Skip to content

Case Study – IRS Wage Garnishment

When a person finds themselves owing the IRS or a state taxing authority, it can be the most terrifying experience of their life.  Owing the government can be quite stressful.   The government has the ability to seize your bank accounts, garnish your wages, or even visit your home or workplace unexpectedly.   There is nothing scarier than an unexpected visit from the IRS. You feel alone and helpless and don’t know where to turn.

While it is always best to address tax problems before they get out of hand, it is important to remember that no matter what stage of collection you are in, the key issue is to go get competent help.  Recently, we have had clients who were in, what appeared to be, a hopeless position.   They had just received a wage garnishment and were in a position to be left with a very minimal amount of money to live on.    Within two days of the client calling my office, we had established contact with the IRS, secured a release of the wage garnishment, and entered into an agreement with the IRS regarding an installment agreement.   The client was able to resume life and continues to make payments pursuant to the installment agreement.

Ideally, the client wouldn’t have waited so long to contact my firm but we had to deal with the hand that the client dealt us.  We acted in a way that every client should expect to be treated.  We didn’t judge them.   We didn’t run from them.  We got all of the necessary information and took action immediately on their behalf.

I think that this example best exemplifies the philosophy of my law firm; we take the clients that we believe we can help and we provide them with the service they deserve. In this case, we acted immediately.  The clients provided us with the information that we needed to get the results they needed.

Remember that it is never too late to get help with your tax problem and that you should always find the right person who can get you the results you need.

Debt Settlement – Is it an option for me?

When people are experiencing financial difficulties, they will turn to various sources for help.   Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of information available with no  real way to determine which information is true and which is not.  This is the main reason that seeing an experienced legal professional with an understanding of debt settlement, as well as bankruptcy is your best option.

Debt settlement is an option that is probably the most misunderstood option by most both bankruptcy professionals and by the general public.   Sadly, there are, as with any industry, debt settlement professionals who, frankly, should not be in the business.  They do more harm than good and get all the press for their actions.   This bad players should not be the way that debt settlement is perceived.   There are many people who have obtained tremendous results from debt settlement options and have been spared from filing for bankruptcy.

Debt settlement is not an option for everyone. It takes a person who is willing to reorganize their budget so that they can get out of debt in as short a time period as possible.   Frequently, I have seen clients who, at first blush, seem to have a negative budget, meaning that they spend more than they make and would seem to poor candidates for debt settlement.   This is far from the truth.  It is that eye opening experience of seeing their budget on paper that helps them get their finances under control.   They make all of their deposits and get out of debt.  They understand that they didn’t get into debt overnight and won’t get out of it overnight.  It takes time, patience, and dedication.  They also don’t worry about how much is saved on each debt but focus on the overall picture.

It is important to remember that your current balance on your credit card statement may not be the most accurate picture of what you truly owe.   Unless you have the  ability to pay the balance off in full, the debt will cost you more, often significantly more, than what the current balance is.   On your credit card statement, there should be a calculation of how long it will take you to pay off the debt at the currently monthly minimum payment.   You will see that often this time period is listed in years, sometimes as high as 22 years and even to meet that prediction, you would need to stop using the credit card altogether and make every payment on time, without fail, for the expected time period.   When you calculate the true cost of paying off your debt, by paying just the minimum monthly payment, you can see that it the current balance is nowhere near the true amount of debt you have.  So being able to pay off the debt, even at a balance that is close to your current balance, provides a true benefit and savings.

The main reasons for choosing debt settlement over other options are wishing to avoid bankruptcy, feeling the moral obligation to resolve the debt through a repayment program, and lacking the financial resources to pay your debt in full or as they come due.  Remember that debt settlement is not for everyone.  It is a hardship program.   There are also risks involved including the potential for getting sued by your creditors and forced collection activity including wage garnishment and bank levy.  However, if you are dedicated to resolving your debt, have experienced a true financial hardship, and wish to avoid bankruptcy, debt settlement may be the right option for you.

Getting out of debt, no matter what avenue you choose,  is not quick nor easy and without its costs but knowing that there are options out there is priceless.

How Do You Choose A Lawyer?

Last week during consultations with two different potential clients, the issue of how to choose an attorney was raised.  In each case, the clients had a different reason for asking the question but both shared the same concern:   How do I choose the attorney that is best for me?

In the first case, the potential client simply asked the question as to why he should retain me as his attorney.  He was struggling with his finances and had a slightly complicated case.  He wanted to save his house yet was struggling with the financial impact of an impending divorce. He had precious resources and wanted to make sure that he was using them effectively.  I re-explained the intricacies of his case and the potential for error that could be made with respect to his case.   After providing additional perspective on the pitfalls of using a less experienced bankruptcy counsel or by representing himself in the bankruptcy proceedings, the client understood that he needed an experienced attorney.

In the second case, the potential client was telling me two stories about attorneys that she consulted.  The first attorney, after giving her the consultation, asked her out on a date.   The second attorney, who she initially retained, would not return any of her phone calls.  As a result of numerous calls going unanswered, she was forced to find a new attorney to handle her bankruptcy.  When she met with me, she told me that while she was nervous about finding another attorney, after her prior bad experiences, she couldn’t have been happier with her choice to see and retain my firm.   She was very impressed how, even before she retained the firm, everyone in my firm was knowledgeable and available to speak with her when she called.   She was especially excited that she was able to meet with me for her consultation.  She wished she had called the firm initially and knew that we were the right firm for her bankruptcy representation.   She left the office thanking me for all that we did and we going to do for her knowing that she was in good hands.

No matter what your reasons are, you should make sure that every time you retain an attorney, you should make sure, that there is no doubt that you will get the results you need, have the experience that you require, and provide the client servicing that you demand.  To accept anything less could have serious repercussions in the outcome of your case.