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updated: 11/20/2017 12:18 PM

Having a tax expert can be invaluable

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  • Michael Leonard is managing partner at Leonard & Associates CPAs and Tax Line Resolution in Oak Park.

    Michael Leonard is managing partner at Leonard & Associates CPAs and Tax Line Resolution in Oak Park.

Submitted by Michael Leonard

Everyone, from individuals to large corporations files taxes. Since it is something everyone has to do, it's in your best interest to have an ally on your side who can work seamlessly with the Internal Revenue Service.

Leonard & Associates Certified Public Accountants began in 1971, when my father, Bernard Leonard founded the company. In late 2014, Tax Line Resolution was added to our offerings, giving our clients not only a full-service accounting firm through Leonard & Associates, but also access to Tax Line Resolution, which is dedicated to handling IRS disputes.

One of the leading concerns facing anyone who has received a notice from the IRS is fear. Clients, whether they are sole proprietors or large businesses, are afraid of the IRS. Fear can often exacerbate the situation because the mail received from the IRS remains unopened and untouched. So instead of opening the envelope and evaluating the situation, the situation only escalates. It does not have to be that way and there are multiple options.

Having a tax expert on your side can be an invaluable asset for a business or individual in a situation with the IRS.

Tax Line Resolution specializes in our small and mid-sized client's concerns by communicating directly with the IRS. As tax preparers and CPAs, we have already built long-standing relationships with the IRS and those relationships translate to our overcoming what might have been perceived as insurmountable hurdles at first glance.

For example, one Tax Line Resolution client owed the IRS a large sum of money and wanted to create a payment plan. Tax Line Resolution reached out by phone and within 30 minutes reduced his debt by $17,000 and created a payment plan that was more manageable for the business. On the flip side, with respect to individuals not running a business, we've addressed simple problems with elderly people who have their Social Security garnished, and we can resolve those issues with one phone call to the IRS.

Tax Line Resolution can be an asset for a company whether that business is a sole proprietorship or a larger corporation with multiple employees. For entrepreneurs, the issue that arises most often is when individuals are sole proprietors, but have not yet incorporated. Those clients are dealing with 1099 forms, which, without someone to help set aside money for tax planning, can result in a deficit when the tax bill arrives. It's a vicious cycle. But that cycle can be broken.

Tax Line Resolution can put those clients on a payment plan to help address any back taxes. In addition, to preventively ensure that this problem does not happen in the future, we assist those clients to incorporate. By doing this, they will pay themselves a salary through a W2.

As a specialist dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, I also want to remind people that nothing from the IRS should be a surprise. The IRS does not just levy your bank account. You have been warned by them before that happens. Even if what a client is dealing with is relatively minor, the issue requires immediate attention.

IRS problems have to be addressed because issues with the IRS will affect all areas of a client's life. If someone is trying to get a business loan or a mortgage they cannot do it if there is a lien against them.

Our ideal client at Leonard & Associates CPAs is one that is coming back for all of his or her financial planning. This is especially true if we met the client when they sought out Tax Line Resolution to address an IRS issue. Businesses that want to grow, begin or who've existed without a strategic plan are ideal clients. Business owners should be meeting with his or her accountants once a quarter.

• Michael Leonard is managing partner at Leonard & Associates CPAs and Tax Line Resolution in Oak Park.