IRS Disputes

Issues involving the IRS require immediate action. Addressing an IRS dispute can be a very stressful experience. Regardless what type of matter you face, John M. Sakellarides, P.A. is here to help — you don’t have to face the IRS alone. As a tax lawyer with more than 25 years of practice experience, John aggressively pursues the best possible tax debt solution for every client. The firm assists clients throughout the State of Florida with IRS disputes.

Experience and Approach

John M. Sakellarides is a Florida tax lawyer who focuses his law practice on tax law, estate planning, and probate administration. Drawing on his many years of practice experience, John provides superior quality legal services and exceptional service to every client.

John earned his Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) degree at the University of Florida. His credentials and extensive experience set him apart from many other attorneys who practice in the same areas. John’s distinguished reputation in the legal profession and community is demonstrated by the fact that most of his clients come to him as the result of referrals from other clients and professionals.

In his tax law practice, John helps clients with every type of IRS issue. You receive personalized attention throughout the entire process. John’s goal is to provide high-quality dependable and straightforward legal representation. He is always available to address your questions and concerns. John also focuses on ensuring the predictability of legal fees by offering services on a flat fee basis whenever possible.

There is no charge for your initial consultation with John. You may schedule a meeting for an in-person discussion at the firm’s Clearwater office or use a virtual platform like Zoom or FaceTime for a virtual consultation.

Bank Levy Release

An IRS tax levy involves legal seizure of your bank assets in order to satisfy a tax debt. A tax levy is different from an IRS tax lien. In a tax levy, the IRS actually takes the property to satisfy a tax debt. In contrast, a tax lien is a claim used that secures property for the tax debt. The IRS can attach a tax levy to any type of property, including real estate, automobiles, and boats, but a levy is most frequently applied to bank accounts, securities, wages, and even the accounts receivable of a business.

Before the IRS can attach a tax levy to any property, they must issue a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing, giving the taxpayer up to 30 days from the date of the Final Notice to pay in full or find another solution. If you receive a Final Notice and do not pay your taxes or make arrangements to settle your tax debt, the IRS will issue the levy.

John M. Sakellarides can prevent a tax levy by requesting a Collection Due Process Hearing and convincing the IRS that alternatives to the levy exist. If your bank account has already been levied, John draws on his extensive experience to obtain a release of levy and prevent any future levies by negotiating a tax collection alternative. He represents you through every step of the process, advising you on options and strategies. His goal is always to achieve the best possible result.

Wage Garnishment Release

An IRS wage garnishment or wage levy is a written notice sent by the IRS to a taxpayer’s employer, requiring the employer to withhold a significant percentage of the employee’s pay and to forward it directly to the IRS. Before garnishing your wages, the IRS must issue a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing. You then have up to 30 days to pay in full or find another solution. Ignoring a Final Notice or doing nothing will only make matters worse.

John M. Sakellarides can analyze your situation to find the best course of action for you and avoid a tax levy on your wages. If your wages have already been levied, John uses his skill and experience to obtain a release of levy and prevent future levies by negotiating a tax collection alternative. He represents you through every step of the process, advising you on the available options and strategies.

Tax Liens

If you owe back taxes, the IRS can secure a tax lien on all your assets after meeting certain statutory requirements. A tax lien attaches to all property and rights to property of the taxpayer, to protect the government’s interests. The IRS usually records a tax lien in the county where the taxpayer lives or owns real estate. The lien puts everyone on notice that you owe back taxes and can be devastating to your credit and ability to borrow, lease, or refinance.

Convincing the IRS to release a tax lien is not an easy task. In numerous cases, John M. Sakellarides has successfully convinced the IRS to release tax liens. John draws on his detailed knowledge of tax procedure to determine if all administrative requirements for lien filing were met. In certain situations, he can negotiate for a subordination of the tax lien.

Unfiled Returns

Failing to file tax returns can create serious problems. Although you may not yet have been contacted by the Internal Revenue Service, delinquent taxes and returns catch up with you sooner or later. If you fail to file a tax return, the IRS will file a “substitute return” for you, which likely will omit deductions to which you may be entitled and result in a significant tax liability that you must address. In more serious cases, the IRS may seek to impose criminal penalties for a failure to file past due tax returns.

If you find yourself in this situation, John M. Sakellarides can help you get current with your tax return filings and analyze your situation to determine the best course of action for payment and minimizing the chance of a criminal investigation.

Offer in Compromise

If you owe a tax debt, the IRS has the authority to settle, or compromise, your tax debt by accepting less than full payment for what you owe in taxes, interest, and penalties under certain circumstances. An Offer in Compromise (OIC) is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that resolves the taxpayer’s tax debt in this manner.

An OIC may enable you to settle back taxes at a substantial discount on the basis of doubt as to collectibility or liability or effective tax administration. While your OIC is under consideration, the IRS is prohibited from instituting any levies of your assets or wages.

To submit an OIC for IRS review and consideration, there are many procedural requirements that must be satisfied. John M. Sakellarides can help you prepare and submit an OIC to the IRS.

Currently Not Collectible

The IRS places a taxpayer’s account in a Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status if the IRS cannot collect back taxes by full payment, through an Installment Agreement, or by way of an Offer in Compromise. After an account is placed in a CNC status, the IRS does not pursue collection activity against the taxpayer, but the statute of limitations on the tax liabilities continues to run. Generally, unless the taxpayer’s financial situation improves, the account will remain in a CNC status until the tax liabilities expire. If the taxpayer’s financial situation improves, the account will be taken off CNC status so the IRS can collect the back taxes through full payment or an Installment Agreement.

Innocent Spouse Claims

Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of benefits the filing status provides. On a joint return, both taxpayer spouses are jointly and individually responsible for the tax due on the return and for liability arising from an issue with the return. However, if a spouse can show they were not aware of an understatement or other erroneous information when they signed the return, the IRS may grant the spouse relief from paying the tax. The three types of relief available are:

  1. Innocent spouse relief
  2. Relief by separation of liability
  3. Equitable relief

If you think that you may be an innocent spouse in an IRS dispute, you need help from a tax professional to determine whether you are entitled to one of the three forms of relief. Tax lawyer John M. Sakellarides has the knowledge and experience to help you make the determination and present your Innocent Spouse Claim to the IRS.

IRS Audit

The annual number of IRS tax audits and quality of tax audits is rising steadily. If you receive a notice of audit from the IRS, you should immediately hire a tax attorney experienced in IRS audits and tax controversies. Tax attorney John M. Sakellarides has extensive experience in aggressively representing taxpayers in IRS audits.

Employment / Payroll Taxes

Under federal law, employers are required to withhold payroll taxes from the wages earned by the employees and forward the withholdings to the IRS. Failing to comply with the requirement is a serious matter. If an employer fails to timely file and pay the payroll taxes, the IRS has authority to collect the taxes from the business or even the person who was responsible for withholding and paying the payroll taxes to the IRS. Failure to correct a delinquent payroll tax filing or tax payment could result in closure of the business and liquidation of the assets of the business.

John M. Sakellarides helps business owners understand and follow payroll tax obligations and represents taxpayers with payroll tax liabilities. Whether you have a payroll tax liability as a result of a closed business or for a business still open, John can help.

Offshore Account Disclosures

The IRS works aggressively to uncover taxpayers who have not disclosed foreign income and foreign accounts. Form TDF 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) should be filed if the aggregate balances of foreign accounts exceed $10,000.00 at any time during the year. The FBAR covers a calendar year and should be filed no later than June 30th of the following year. The form prevents attempts by U.S. persons to avoid taxes by hiding money offshore.

The IRS has amnesty programs available for taxpayers to voluntarily come forward and disclose unreported foreign income and foreign accounts. To get relief, the taxpayer must meet specific requirements and follow certain filing procedures, in exchange for not being subject to criminal or civil fraud penalties.

John M. Sakellarides has the skill and experience to help get you in compliance with offshore disclosure and FBAR obligations and pursue benefits under the amnesty program to minimize the risk of any criminal investigation or imposition of civil penalties.

Abatement of Tax Penalties

The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the IRS to impose penalties on a taxpayer who fails to timely file a tax return or who fails to timely pay the tax that is due. The IRS also has authority to abate penalties that have been imposed under certain circumstances. The IRS makes abatement decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, if it can be shown to the IRS that the failure to timely pay or failure to timely file was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, the penalty will be removed. However, the taxpayer will still be responsible for the underlying tax owed, plus interest.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Talk About an IRS Dispute

John M. Sakellarides can help with your IRS matter, regardless of what the issue may be. Your initial consultation is always free of charge and without obligation. You may schedule an in-person consultation at the firm’s Clearwater office or a virtual meeting through a platform like Zoom or FaceTime. To talk with John about an IRS matter, please call (727) 785-1228 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation.