(FLORIDA)- A 56-year-old Florida man, who had been laid off, spent 20 years working in the industry of installation and service of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems before his health began to worsen.
Peter (which is a name given to the 56-year-old man for confidential purposes) had a stroke in 2018. He found himself in and out area medical centers, and unable to work.
He had been previously living with his mother as a single man after his home was foreclosed in 2014. That same year, Peter had incurred about $63,541.25 in tax debt that included interest and penalties.
He received a Notice of Deficiency from the IRS, which is a taxpayer's legal notice that the IRS is proposing a deficiency. He only had 90 days to file a petition in the Tax Court.
Peter was living on fixed-income and had begun receiving Social Security Disability. So paying tens of dollars in tax debt was impossible, he said.
He sought out help and was referred to Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. (FRLS) - a non-profit law firm for low-income residents in 14 Florida counties.
FRLS' Low-Income Tax Clinic was able to remove $17,585 in penalties and the tax law experts helped to reduce his tax debt to $47,252.55.
At a later date, his account was placed in an IRS Non Collectible Status to protect his Social Security Income. It's important to note that being "currently not collectible" does not mean the debt goes away, it means the IRS has determined you cannot afford to pay the debt at this time.
FRLS' next step is to assist Peter with an Offer in Compromise.
About Low-Income Tax Clinics (LITC):
LITCs are independent from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. LITCs can also help taxpayers respond to IRS notices and correct account problems. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee.
Clinics participating in the LITC Program ensure the fairness and integrity of the tax system for taxpayers who are low-income or speak English as a second Language (ESL) by:
- Providing pro bono representation on their behalf in tax disputes with the IRS;
- Educating them about their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers; and
- Identifying and advocating for issues that impact these taxpayers.
Qualifications for LITC:
In order to qualify for assistance from an LITC, generally a taxpayer’s income must be below a certain threshold, and the amount in dispute with the IRS is usually less than $50,000.
In 2020, LITC represented 19,413 taxpayers, educated 133,757 taxpayers and service providers, helped secure $5.8 million in refunds and decrease or correct $50 million in tax liabilities.
"Thes LITC is important because low-income taxpayers would never get their tax controversies resolved due to the complexities of the IRS system and procedures, compounded by limited resources available to low-income taxpayers," said Roberto Suarez. "Low-income taxpayers cannot afford to hire a tax attorney to resolve their issues, and depend on the LITC."
To get legal help, you can apply online, visit one of our offices, or call our main intake line at 1-888-582-3410 .