Despite how it might seem when you receive your audit notice or back-tax bill, the IRS is not necessarily interested in pursuing you mercilessly to the ends of the earth and extracting all possible penalties and interest payments. A lot will depend on your demonstrated past compliance with the U.S. Tax Code. If you have a clean history, that can go a long way when dealing with an IRS revenue officer.
Habitual Offenders Are Treated Much More Seriously by the IRS
As a matter of necessity, the IRS focuses the bulk of its artillery on serial or habitual offenders: businesses which fail to forward their payroll taxes for years on end, individuals who don’t file their yearly returns, or independent contractors who neglect to report massive amounts of taxable income. This isn't to say that the IRS will forgive, or overlook, your own much smaller transgression (for example, an inappropriate deduction or a skipped estimated-tax payment), but you won't open your front door to find black helicopters circling in the sky.
In fact, if you have had an exemplary record with the IRS until now, that can stand you in good stead during a face-to-face meeting with an IRS revenue officer (during which, needless to say, you should be accompanied by an Oklahoma tax attorney). Barring any evidence to the contrary—such as forged documents, incriminating wiretaps, etc.—the agent may choose to believe your story about how you simply “dropped the ball” tax-wise and you are willing to face the consequences.
Of course, this strategy isn't guaranteed—by the luck of the draw, you may wind up with a revenue agent who is unimpressed by your past compliance, and has a much tougher “what have you done for me lately?” attitude. Even still, it's unlikely that this revenue officer will choose to levy the maximum penalty, especially if you cooperate with his investigation and own up to your own mistakes.
One important thing to keep in mind is that it's one thing to forgive, and quite another to forget. You don't get any good citizenship awards or “get out of jail free” cards for having a squeaky-clean prior record. And, it's not as if the IRS will forgive your tax bill simply because you've been an exemplary taxpayer in the past. You may, however, be able to avoid penalties and interest, and possibly even negotiate an overall reduction of your tax bill.
If You Have a Clean Record, Your Lawyer Can Press Your Case Effectively
At the law firm of Travis W. Watkins, PC, we know that a spotless prior record can go a long way with the IRS. Our Oklahoma tax experts will point out your past behavior to the IRS revenue officer, and will seek a reduction or elimination of penalties or interest. Call us today at 800-721-7054 for a free consultation!