February 9, 2023
Kent M. Brown
Strong & Hanni
102 South 200 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Tel: (801) 532-7080
TAX ALERT – SALT LAKE CITY – Driving around town and listening to sports talk radio I have heard a lot of commercials about helping taxpayers with their back taxes owed to the IRS. Invariably when I hear these commercials, I also hear the words “Fresh Start” program. I have also seen this “Fresh Start” program language on a number of accounting and tax attorney websites. So, what is this “Fresh Start” program.
I am a tax attorney who spends much of my time representing taxpayers before the IRS and the Utah State Tax Commission in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have heard these radio ads, with some deep male voice who asks you if you are sick and tired of being harassed by the IRS over past tax debts? So, what do you need to do? You need to hire the national tax resolution firms because they know the ins and outs of the “IRS FRESH START” programs. What they don’t tell you is that the IRS Fresh Start program wasn’t actually a program.
In addition, if the IRS had a Fresh Start program, the program actually ended in 2012.
These ads and representations annoy me to no end, because these national companies are effectively conning people in tax trouble and desperate for tax help to hire the for a large amount of money with promises they have no idea if they can deliver on.
Let me tell you a little about this “Fresh Start” program. The IRS Fresh Start program that you hear about was a collection of changes made in 2012 on how the IRS collects back taxes. The changes in 2012 made by the IRS were great, and it showed that the IRS can sometimes act with the taxpayer’s best interests in mind. The 2012 rule changes made it so taxpayers could enter into payments agreements and file Offers-in-Compromise with the IRS and not have to jump through as many hoops and to not have to provide as much information to the IRS. Some of these changes included:
- Adjusting the totals for a streamlined installment agreement
- Limiting the look-back period for dissipated assets in an Offer-in-Compromise – I may have to do a blog on “dissipated assets” on a later date
- Reduce the future income calculations for Offers-in-Compromise
These changes were made and are now permanent features of the IRS Manual. It is not a program, and it has been around for more than a decade. With the IRS trying to hire 80,000 new employees, what you will find is that these new hires will not know what you are talking about if you mention the “Fresh Start” program.
Tax problems are legal problems, and we solve both. If you want to discuss IRS tax debt issues, or anything else IRS related, then feel free to contact me at the email address listed above. Or give us a call.