(BELLE GLADE,Fla.) - About 13.1 percent of Florida's population live below the poverty line, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau, many of whom owe back taxes and live in stress and fear.
These folks are nervous to open the mail, unsure where to turn, and wondering just how much this debt could burden them.
CBS12 News invited FRLS’ Belle Glade Managing Attorney Zade Shamsi-Basha to a 'live' on-camera interview on Saturday, April 15 to discuss the Low-Income Tax Clinic in Belle Glade, Fla., that helps qualified low-income taxpayers in Palm Beach County sort through their tax debt burdens at no cost.
It’s important to face tax obstacles head on and seek help from trustworthy sources likeFlorida Rural Legal Services, which can help taxpayers claim Hardship Status with the IRS. This status can prevent the IRS from garnishing wages and social security benefits when a tax liability prevents the household from affording basic, reasonable living expenses.
“Sometimes, taxpayers make good faith mistakes on their tax returns but help is there,” said Shamsi-Basha.
Below are some specific types of services that our LITC clients have been requesting:
- Audit Representation, many LITC clients have requested and are receiving free representation in the face of an IRS audit.
- Offer in Compromise;
- Affordable Payment Plans;
- Penalty Abatement
FRLS also provides free educational tax training for those who speak English as a second language.
“We are proud to be expanding our low-income tax clinic services, especially when so many of our client communities need tax controversy assistance,” said Jaffe Pickett, chief executive officer and executive director of FRLS. “This federal funding not only funds services that help clients through a process that may otherwise be lengthy and frustrating, but LITC advocates are equipped to provide critical legal services like avoiding tax liens.”
Note: The LITC does not generally provide tax return preparation. Our employees are responsible for ensuring that requests for reasonable accommodation are granted when the request is made by a qualified individual with a disability.