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Trish Harris EA, M.B.A.- IRS Tax Relief Specialist

Harris Tax and Financial Solutions
8939 S Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 102, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Local Phone: (310) 242-6420
Fax: (310) 695-2711

Regular Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Evening and Weekend hours are available by appointment only

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The Taxmaven

Top 5 Tax Tips That Will Prepare You to File Your Taxes

by Trish Harris EA, M.B.A on 12/18/13

With the tax filing season just around the corner, are you prepared to file your 2013 Income Taxes on time?  Whether you are an individual wage earner (1040), sole proprietor (Schedule C), or business entity (1120, 1065, etc.) there are several things you should be doing RIGHT NOW to ensure your tax filing goes off without  a hitch!  I’ve consolidated my ‘must do’ tax tips into this simple list that I commonly refer to as my Simple Five:ther you are

  • Determine whether you have a filing requirement.   Your gross income, age, and filing status determine whether you are REQUIRED to file a tax return.  Each year, the IRS establishes gross income thresholds to determine which taxpayers must file a tax return.  For Tax Year 2013, you are REQURIED to file a tax return if your gross income meets the following thresholds for your age and filing status:

UNDER Age 65

Gross Income @ least:

OVER Age 65

Gross Income @ least:


$10,000 or more


$11,500 or more

Married Filing Jointly (both UNDER age 65)

$20,000 or more

Married Filing Jointly (both OVER age 65)

$22,400 or more

Married Filing Jointly (one spouse UNDER 65)

$21,500 or more

Married Filing Jointly (one spouse OVER 65)

$21,500 or more

Head of Household

$12,850 or more

Head of Household

$14,350 or more

Qualifying Widower with dependent

$16,100 or more

Qualifying Widower with dependent

$17,300 or more

Married Filing Separately


Married Filing Separately


  • Evaluate your tax withholdings and estimated tax payments.  Federal Income taxes are to be ‘paid as you go’ throughout the year.  Failure to submit sufficient tax payments either via payroll deductions or quarterly tax payments will expose you to additional penalties and interest.  These additional fees can be completely avoided by taking a few minutes to check whether your tax withholdings/payment rate is sufficient to pay your expected tax liability, using the IRS’ Withholding Calculator.  The tool is very easy to use, and will recommend what adjustments are needed on your W4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate) or 1040ES (Estimated Tax Payment Voucher) to ensure your tax payments are sufficient to pay your anticipated tax liability.   With the tax filing season just around the corner, are you prepared to file your taxes on time?  Whether you are an individual wage earner (1040), sole proprietor (Schedule C), or a business owner (1120) there are several key things you should be doing RIGHT NOW to ensure your tax filing goes off without a hitch!  To make the process even easier, I've consolidated my 'must do' tips into this simple list that I commonly refer to as the "Simple Seven":With the tax filing season just around the corner, are you prepared to file your taxes on time?  Whether you are an individual wage earner (1040), sole proprietor (Schedule C), or a business owner (1120) there are several key things you should be doing RIGHT NOW to ensure your tax filing goes off without a hitch!  To make the process even easier, I've consolidated my 'must do' tips into this simple list that I commonly refer to as the "Simple Seven":
  • Consider whether to itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction?  Whether to itemize deductions or take the standard deduction for your filing status is a poorly understood decision point for most taxpayers.  Both allow you to deduct common out-of-pocket expenses from your gross income to reduce the amount of your income that is subject to income taxes.  Where they differ however, is that one is a generic amount estimated by the IRS which requires no documented support, and the other is a calculated amount derived by subtotaling written payment records, receipts, state tax withholdings, and information returns (i.e. 1098, etc.).  If you pay medical insurance premiums, out-of-pocket medical expenses, make charitable contributions (including tithing and non-cash donations), have state payroll tax deductions, or incur unreimbursed employee expenses related to your job, you should strongly consider whether itemizing these expenses would give you a larger tax deduction.
  • Update your mailing address and contact information.  Failure to receive tax documents on time, if at all, is one of the most common reasons cited for failure to timely file tax returns by taxpayers who late.  If your mailing address has changed, you have a new or different tax identification number (i.e. social security number, employer identification number, etc.), or have changed your legal name (individual or business) you are legally responsible for notifying anyone required to issue you tax documents or account statements reportable on your tax return of the changes in your information.  Doing so now, before the tax season starts, should ensure you receive important documents in time to file your taxes before the filing deadline. 
  • Know When to Consult a Licensed Tax Professional.  Life is ever changing and presents us with experiences and opportunities that oftentimes result in unanticipated financial implications.  Some of life’s most monumental events, like getting married, purchasing a first home, having a new baby, starting a business, or even retiring have a direct impact on your tax filings.  It is important that you recognize these events as the opportunities they are to seek professional tax advice to not only protect your interests, but to prepare you to maximize and/or mitigate the tax consequences you should anticipate as a result.  There really is no substitution for the guidance a licensed tax professional, such as a federally licensed Enrolled Agent, a CPA, or Tax Attorney can provide to help you properly navigate your taxes following these life events.   Evaluate your tax withholdings and estimated tax payments.

Helpful Tips to Resolve Your Unpaid Taxes

by Trish Harris EA, M.B.A on 08/06/13

In the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, "..but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes". In fact, income tax debts survive beyond the death of the taxpayer- not extinguished upon the taxpayer’s death- and may in fact be assessed on the decedent’s estate. While even the finality of death won't allow you to escape your taxes, here are a few suggestions that may help you avoid running afoul of the IRS and state tax authorities, and prevent your tax debts escalating out of control. Tax Return Filing Compliance- Timely filing all federal and state tax returns, and paying any tax due by the due date, is the best way to avoid interest assessments and penalties. Filing compliance is critical for anyone facing IRS collection and levy action. In fact, taxpayers with unfiled tax returns are ineligible to participate in any of the IRS Fresh Start programs (i.e. installment agreements, offer in compromise, tax lien releases, etc.). Filing previously unfiled tax returns is the mandatory first step delinquent taxpayers must take to gain control of escalating tax problems. What most taxpayers don't realize, is that when they fail to file a tax return, the IRS will prepare a return for them- known as a Substitute for Return (SFR), based solely on the information returns filed with the IRS third party payers (i.e. W2, 1099, etc.). When preparing the SFR, the IRS will not evaluate whether the taxpayer is eligible for any credits, deductions, or other exemptions that may offset the reported income, hence these IRS prepared tax returns often result in higher tax liabilities for non-compliant taxpayers. If you want to ensure you get the benefit every credit, deduction, and exemption for which you qualify, it is imperative that you regularly file your tax returns by the due date. Streamlined Installment Agreement- Fresh Start Installment agreements are payment plans between the IRS and eligible taxpayers that allow for the payment of unpaid taxes through a series of payment installments over a term of 72 months. It is a great option for taxpayers unable to pay their taxes in full by the due date of their tax return as well as those with delinquent unpaid taxes from prior returns. To be eligible for a Fresh Start Installment Agreement, the taxpayer must meet certain criteria, which limit the maximum amount of tax due, requires filing compliance for the most recent tax years, and have sufficient time remaining in the period. In situations where the IRS has already taken steps to assert their claims to taxpayer property and filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, or where the IRS has served a taxpayer with a Notice of Intent to Levy, an Installment Agreement is often times an integral part of the strategy to stay forcible collection procedures by the IRS, and get the taxpayer relief from their federal tax problems escalating. IRS Offer In Compromise- Taxpayers who are unable to pay their tax liabilities in full or who would suffer an economic hardship if required to do so, may settle their tax debt with the IRS via an Offer in Compromise. There are three distinct claims under which an Offer in Compromise may be pursued by a qualified taxpayer: (1) Doubt as to Liability, (2.) Doubt as to Collectability, or (3.) Effective Tax Administration. Settling a tax debt for less than the full amount owed to the IRS is no easy fete, but it is possible when a taxpayer can demonstrate that they are unable to pay their tax debt in full. To be accepted, the offered settlement amount must represent the maximum recovery of the unpaid tax debt. The IRS applies very specific rules and guidelines in the analysis of a taxpayer’s income and assets to determine the maximum amount they can collect to satisfy the unpaid tax. Their derived amount will be the basis for the acceptance or rejection of the submitted settlement offer. It is extremely difficult for taxpayers not represented by an experienced tax professional to prepare an offer in compromise that has a high probability of being approved. When it comes to an offer in compromise there is no substitution for having a knowledgeable, licensed tax professional prepare and negotiate the settlement on your behalf.

The Difference between an IRS Levy and an IRS Lien

by Trish Harris EA, M.B.A on 06/20/13

You often hear people speak in terms of an IRS Levy or an IRS Lien, often times interchangably, but what do these terms really mean? Well, for starters, the IRS Levy and the IRS Lien are two different things, they are not interchangeable actions. An IRS Lien is a claim, or security interest, in a taxpayer's real and personal property asserted by the IRS for unpaid taxes. An IRS Levy, is used to enforce the IRS Lien, and is the actual seizure and sale of a taxpayer's property to collect on the underlying tax debt for which the lien relates.

In all situations, the IRS Lien preceeds the IRS Levy. The lien attaches to a taxpayer's property and rights to property when the taxpayer fails to pay any taxes assessed by the IRS upon Notice and Demand for payment. The lien attaches to all current property/property rights of the taxpayer at the time of the assessment, as well as property/property rights acquired by the taxpayer at any future date during the period the underlying tax remains unpaid and collectable. To protect the IRS' right of priority against competing liens of other creditors that may have claims against the taxpayer, the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL). The NFTL is a public notice filed by the IRS to notify the taxpayer's creditors of the IRS' claim against taxpayer property. It is required by law to make the IRS' lien superior, as it relates to priority of payment, to certain other creditor claims not yet perfected (i.e. filed/recorded). The NFTL is NOT USED to attach the IRS' Lien to the taxpayer's property/property rights; failure to pay the assessed tax after demand by the IRS is the event that triggers the lien.

Therefore, the lien encumbers the taxpayer's property such that it can not be sold, transferred, substituted, or liquidated without the IRS receiving an interest equal to the amount of the lien. The lien itself does not force the taxpayer to sell, transfer, substitute, or liquidate any of the taxpayer's property/rights to property to which it is attached. The IRS Levy is the enforcement action undertaken by the IRS to forcibly collect the delinquent tax. It is one of the most aggressive actions taken by the IRS to collect and satisfy unpaid taxes. Given the power of the Levy to seize and sell a taxpayer's property without first going to court, the IRS generally must first provide the taxpayer with a 30-day Notice of Intent to Levy. In addition to the amount of unpaid tax the IRS seeks to recover by levy, the notice also explains the rights of the taxpayer to challenge the levy via a Collections Due Process (CDP) Hearing (in most situations), an appeal, and other alternative that may prevent the levy. To preserve their rights to challenge a levy action, it is important for taxpayers to take immediate action in response to a levy notice.

"The IRS has professionals working FOR THEM, Shouldn't You?"

The RIGHT Representative to Protect Your Interests

Trish Harris EA, MBA is a licensed IRS Enrolled Agent and M.B.A with a very successful track record taking on the IRS.  Trish represents taxpayers in resolving IRS and State tax problems, including tax auditswage garnishmentsbank levytax liensinstallment agreementsunfiled tax returns, and offers in compromise.   

​You would be naive to believe that the IRS or State doesn't have a targeted agenda in mind for your tax problem, from the first notice of contact.  Each agency has trained professionals that specialize in the specific area of tax for which you are being audited or pursued for collection.  They generally work under the premise that you are 'guilty' of a reporting violation or error, and their aim is to prove it. 

From the list of documents and information they request, to the questions they ask, everything is in accordance with their plan.  Consider this: Would you provide evidence or testify in court without knowing how the information could be used against you?  Of course not!  Yet everyday, well intentioned taxpayers provide information to the IRS and State without no knowledge of their rights, or how the information could be used against them.  THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE.

As an experienced IRS Enrolled Agent, Trish Harris EA, M.B.A knows the hidden agenda of the IRS and State tax agents, and will go toe-to-toe with to protect your rights and get you the tax relief you need.

 Trish Harris EA, M.B.A
IRS Licensed Enrolled Agent
 Nearly 20 Years of Tax and Finance Experience

"I personally handle every client's case from beginning to end. I'm committed to securing the best possible resolution to your tax problems"
The Harris Tax 
and Financial Solutions 

No False Promises-  Here you will get real solutions to your tax problems. Every legally viable collection alternative and defense for which you qualify will be pursued to get the relief you deserve. If your tax problem can not be resolved in your favor, I'll tell you.  I won't take a case I can't successfully resolve.   

Personal Attention- You get 1-on-1 personal service.  Your case is managed at all times by a licensed IRS tax pro, ready to answer your questions whenever you need.  You will not be passed between case managers, account reps, and other so-called 'specialist' while your case is being resolved.  As your designated representative, I will personally handle your case from start to finish. I will be your main point of contact for any questions you may have throughout the duration of your case.

Best Value - Fees are inclusive of all acts and necessary filings to perform the contracted service(s), as specified in the written agreement.  There are NO HIDDEN CHARGES or add-on fees for incidental services.  In general, my fees are significantly lower than my branded competitors, since I don't spend huge marketing dollars, and have limited overhead

IRS Audit Representation and Tax Relief is One Call Away

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