Urgent News for Senior Citizens: When the IRS Calls, You'd Better Answer

Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from California Society of Enrolled Agents

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In news that is certain to
 shock and dismay some seniors, the Internal Revenue Service has announced its
 intention to garnish the Social Security checks of debtors who are at least
 six months in arrears.
     The program, set to begin in October, is authorized by the 1996 Debt
 Collection Improvement Act, which gave the Treasury sweeping powers to go
 after debtors, irrespective of age, including assigning accounts to private
 collection agencies, garnishing salaries, and withholding income tax refunds.
     Social Security recipients who receive $750 per month or less would not be
 affected, but Treasury intends to withhold fifteen percent of all payments
 above that amount, except for payments to the disabled and others under the
 Supplemental Security Income program.
     While more than 230,000 IRS debtors, the majority of whom are senior
 citizens, could be affected, there is a simple way they can protect themselves
 and their Social Security income.
     "Most Social Security recipients will probably qualify for 'Currently Not
 Collectible' (CNC) status from the IRS because they don't receive income above
 a Hardship level," points out Sal Romo Jr., EA, President of the California
 Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA). Enrolled Agents are tax professionals
 licensed by the federal government to assist taxpayers with tax planning,
 preparation and representation.
     "By rule, the IRS must notify the prospective garnishees of the Service's
 Intent to Levy; taxpayers are put on notice to contact the IRS to explain
 their situations," Romo adds.
     The first 55,000 delinquency notices were sent in March, with a second
 wave mailed in April. "To qualify for CNC status, the taxpayer MUST respond to
 the notice, contact the IRS or a tax preparer for assistance, and explain the
 Hardship situation," urges Romo. "Failure to do so puts the affected
 taxpayer's Social Security benefits at considerable risk."
     Taxpayers in California who seek professional assistance with their tax
 situation can locate Enrolled Agents in their area by calling toll-free
 800-829-7765 or online at www.csea.org. Outside California, the Enrolled Agent
 referral number is 800-424-4339.
 
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SOURCE California Society of Enrolled Agents
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In news that is certain to
 shock and dismay some seniors, the Internal Revenue Service has announced its
 intention to garnish the Social Security checks of debtors who are at least
 six months in arrears.
     The program, set to begin in October, is authorized by the 1996 Debt
 Collection Improvement Act, which gave the Treasury sweeping powers to go
 after debtors, irrespective of age, including assigning accounts to private
 collection agencies, garnishing salaries, and withholding income tax refunds.
     Social Security recipients who receive $750 per month or less would not be
 affected, but Treasury intends to withhold fifteen percent of all payments
 above that amount, except for payments to the disabled and others under the
 Supplemental Security Income program.
     While more than 230,000 IRS debtors, the majority of whom are senior
 citizens, could be affected, there is a simple way they can protect themselves
 and their Social Security income.
     "Most Social Security recipients will probably qualify for 'Currently Not
 Collectible' (CNC) status from the IRS because they don't receive income above
 a Hardship level," points out Sal Romo Jr., EA, President of the California
 Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA). Enrolled Agents are tax professionals
 licensed by the federal government to assist taxpayers with tax planning,
 preparation and representation.
     "By rule, the IRS must notify the prospective garnishees of the Service's
 Intent to Levy; taxpayers are put on notice to contact the IRS to explain
 their situations," Romo adds.
     The first 55,000 delinquency notices were sent in March, with a second
 wave mailed in April. "To qualify for CNC status, the taxpayer MUST respond to
 the notice, contact the IRS or a tax preparer for assistance, and explain the
 Hardship situation," urges Romo. "Failure to do so puts the affected
 taxpayer's Social Security benefits at considerable risk."
     Taxpayers in California who seek professional assistance with their tax
 situation can locate Enrolled Agents in their area by calling toll-free
 800-829-7765 or online at www.csea.org. Outside California, the Enrolled Agent
 referral number is 800-424-4339.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X07416526
 
 
 SOURCE  California Society of Enrolled Agents