Help with federal taxes
Lucy Peckinpah, at first glance, looks like any average American. She works two jobs. She gets the most out of her beat up car. She clips coupons to get the best deals at the supermarket. As a single mother, Lucy appears to really be on the ball in the game of life. Unfortunately, she is barely keeping afloat, and she seems to sink further and further with every passing day. After misunderstanding a tax form four years ago, Lucy incurred a penalty on her income taxes. When she could not afford to pay it, she ignored it, hoping that it would keep until she could scrape the money together. After two years of fees and late penalties, she found herself with a substantially larger bill, and the federal government was levying her meager income to recoup the totals.
“I had no idea what to do,” said Lucy. “I felt like a criminal or a tax cheat. I was so ashamed, so I never sought out help. I felt completely alone.” The sad reality is that Lucy is definitely not alone. The United States Supreme Court has established that the government has held the power to levy taxes since the year 1791. Before 1776, the American Colonies were taxed by England on the authority of the crown and parliament. The United States Constitution, adopted in 1787, gave the federal government the right to collect taxes, though there were some requirements regarding state distribution of those funds based on population. In short, unless you happened to exist in that brief window of time in the late 18th century when taxes were not around in this country, you have some experience with taxes and tax law.
“People do not seek help with federal taxes for many reasons,” said Daniel LaRossi, a retired accountant who offers free tax resolution services to the impoverished community in his childhood neighborhood. “Some folks in tax trouble fear that a bad situation could become worse, specifically living in fear that their employer might fire them for incurring a tax levy. They do not know that, according to Federal law, any employer found guilty of terminating an employee over a tax levy can receive one year of jail time and a substantial fine.”
LaRossi suggests seeking help with federal taxes as early as possible. “The IRS, in accordance with the Constitution, is required to notify you before they issue a levy,” said LaRossi. “That notification allows you the chance to be heard on the issue, and that is when you should ideally seek help with federal taxes.”
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