By Phyllis J. Neuberger, The Pelican
April 15 is not the end of tax season for everyone. For those who did not pay their taxes and are getting calls and letters from the IRS, there are experts at Fresh Start Tax to help clients get squared away with the IRS.
Michael D. Sullivan, founder of the Fresh Start Tax accounting firm, was an IRS revenue officer himself for 10 years. He says, “Since the IRS never closes, neither do we here at Fresh Start.”
The accounting firm principals are Steve Wilkinson, Stacey Spencer, Steve Jacob and Sullivan. Although their suite of offices is at 6550 N. Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale on the second floor, Sullivan says “Most of our clients come to us through our web site and local referrals. They’re from all over the country. We use Skype for face to face, see clients here in the office and of course use the phone and internet.
Sullivan is proud to show a book of letters of gratitude for work done, but for privacy reasons, he says he cannot quote these people. “We pride ourselves on confidentiality and compassion. We have even prayed with a few clients who have requested us to do so. I’m very proud of our A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau and the fact that we have never had a complaint filed against us.”
Wilkinson, corporate accountant, joined the interview saying, “We deal with large corporations, small businesses, estates, and individual tax payers all over the U.S. and even internationally. The cause of all problems is unpaid back taxes.”
Asked why clients would choose their firm, Wilkinson replies, “Our clients have researched different tax resolution companies and choose us because we are one of the leading experts in this field. Many CPAs and accountants choose us to handle their tax resolutions because we have the expertise and they don’t.”
Now Jacob, who is a CPA himself, took over this interview saying, “Our staff includes ex IRS agents, enrolled agents who are certified to deal with the IRS, CPAs, accountants and tax attorneys.”He then gave an example of a typical case. “A client gets a call or a letter from the IRS claiming money is owed. We ask the client what he thinks has happened. Then we contact the IRS to hear their side of the case. Our goal is to get the facts and then resolve the problem with the IRS. Because we are experts at this, we can get a far better result than the taxpayer who tries to represent himself. Never forget that the IRS is one of the best collection agencies in the world.”
Jacob continues to explain. “The IRS wants to collect the money. We know the law and IRS procedures and use that knowledge to help the client resolve the problem in a more beneficial way, financially.”
He moved on to discuss payroll taxes. “In this current economic climate many small businesses are struggling and often can not make their payments to the government. We deal with the IRS directly in our representation. We will set up a plan to save the business from shutting down. We help the client pull together all of the necessary documentation and then either set up a plan or find some acceptable alternatives. We always confirm the amount the client is being assessed because the IRS does make errors. In many cases this has meant thousands of dollars saved for the client.”
“Back taxes owed can be complicated,” he says. “It is often the case that the client has not filed for years and has lost records. We can get the needed information to clean up the mess and make the client current with them. The IRS can and does levy wages and accounts. If the IRS is threatening this action, we suggest the person call us. We can stop the action and resolve the problem.”
The key to all of these problems, according to the members of the firm, is the client’s willingness to solve the problem. Once the problem is resolved, this knowledgeable team helps the client set up to avoid future problems. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit www.freshstarttax. com or call 954-492-0088 for an appointment.
Fresh Start Tax, LLC
Steven F. Jacob, CPA
3696 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308