Friendly Advice & Traps to Avoid

Always file your tax return on time.

The IRS has time limits to audit, collect, and deny discharge in bankruptcy.

The clock only starts ticking when you file your tax return.

File your tax return on time, even if you can’t pay the taxes. Payment of your taxes is a completely separate matter from your legal duty to file your tax return.

If you file an extension, file it by April 15th, and don’t forget about it. File the tax return by October 15th. If you file by the extended due date, then you have filed on time.

Always pick up certified mail, from the IRS (or anyone else).

It can be scary to find out what the letter says. However, the harsh consequences of ignoring the letter are much more frightening.

If a letter was sent to your correct address, the defense of “I never got the letter” doesn’t work.

You always have periods of time to respond after you are notified. You only lose your rights, and therefore your power, by ignoring letters and notices. You might be surprised at how willing people are to work with you, as long as you don’t ignore them. You actually make the other person's job easier by responding, and working within the established rules and framework.

Think twice before you give someone permission to take money from your bank account.

You should be the one to initiate the payment. You select the time and the amount of the payment. Don’t give a creditor access to your account. It can be difficult to stop a creditor from taking your money from your account.

Buy local.

Hire a local professional. There is no reason to hire a firm that does not have an office in your area. You need to meet the professional, face to face. There is no shortage of reputable and highly skilled lawyers and tax professionals in Houston, Texas.

Don’t withdraw money from your IRA or 401(k) account or ...

... borrow against your 401(k), or take a home equity loan, or get a reverse mortgage, to pay your debts, until you speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you are having trouble with money, learn your options so you can make an intelligent, well informed financial decision that may turn out to be the difference between keeping or losing your life savings.

Always respond to a lawsuit.

It is easy, and it doesn’t mean you have to go to trial. Answering a lawsuit prevents a default judgment against you and keeps your rights intact so you may get the best possible outcome.

We have all made some of these mistakes. If you have, I can help you minimize the damage, and work toward getting good results. If you are having money trouble, contact me to start the process of restoring financial stability and your peace of mind.