Monday, May 10, 2010

$41,000 Civil Penalty Reduced to Zero!

This was a different case and something that I had not come across in a long time. When the IRS notices that a business has not filed, filed timely, or filed in error all the wage statements (Form W-2 and W-3) for a particular tax year they assess a penalty. Usually the penalty is $100 per form, or it can be as high as 10% of the gross figure on the actual wage statement. In this case, the penalty was $41,000. The other downfall to the IRS systematic assessments is they do not notify a business taxpayer until 4 years later. They are very far behind with catching up with one another and trying to get two government agencies on the same page is like trying to balance a two golf balls on top of one another.

Our client has been with us for sometime and we have actually already negotiated an installment agreement on the 941 and 940 balance dues. However, the Civil Penalty assessment against the business put this agreement at risk. We immediately filed for abatement of the Civil Penalty and sent it to the appropriate office (we also filed for a collection due process appeal on the lien). It took about 3 months to hear back but when we finally did the IRS agreed to abate all of the penalty!! It will take approximately 30 - 60 days for a release of tax lien, but their debt size has been cut by 25%! The reasons for filing for abatement is the fact they had arson take place (2 fires at the business location) that caused them to lose a lot of paperwork to fire damage. Our claim was in direct relation to the damage created and the fact the business had to recreate these same documents in order to file them with the Social Security Administration. P.S. The IRS administers the penalty for late filing and the Social Security Administration keeps the forms on file.

We still have another abatement request in for this particular (in relation to the 940 and 941 tax debts) taxpayer and hope to see similar results!