One of our favorite clients is a small family-run business in the construction industry. This highly successful business went into a tragic slump when the husband came down with cancer and passed away just a few short months later. During those months, the business understandably went into chaos and Federal Payroll Tax Deposits were missed.
It didn’t take long for the IRS to come knocking and wanting their payroll money. The now widowed-wife came to us in tears, desperate for our help. We were able to successfully arrange an installment agreement, but when we talked to the IRS agent about abating the late penalties, which totaled nearly $17,000, she said "no way." She assured us that a death in the family is no excuse to not pay taxes on a timely basis (which is true) and told us to not even bother to try to get the penalties abated. That was almost like a challenge to a duel for us and we set out to get full abatement.
We drafted a letter explaining the faithfulness of this successful business in always paying its taxes on time in the past, the incomprehensible loss the death of the founder was to the business, and how the remaining family members had since regrouped and set out to catch up on their taxes and put the business back into high gear.
A short time letter we received a letter from the IRS granting full abatement. That day a very grateful client did a dance in our lobby!
A new client came in for a free initial consultation, an owner of an S Corporation, baffled that he owed so much in taxes each year. He left his prior three years of tax returns with us for review. Our extensive review of the prior years’ tax work found that his prior tax preparer, who was not a CPA, but charged a lot less, had made some huge errors on the tax returns. Money drawn from the corporation had been taxed twice! He had overpaid his taxes by nearly $6,000 each of the prior three years.
We were able to amend his tax returns and get his money back in his bank account! He learned quickly that our fee, although more than his prior preparer’s, is an incredible value.
A married couple who owned and worked together in a business came in for a consultation. They were distraught, and it was obvious that they had been arguing. As we talked, I found that their business records were a mess. The books were not kept up and they never had any idea if they were profitable or not. They could not make sound basic business decisions. They couldn’t get their records to their tax preparer until late and then were surprised when they owed a ton of taxes just before the deadline. The stress all of this caused them resulted in the couple contemplating divorce. I told them “your business situation needs to be fixed or one of two things will happen, either your business will fail, or your marriage will fail”. Then I added “maybe both.” They subsequently engaged us to provide bookkeeping and full tax services, including annual tax planning. They now know where they stand and are making great financial decisions. Their taxes are reduced due to adequate planning. They have more time to do what they do best, which is making and selling their product. Best of all, they are very happy and stress is minimal.