I've been in an ongoing dispute with the IRS, which claims I cheated on my taxes three years ago. I've had my wages garnished and a lien put on my house, but I haven't heard from my revenue officer for months. Am I off the hook?

Well, that depends on how you define “off the hook.” If you're content to live with a severely reduced paycheck for the rest of your life, and the inability to sell or take out equity against your home, then, yes, you're safe for the time being. Whether or not this is the end of the story, though, will depend on the particular circumstances of your case—most importantly, how large a tax debt you owe to the IRS.

If the government feels it can recoup your tax debt by garnishing your salary—and recover the amount in a reasonable amount of time (say one or two years)—then you may not incur any further penalties, and your revenue officer will choose to leave you alone. But if your debt is such that garnishing your wages barely covers the interest and penalties, the IRS may be preparing a much more severe penalty. While you think you're in the “free and clear,” your revenue officer may be obtaining the necessary documentation to initiate criminal proceedings, which means you may be facing a few years in prison!

In most cases, garnishing your wages and putting a lien on your house aren't ends in themselves; these are methods the IRS uses to force you to address your tax debt and come to some kind of resolution with your revenue officer. If you think you have already experienced the worst the IRS has to offer, and you're confident that you can ride out the next few years under severely reduced financial circumstances, you may have an unpleasant surprise in store. Questions? Contact the Oklahoma tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC (800-721-7054) to find out what we can do for you today!