Overdue Taxes and How to Fix Them

Posted by on Mar 23, 2019 in Legal News |

Well, the above title says it all. You got behind on your taxes, the IRS is mad, and you need to fix it. While the IRS has been painted as the boogeyman since America started collecting taxes, it is a necessary evil and doesn’t have to be quite so scary. If you have overdue taxes, you already know that you can’t waste another minute. Here are some ways you can get caught up on your taxes (as well as what happens if you don’t).

Don’t Wait for Them to Contact You 

When it comes to the IRS, no news is not good news. If they haven’t contacted you about back taxes, that doesn’t mean that they’re unaware. The system is automated. It is likely that they have or are about to receive an alert about your unpaid taxes. Waiting for them to contact you also looks like you’re trying to avoid paying back taxes, and that is less than ideal when asking them for leniency. 

A Payment Plan 

There are options for payment plans. The IRS knows, logically, that at some point, people are going to run into problems and won’t have their tax money ready. The IRS offers payment plans to eligible individuals. These are installment agreements, which means that you pay a set amount over a repeated period of time (like a mortgage, for example). A payment plan will work for you if you believe you can pay off your taxes within the time period. Note that there will be fees associated with the plan, and you might be required to pay by direct debit. 

The Fresh Start Program 

The Fresh Start Program works well for small business owners and those who are self-employed. Installment agreements are part of the Fresh Start Program. If you owe up to $50,000 you can pay over a period of six years in the form of direct debits. This is called a “streamlined installment agreement.” Through this type of agreement, you can file to have your lien removed ahead of time if there is one. You can get the notice of the lien withdrawn if you show that you’re paying on time and according to plan.

Offer in Compromise 

Offers in compromise are another part to this Fresh Start Program. Part of the program entailed giving the IRS more flexibility when looking at your current situation. With the offer in compromise, the IRS looks at your debts, what’s going on, why you can’t pay your taxes, and equity in your assets. They may be able to settle your debt with you at a lower price. The IRS will give you that offer when it is a reasonable amount that they expect to receive within an allotted time frame. This isn’t for everyone, so check to see if you are eligible.


Of course, there are penalties for back taxes. That’s how they arrested Al Capone. He admitted to not paying income taxes, and a judge sentenced him to eleven years. He didn’t do any comparable time for his other crimes. 

That’s not to say that that’s what will happen to you. More likely, there will be a penalty fee. The fee is usually an additional five percent of the amount owed per month. If you don’t pay for sixty days past the due date, the minimum fee is $135 (or 100% of what you owe—whichever number is smaller). Jail time doesn’t happen unless it is in severe cases, which, if you take care of this now, this won’t be. 

Hopefully, this article has shown you that there are options when it comes to paying back your overdue taxes. It’s important to contact the IRS quickly to show that you’re aware that you owe taxes. They are likely more willing to work with you if they know you can start putting at least some payments down. 

Read More

St. Patrick’s Day: Leave the Luck to the Festivals

Posted by on Mar 16, 2019 in Legal News |

This March 17th, as it has been since the early 1600s, is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and it is actually a public holiday in the Irish Republic. St. Patrick’s Day is the day of the patron’s saint’s death. The day is celebrated by wearing green, drinking beer, and, in pretty much every country, having a parade. It is most often associated with luck and gold coins, yet you should leave the luck to the parades. When it comes to your future, you don’t want to take any chances. Your pot of gold is a well-crafted estate plan; here’s why. 

In Sickness…

One place where you don’t want to test your luck is sickness. Illness can creep up on anyone, and it’s important that you don’t let it catch you unawares. Consider obtaining a healthcare directive and power of attorney. A healthcare directive is a set of instructions that you submit to the hospital ahead of time. In case you’re too sick to tell the doctors yourself, they will go by the instructions you leave them. This works well if you have special needs or religious views that you want respected. 

A power of attorney helps you manage your healthcare and/or financial decisions when you’re too unwell to do it yourself. You selected a trusted individual to be in charge of the decision. This individual should know you well, and they should respect your decisions and know what you want. This position is vital, and it takes a lot of consideration.

…And in Health 

When you’re healthy, you might feel tempted to test your luck. After all, you don’t see sickness or anything on the horizon. What’s the worst that can happen? As everyone knows, that question is a loaded one. When you’re healthy, you can get a lot done with regards to your estate plan. You can include directions on transfers of assets, medical care, creditor repayment, and more. Seize the day when you are healthy to prepare for when you are not.

Luck Won’t Keep You Out of Probate Court 

Probate court is where your assets go when you don’t leave instructions on what to do with them. Even a last will and testament is subject to probate court. A way out of it is to set your assets up in a living trust, which will nominally take effect once it is signed. This way, your assets go to your beneficiary (via your trustee) without sticking them in probate. Probate court wraps up estates by paying off debts first and then splitting the remains. It also takes a long time, and it is very expensive. It is not something you want to put your family through, to say the least. 

Safeguarding Your Gold 

And by “gold,” we don’t mean shiny metal. Your home, car, furniture, collectibles, etc.; everything you own is an asset. You want to protect these from probate court and keep them in the hands of the people you love. You can do this by working out a well-crafted estate plan. Safeguarding your treasure is a matter of good estate planning. 

(And Your Kids, Too)

If you have kids, you will want to make sure that someone is there to take care of them if you’re unable to do so. You can include guardianship in your estate plan. The guardian you choose should be one who is, obviously, responsible and who consents to become the guardian. 

Luck is best left to the Irish, and St. Patrick’s Day is a fun time every year. However, don’t get swept up in the fervor and think you’re untouchable. It’s time to craft an estate plan that will be better than anything a leprechaun can offer. There’s a way to structure your future that protects yourself, your family, and your assets without cutting corners. It is best to contact an estate planning attorney for assistance. 

Read More

International Women’s Day: Celebrate the Women in Your Life

Posted by on Mar 6, 2019 in Legal News |

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8th. IWD came about in 1909, when the Socialist Party of America organized the day as a way to celebrate women workers. The SPA organized the event in New York, but it spread to become a nationwide celebration in 1910, when the International Socialist Women’s Conference decided it should be celebrated each year. The day has been adopted by the United Nations, as well as a host of other countries. 

It is a day of civil awareness and action. Most importantly, it is a day to celebrate the women in your life. Women do a lot of work and, in all too many cases, receive little credit. Protect the women in your life by helping them plan for their future. 

Preparing for the Future 

The future is, of course, unknowable. While you might think that you won’t get sick or become incapacitated, you never know. That’s not a bright subject to think about, but it is one that estate planning deals with all the time. 

In your estate plan, you should consider getting a healthcare directive and selecting a power of attorney. A healthcare directive is a set of advance instructions with which you can provide hospitals and other medical personnel in the event that you are too sick to tell them yourself. Similarly, a power of attorney will help make your financial and medical decisions for you when you are feeling too unwell to make them yourself. This way, you can prepare for your future and decrease the stress on the family in your life when you become ill. Helping the family is helping the women in your life.

Your Children 

Your children should be protected as well. Part of a healthy estate plan is selecting a guardian for your children should something happen to you. All children, both sons and daughters, need a healthy role model for themselves. When you’re picking a guardian, make sure it is someone who will take care of them day to day. Consult with your proposed guardian before you make the decision. 

Taking Care of the Women in Your Life 

If you think of the women in your life, you may want to leave them something to remember you by. Don’t just consider it—do it. If you want to leave your home or other assets to a loved one, make sure to put that into a living trust, which will help keep the asset out of probate court. This way, your transfer gets into the right hands without any outside confusion.

Aging Women 

If you know women in your life who are aging and who have not started an estate plan, you should encourage them to do so. An estate plan isn’t just for the elderly—younger individuals can benefit as well. But, it becomes particularly important as you get older. The process doesn’t have to be complex or difficult. Connect the women in your life with an estate planner who will help them prepare for their future. This proactiveness is the best way to counter an unknowable future.

College Education 

Women’s education rates are soaring, and that’s amazing. Continue to keep that trend going. Consider putting savings into a 529 plan. These are tax advantaged savings plans that will give you tax breaks as you save for the future college student’s education. Another form of the 529 plan is a tuition plan, where you pay the cost of the tuition in total and it is applied to the school. These plans differ based on state and university. But, they are well worth considering.

International Women’s Day is a way to show the women in your life how much you love them. There are a lot of ways that you can express that love; preparing for the future is one of them. This IWD, remember the sacrifices women have made and continue to make every day to make the world a better place. 

Read More