What you need to prepare for our first meeting with our tax lawyer really depends on your circumstances, but at the very least you should gather enough information, so you can answer help us answer these two questions. First , which tax return periods have not been filed (a range or estimate is fine), and do you have a general idea of what you owe and to whom?
The reason I need to have information to answer these two answers, and also as a way for you to come to grips with the issue and understand the problem that needs to be solved, is that the amount of tax debt you owe is very important (as I will explain later), and to who you owe it to drives the choices we have to offer to solve the tax issue. The reason the later question needs to be answered is that the various taxing authorities have different rules that they follow when deciding on how to handle a tax matter. For instance the IRS and NYS Tax Dept. have very different rules regarding establishing a payment plan, or filing an offer in compromise. The amount owed is important, since a payment plan can be set up quickly (1-2 months), versus a offer in compromise settlement takes much longer (5-9 months). The solution required also depends on how old the tax debt is, and your finances. Overall, these issues are not easy, and that’s why we offer a free consultation so you get to know me, and also get some information related to how we would attack the issue.
Below is a list of some basic paperwork to collect before the meeting. Please be aware that we do not need all the letters you received, so a sample is fine since the IRS and NYS tax tends to send out many duplicate items over time. Here is the list.
- All the correspondence, notices that you received from the IRS or New York State taxation department.
- Copies of all the federal and NY State tax returns that you have, or can get copies of for last three years.
- All documents (such a W/2 forms, 1099 forms, etc) that show your income during the period in question. If you have your own business, we will also need information about your business income and expenses, in a summarized version. If it’s a sales tax matter, Z-tapes are helpful.
At the first meeting with your tax lawyer, if you owe income taxes we will formulate a solution of how to pay the income taxes back within your budget, and or if its best to settle for a reduced amount, and you qualify, we will explain how the offer in compromise may benefit you. If the tax debt related to sales taxes, in most cases the state wants to be repaid all the sales tax monies but will be willing to waive the penalties and interest, which can be very substantial. The types of payment plans available range from three months to close to ten years, with the IRS. Typically, NYS Tax Department wants to be repaid in 60 sixty months, at the latest. Therefore, their are many ways to settle with the IRS.