Experienced IRS Tax Attorney
(Former IRS Officer of 17 Years)
Winspear Law, PLLC is a law firm dedicated to handling cases concerning IRS and New York State tax controversies.
At Winspear Law, we can offer you the same quality and expertise you would expect from a large firm at a small firm price.
Our practice areas include: IRS Tax Relief, Audit Strategies and Defenses, Offer in Compromises, Tax Bankruptcies, Enforced Tax Collection (Notices of Levy & Notices of Lien), IRS & NY State Tax Appeals, Tax Court, Innocent & Injured Spouse Relief, Responsible Person Assessment Defense, Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, Foreign Bank Account Reporting and more.
About William Winspear, Esq.
William Winspear was employed by the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue officer from 1991 to 2007. During that period, he worked in the IRS Collection and Small Business & Self-Employed Divisions. For the first eight years of his IRS career, his primary duties were working field collection cases during the second eight years of his career, his primary duties were working on tax bankruptcy cases. In 2007, he left the IRS and became an Enrolled Agent, which is a tax professional, licensed to practice before the IRS. Additionally, he attended law school at the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduated Magna Cum Laude and was admitted to the New York State Bar. While in law school, he worked as a judicial extern for the Honorable Carl L. Bucki, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge in the Western District of New York in Buffalo and as a legal intern for the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C. He was also awarded the Louis A. DelCotto Award for outstanding academic performance in the area of taxation. From 2007 to March of 2012, he worked for a highly respected tax law firm in Buffalo, NY. In June of 2012, he founded his own law practice, Winspear Law, PLLC.
IRS Tax Relief
In most cases, the IRS expects all taxpayers to pay their "fair share" of taxes owed. This means that the IRS wants taxpayers to fully pay all the taxes required by law on time. However, there are tens of millions of taxpayers that owe the IRS billions of dollars in past due taxes, penalties and interest. Because of the staggering amount of penalties and interest the IRS adds on to delinquent tax bills, many taxpayers that fall behind for whatever reason will find themselves quickly in a deep financial hole and will be unable to pay their way out. However, there are two alternatives taxpayers can utilize to get out from under this debt.
Tax Audit Strategy & Defense
Under no circumstances should taxpayers represent themselves at an audit. Generally, the IRS uses a complex computer program to select returns that are "ripe" for audit. Certain returns on their face receive much more scrutiny than others. Self-employed individuals and supplemental income earners are a favorite target (schedule C and schedule E filers). The record keeping requirements and other rules, such as the at risk rules, and passive activity rules, make filing these types of schedules accurately very difficult. Certain audit strategies, such as expense reconstruction and non-taxable income source analysis, can make the difference between winning or losing and audit. Therefore, if you are faced with an audit, contact us today for a consultation to insure that your rights are protected.
Offer in Compromise
The OIC process is a great way to settle your tax debt. However, this process is difficult and can be very costly if not done correctly. Under somewhat strict circumstances, the IRS will compromise your tax debt for a lesser sum. Taxpayers should be very wary when hiring a representative to handle an offer for them. There are a legion of so-called "tax resolution firms" on the internet that promise to settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar. The IRS generally will only accept an offer from a taxpayer if the offer amount exceeds 80% of the net value of the taxpayer's assets, plus the taxpayer's surplus monthly income times a multiplier (usually 12). If the results of this calculation exceed the taxpayer's tax liability, the IRS will reject the taxpayer's offer and insist on full payment of the debt owed. Finally, the IRS requires a filing fee and an upfront payment (usually 20% of the amount offered) before it will consider your offer. These payments are non-refundable. Therefore, be very careful when selecting someone to handle this process for you. If your offer is rejected you may be out your filing fee, your down payment and the fee you paid to have your tax debt settled for "pennies on the dollar." At the Winspear Law we will analyze your case and tell you up front whether an offer can work for you or not, before any money is sent to the IRS. So contact us today for a consultation.
Filing a bankruptcy case can be an outstanding solution to tax debt problems. Most tax professionals and even many bankruptcy attorneys have a surprising lack of knowledge or experience in this area. We have had many taxpayers tell us that their former tax representative told them that income taxes were never dischargeable in bankruptcy. This is completely wrong. Although the bankruptcy laws are complex, and the proper timing of a case is crucial to a successful case, income taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy. Generally, income taxes must become "stale" before they can qualify as a dischargeable debt. Most mistakes are made in this area because bankruptcy cases are filed too early. Make sure you fully understand the rules relative to how and when income taxes become stale so that your case is filed at the appropriate time. At the Winspear Law we will thoroughly explain the bankruptcy tax rules to you and how they relate to your case, and whether a bankruptcy is the right legal strategy for you.
Notices of Lien
Once the IRS makes a tax assessment against a taxpayer, and the tax goes unpaid after first notice, a tax lien arises on all the taxpayer's property. To secure themselves against other potential creditors in a taxpayer's property, the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL), usually at the County Clerk's office in the county where the taxpayer resides. Once filed, the NFTL will block the sale of real property, prevent loans, and damage credit ratings. Also, many times the filing of the notice is a precursor to more aggressive and intrusive collection action, such as levy action. When the underlying lien is satisfied or becomes unenforceable due to lapse of time, the IRS will issue a release. There are certain legal remedies available which will allow the sale of property or the subordination of the IRS' lien to a new lender. If you have had an NFTL filed against you, contact us for a consultation.
Notices of Levy
If the IRS has issued notices of levy against you, then you have not had good representation. Generally, the IRS issues levies to seize property of a taxpayer held by a third party. For example, bank accounts and salaries. There is a whole host of appeal rights that help protect taxpayers from levy action, but many times these rights go unused. At the Winspear Law, we are fully aware of all of the administrative, statutory and judicial appeal rights available to taxpayers. Make sure that your rights are protected. Contact us for a consultation.
IRS & NY State Tax Appeals
The IRS has a stand-alone administrative Appeals Office, while New York State tax appeals are handled by the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services or through the independent Division of Tax Appeals. Generally, there are a host of appeal rights available to taxpayers to dispute audit results or collection actions. However, most of those rights expire rather quickly if not utilized. It is imperative taxpayers avail themselves of all of their rights, so make sure to contact us for a consultation as soon as possible.
Under certain circumstances, the United States Tax Court has jurisdiction to review IRS audit results and collection actions, while the Tax Appeals Tribunal reviews cases related to New York State. However, like other "tax rights" the courts, ability to review your case will expire with time. Therefore, make sure you consult with us so that your Tax Court rights are protected.
Innocent Spouse Defense
Generally, when a married couple file a joint income tax return, both spouses will be jointly and separately liable for all the tax due. This is true even if the tax debt is the result of an audit, or if only one spouse earned taxable income. However, under certain circumstances, one spouse may qualify as an innocent spouse. What that means is that, under certain circumstances, one spouse may be relieved, either partially or completely of the joint liability. If you filed a joint return and are now on the hook for taxes that you feel should not be your responsibility, call us for a consultation.
Responsible Person Assessment
Under various tax laws found in both the federal and state tax codes, an individual may be held personally liable for corporate business taxes that went unpaid. Generally, under New York State law, the person deemed "responsible" for collection of the sales tax will face potential liability. Under federal law, the "responsible" person must have also "willfully" failed to pay over the tax. In either case, taxpayers must understand their rights and options and not agree to these types of assessments until they have consulted a tax attorney. Call us today for a consultation if you are at risk for this type of tax liability.
FBAR – Foreign Bank Account Reporting Requirement
In recent years, the IRS, U.S Attorney's Office and the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Justice have been expending considerable effort and resources to locate, fine, tax, and prosecute U.S. businesses and individuals that have been hiding money in unreported foreign financial accounts. New tax laws, treaties with foreign governments, and agreements with foreign banks have enabled the IRS to expand its reach globally. If you have a foreign bank account and have failed to properly disclose that to the IRS then make sure you talk to a qualified tax attorney at the Winspear Law before it's too late.
Currently Not Collectible Tax Program
Recently, we have seen TV commercials and heard radio ads that discuss the "IRS Hardship Program" or IRS “Currently Not Collectible Tax Program” or “CNC Tax Program” or “Reduced Settlement” which is “available for a limited time only.” In reality, there is no such “program” and there never has been. Thus, there is no “limited time” to apply. The IRS places certain delinquent tax cases in a “currently-not-collectable” (“CNC”) status, after its agents have determined that there is no ability to collect the taxes from the delinquent taxpayer. The typical scenario is as follows. A taxpayer falls behind in filing tax returns, paying taxes, or both. The IRS will eventually attempt to collect the taxes and/or missing tax returns through its notice process, by phone calls, or via home or office visits.