrating and exasperating year of my attempting to deal with a nonresponsive, understaffed IRS bureaucracy, our client has finally received a refund of $17,000 (although no apology was attached!)
JUNE 2016: We have an extremely happy new client who owed almost $300,000 in past due sales taxes. Mr. Cohen spent a few days gathering background documents and speaking with Department of Revenue representatives. After picking apart the true balance due and discussing eligibility for penalty abatements, we were able to negotiate a payment of $80,000 to pay off the client’s account in full.
MAY 2016: Two more clients in the past two weeks were extremely happy to have had their cases put into Currently Not Collectible status with the IRS. Even though they still owe the past due tax, the IRS will not be demanding or looking for any payments for an indefinite time. It was our job in these cases to convince the IRS that the clients simply did not have the funds to pay the back taxes while also paying their normal living expenses.
APRIL 2016: Despite published numbers showing that IRS audits are down this year, we are seeing an increasing frequency of problematic audit cases. Many of these are cases where the original accountant did a questionable job or is no longer around. Some are returns that were prepared by the taxpayer himself or the business itself, or without good accounting advice. Although we do not prepare returns, we are defending taxpayers against Internal Revenue Service proposed assessments that suggest there was unreported cash, or underreported income, or unsubstantiated or even fraudulent deductions. This is always a challenge, and the IRS appears to be getting better at detecting which tax returns will yield the most back taxes in an audit.
APRIL 2016: We recently settled a Tax Court case of the eve of trial. The IRS originally assessed the client with over $300,000 in tax. Some of this was due to the client filing a very late return, and much of it was due to the complexity of the return. When we couldn’t get anyone at the IRS to agree with our position, we put the necessary pressure on the IRS attorneys, and were able to close the case with the correct resolution, and the client owed nothing!
FEBRUARY 2016: A client was thrilled earlier this week when we negotiated a payment agreement that will save her in excess of $400,000. After years of working on this case, we were able to utilize the statute of limitations on tax collections to our advantage, and the IRS will soon be out of the client’s life.
JANUARY 2016: Poor customer service at the Internal Revenue Service is a given, and it is approaching unacceptable levels. It is no secret that I blame Congress for all of these problems. Click here for a link to a New York Times article describing some recent developments and challenges being experienced by the IRS and taxpayers. – NY TIMES Article
2015 Client Success Stories
NOVEMBER 2015: In the past few weeks, we have settled two separate Tax Court cases with the clients each ending up owing nothing to the IRS. This is further proof that if you have a good case, it is worth pursuing. Even if the IRS continues to be understaffed and frustrating to deal with, they have attorneys who are reasonable and cooperative when a case is handled correctly.
OCTOBER 2015: One of our clients has brought to our attention what must be the latest IRS impersonation scam. Most of us have heard about the intimidating and threatening phone calls from criminals who threaten to have the call recipient arrested if they do not send money electronically within a few hours. Now we have discovered a somewhat different version, in which the scammer sends a letter to a taxpayer who has a recorded tax lien, demanding the taxpayer call them. If a person is not familiar with IRS notices and forms, this threatening letter certainly looks official. I of course called the number, and the cheesy, boiler room atmosphere was easy to detect. Lesson to all: do not deal with the IRS or Department of Revenue on your own.
SEPTEMBER 2015: Did you know that a husband or wife can petition the Internal Revenue Service for Innocent Spouse status while still married? Although the great majority of these cases involve a divorced couple, a spouse who had no knowledge of or participation in a transaction of the other spouse that results in unpaid tax can get this type of relief. We have also just discovered a way to formally request it while a Tax Court case is ongoing. Please call us if you think that you or your spouse might be in such a situation.
JULY 2015: We had a very successful resolution of a complex employment tax audit last week. The client, who had two S corporations, was assessed over $140,000 by the examining agent. The client retained us to file an appeal, and we also attended the appeals hearing. At the hearing, we settled the case, and the client will pay a total of less than $10,000 for both corporations.
JUNE 2015: We were recently successful in getting the Internal Revenue Service to place another client into “Currently Not Collectible” status. Although he owes in excess of $100,000, the client will not need to make any payments for the indefinite future, and will not have to worry about the IRS seizing his bank accounts or salary. This is a perfect resolution for a person or business that cannot pay back taxes, but, for one reason or another, does not qualify for an Offer in Compromise.
MAY 2015: This has been a big week for our firm and a couple of our clients. Mr. Cohen secured releases of two IRS levies totaling in excess of $1 million in the past two days. Although the two cases are very different, the key is to understand what the IRS is unhappy with, if possible, and to convince them that the client will be very cooperative in the future.
April 2015: We have recently placed another Atlanta client into the IRS’ OVDP program for foreign bank accounts. There are several variations of participation in the program, which is geared toward giving the taxpayer assurance that he will not be criminally prosecuted for failure to disclose foreign or offshore bank accounts and assets. Although the IRS is understaffed in many departments, they continue to emphasize their intention to put long term FBAR non-filers into jail. Anyone with a foreign bank account having a balance over $10,000 needs to know their options and reporting obligations at this point.
MARCH 2015: Using a legal argument based on the statute of limitations, Mr. Cohen was able to save a client over $145,000. Because the IRS attempted to assess the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty against the owner of a business more than three years after the business’ employment tax returns were filed, we successfully argued that the assessment was too late.
FEBRUARY 2015: So far this year, Mr. Cohen has secured “Currently Not Collectible” status for three clients. This is a resolution of a tax case where the IRS agrees that the taxpayer cannot afford monthly payments, and agrees that despite how much the taxpayer/client owes in back taxes, they will leave him or it alone and stop collection efforts for a few years. This gives the client breathing room, and comfort that their business, assets, and wages will not be seized. Although it is not easy to get into this category with the IRS, if the numbers and financial statement support it, the monthly payment can be brought down to zero.
2014 Client Success Stories
NOVEMBER 2014: Over a year ago the Georgia Department of Revenue seized (yes, they simply took the money!) over $300,000 from our client’s investment account. She was a widow, and the money had been owed by her late husband’s business. When the Department refused to listen to our argument that our client had nothing to do with it, our firm filed a lawsuit on her behalf against the Department of Revenue. Just before going to a full trial, Mr. Cohen and a firm partner negotiated a settlement with the State of Georgia in which they gave half of the money back to our client.
SEPTEMBER 2014: In another Innocent Spouse case in which the Internal Revenue Service wanted almost $200,000, Mr. Cohen successfully negotiated a Tax Court settlement of $30,000 for the ex-wife. In this case the ex-wife client did sign the tax return, but we were able to prove that she was unaware of many of the items of unreported income and unsubstantiated deductions.
JULY 2014: We just finished up an audit of a business by the IRS. Because the client was able to retrieve a large volume of its records and banks statements, and we got them in very good order for the Revenue Agent, the IRS conceded 90 percent of the proposed tax. Not every audit of businesses and individuals has such good results (although we have on occasion secured additional refunds when the records are available), but taxpayers should not fear a letter from the IRS telling them that their return has been selected for examination.
MAY 2014: Mr. Cohen conducted a full Tax Court trial against the Internal Revenue Service in an Innocent Spouse case. Our client was abused by the ex-spouse, left the house, and never even signed a tax return. The IRS never relented, and the client decided to have her day in court. The judge held that indeed no joint return was filed, and the client therefore was not liable for the large amount her ex-husband owed from his tax return. The lesson in this case, as in so many, is that just because the IRS takes a position, and sticks to it, does not mean they are right.
2013 Client Success Stories
October 2013: As the government shutdown finishes a second week, we are seeing and hearing of several tax related emergencies. One new client in particular had his wages levied by the IRS just before the shutdown, and there is literally nobody that we can call or fax to attempt to get the levy lifted. This is a process that can sometimes take as little as two days, yet this unfortunate man (who owes much less than the levy suggests he does) has to suffer because certain Congressmen are throwing an ego tantrum. The National Taxpayer Advocate is also out of work, so neither we, nor our Senatorial contact, has anyone to call on to break through the nightmare. The IRS put out a policy on not issuing levies during this “Lapse in Appropriations,” but they inexcusably omitted any authority to stop levies that were issued just beforehand. Please call our office if you are experiencing problems due to the shutdown, and we will try to advise you.
September 2013: When our firm represents clients in an IRS matter, we submit a power of attorney, and the IRS is required to contact us, rather than the taxpayer, whenever they need to discuss the matter. Not infrequently I find out that the Revenue Officer has either been sloppy or lazy, and has contacted the taxpayer/client rather than me. A recent IRS report has confirmed that this happens regularly, and that they may try to remedy their mistakes. As always, I recommend to our clients that they never talk to an IRS agent who calls or comes by their house or business they should just get their name and number, and tell the Revenue Officer to contact me!
August 2013: Audits are up and going higher! The IRS has long known that they make good money, and have a winning record, when they audit taxpayers. Now, in a recent IRS report, they have announced that they will increase their use of the Correspondence Audit. This type of audit is handled by mail, and can result in complications and injustice if not handled promptly and correctly. We recommend that any client or taxpayer receiving written notice of an examination from the IRS contact us in order to have us properly coordinate the response, and ensure that the IRS does not assess extra tax when it shouldn’t.
APRIL 2013: We just finished a Tax Court case in which our client won a 100 percent victory! The client operates two different businesses, and after an audit of two years the IRS assessed him with a very large tax bill. This was one of those rare cases where we were able to prove every single deduction, and found persuasive case law supporting our client’s deductions and timing issues. This case is also a wonderful example of a taxpayer keeping excellent records, and not giving up when the IRS wins the first round.
April 2013: The IRS has recently published its Delinquent Collection Activities statistics for 2012. For those of you who have recently filed, or plan to file, an Offer in Compromise, the news is good: the number of Offers last year which were accepted by the IRS increased over 2011 by 20 percent! As you may be aware, because of a change in regulations last year, our office has filed many more Offers than we have in years, and have experienced a significant increase in accepted Offers. This is encouraging, and we will continue to file Offers for clients who appear to be good candidates for this program. (Unlike the tax resolution companies that advertise incessantly on TV, we will only submit an Offer for you if you appear to qualify under the IRS formula.) Also in the statistics, the number of levies issued by the IRS on taxpayers’ employers and banks has decreased a bit. However, if you were one of the 3 million people who were subjected to one of these, it was not good news.
March 2013: So many people are shocked to learn that if one of their debts is cancelled or forgiven, it will be considered taxable income by the IRS. If your house is foreclosed, a credit card debt is reduced, or a business loan is uncollectible, the taxpayer may receive a Form 1099-C in the mail from the creditor. Although the cancelled amount must be reported as income, there are several exceptions which we can help clients take advantage of. The key is to contact us as soon as you receive notice of the debt cancellation income so we can determine if one of the exceptions can be used to help you avoid the tax. A recent article further explains how this surprising concept works.
JANUARY 2013: We are proud that we were able to negotiate a wonderful Offer in Compromise for one of our clients last week. On a debt that exceeded $70,000, the IRS finally accepted our offer of $1000. While such low settlements are very rare (the commercials we see on television are fictional) the Offer in Compromise program has been revamped, and we encourage anyone who thinks they may be a candidate for an Offer to call to discuss their situation.
January 2013: Do you believe that you have certain rights as a Taxpayer? Do you know what those rights are? If you are a client of our firm, you have surely learned that you indeed have legal rights, especially to appeal certain IRS actions. Even if the IRS does not seem to realize what the law is or act as though Taxpayers have rights, we continuously advocate for our clients’ interests when dealing with the IRS or Georgia Department of Revenue.