by Debbie Bush, Tax Consultant, JK Harris and Company
I would like to share a touching story I had with a client. I was so grateful to help this client with his IRS tax nightmare; he had carried around this burden for many, many years. This gentleman had been afraid for many years. He was about 75 years old when he came in to see me about a tax debt that he had with the IRS. He started telling me about all the horrible things people had told him might happen to him from losing his home to losing his small checking account -he was afraid the IRS would have him living out in the streets. He had no family to depend on and could not survive if the IRS took what little he had.
After listening to my client, I responded by asking if he had any correspondence from the IRS and he said not for a while but did from years ago. He took out an old, worn wallet and carefully opened it. He took out a worn, folded piece of paper that looked to be very old. He handed me the letter the IRS had sent to him about 15 years ago. He said he had filed all of his tax returns on time, but just could not pay his income tax when it was due because he worked small jobs for other people, he had received 1099 income and was barely getting by on what he brought in.
I looked at the letter, then I looked up at this old, fearful man and told him that he had nothing to worry about. You see, the statute had run out on his tax liability and the IRS could no longer collect from him. He looked shocked when I informed him of this and he started crying. I explained to him, the IRS had only so many years to collect back taxes and his tax debt had expired. He asked me what he owed JK Harris. I said nothing at all and he started crying again. This 75 year old man had been walking around for years, fearful of the IRS. He had been carrying this sense of dread and worry with him for at least 15 years; worried he would lose his home or that the IRS was going to come after him. He gave me a big hug when he left. I’ll always remember this man who never technically was a client of JK Harris, but who I was able to help breathe a sigh of relief. I will never forget him, or the sense of relief he felt on leaving my office.