Handling tax concerns has got to be one of the most taxing commitments for any entrepreneur. Managing tax and time is a concern that every so often, people get caught up with. Not everyone is well-versed with tax management. People try to ignore and neglect their obligations but in reality, it creates a snowball effect that will eventually resurge. In this episode, Alliance Tax Solutions President John Cristadoro and CEO Deaphalis Sample share their insight about supervising tax and executing proper business strategies. Join into this worthwhile conversation as John’s and Deaphalis’ wealth of experience cement your desire for a better advancement not only in tax resolution but in entrepreneurship as a whole.
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School Of Wealth Interview With Alliance Tax
I’ve got two guests on the show that I’ve been wanting to get on the show for a while. It’s perfect timing because taxes are due. If you owe taxes or you know somebody who owes back taxes, you’re going to want to read up on this day’s episode because it’s all about tax relief. It’s my pleasure to have John Cristadoro and Deaphalis Sample from Alliance Tax Solutions. What’s up, brothers?
What’s going on?
My brothers from another mother.
We look alike, right, D? You’ve got a little bit darker complexion than me.
I stayed a little bit longer in the sun.
John, look at you in that. Both of you guys are wearing three-piece suits.
We know your outfit game, Rondi. We figured if we were going to be on your show, if we’re not trying to bring it then we’re going to look like scrubs. I can’t do that.
I’m usually the one all dressed up and you guys are making me look like a slob. That’s all right but the question is, do you have your name, title and company on the inside of those jackets?
You’ve got it?
Not just the jacket but I could also show you the logo on the shirt. It’s camouflaged but it’s there. Rondi, you know the purpose behind that. As a matter of fact, you’ve known us so long even prior to us launching this company together. With that, there are ways to figure out how to have a uniform. That’s an expense and I’m sure you’ve told your audience many times before but we epitomize that. We’re always looking for opportunities to reduce exposure to business expenses.
Taxes are our largest expense. Do you guys see that Biden said he’s only going to raise the tax on people that’s over $400,000 then he said, “Now it’s $200,000.” He dropped it to $200,000.
I had a mixed thought when Biden was elected. As business owners and true entrepreneurs, in my opinion, we will excel no matter who’s in office. We have preferences no matter what those are but we will excel if you adjust and you pivot as necessary. We knew from our tax company that it’s only going to get better from our revenue perspective because no matter who you voted for, the Democrats always run on additional spending.
Where do you get money to spend? By taxation. The affiliate feels that’s how they’re going to get it. If they change the code and they all do, which makes it more complicated. Unfortunately, it gets people into more issues, which then turns more potential clients in for us. It’s an unfortunate thing but it happens nonetheless. It’s going to happen especially now, where things are getting reversed and changed. Tax codes are changing and whatever the case may be.
Even the more complicated it gets, it makes it more difficult for the IRS to interpret it because they’re constantly changing, which in turn creates more problems for potential clients or clients. To piggyback on what John was saying, it’s one of those unfortunate things.
They’re raising our taxes, which I don’t care because I haven’t paid personal income tax in twenty-plus years. Relatively, it’s a very small amount considering how much money I make but it’s because I understand the tax code. A lot of guys are into sports, I don’t care about sports. I watch the Super Bowl. The first game of the year I watched even though there weren’t many games. My point is I don’t care about sports but I care about tax code and I care about the game of paying less as you guys do. You guys are experts at this.
I was thinking, “It’s not going to matter to me much.” It will affect my clients, which I feel bad for them. The other thing is, they’re always talking about taxing the rich. These people that make over $400,000. Let’s say you make $1 million a year and they add an extra 10% to your tax. Now you’ve got to pay an extra $100,000. “Now, I’m netting $900,000. Why does it matter?” It’s not a lot. How am I going to make up for it? I’m going to charge the clients a little tiny bit more to make up $100,000 over the year and now I’m back at $1 million net. I could also lay off employees or I cut some type of health insurance or whatever. People don’t realize how that truly does trickle down to the working class. When they raise taxes on the businesses and the rich, it trickles down to everybody else. John, we’ve known each other for quite a while and D, we’ve known each other for quite a while. You’ve been doing tax solution and tax resolution stuff for how long, Deaphalis?
I’ve been in the industry now for several years. I started out at a company in Houston, Texas. I worked at that company for three years and became the number one person in the sale on the sales side of tax resolution for that company. I met my ex-wife there and then she and I decided to leave the company to start our own. From that point, it’s been history. We made a lot of mistakes along the way because we didn’t have a mentor at the time. Through trial and error, it’s a good thing that the mistakes that we made didn’t put us out of business. What took me ten years with her, now that we’re divorced, John and I connected at the Board of Advisors Mastermind and what took several years before I connected with John, knock on wood, a few years and we’re almost there.
I met you at a Board of Advisors meeting, correct, D? You started sending me business for credit repair. I started sending you business for tax resolution. You moved to Atlanta. You also knew John from Board of Advisors. John, you have a background in radio. You and I hit it off you. You did the advertising and marketing side, I was doing the radio side. What’s your marketing company called?
The media agency Alliance Activation. We’ve got this thing about Alliance, those things.
You’re media buyers. Some of your clients are Hooters and Heineken. Who else have you got?
Aaron’s Rent to Own, we’ve done procures for Coca-Cola. We’re launching a new brand under Hooters umbrella called Hoots, which is a fast-casual for them. We onboarded a regional beer brand called New Realm Brewing, which is exciting. We’ve done a lot of different things for a lot of different clients. D and I met at the Board of Advisors, the same place I met you. My previous history was media sales. When I moved to Los Angeles to be a rich and famous actor, after a period of time, I got tired of being broke. I started working for CBS Radio where I represented several radio stations, most importantly KFWB and the Dodgers Radio Network. I focused on working with clients and trying to sell them radio or sponsorship to the Dodgers. I did that for a while, working with clients like Washington Mutual, Chase, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Disney.
The guy that ran the broadcast out there got the job for Clear Channel, which is now iHeartMedia, here in Atlanta. He oversaw several radio stations and then oversaw the Braves’ broadcast. When he moved here, he picked up the phone and said, “I need you on my team. Can you come?” I said, “Sure.” My eight-month pregnant wife and I packed up and moved across the country and set up shop here. After a period of time working for the radio station, it was very fulfilling. I was successful but I always had this entrepreneurial itch. I wanted to do my own thing. A lot of us have the same feeling. Oftentimes, reps are a commoditized service, what we provide. The radio, TV or billboard companies have a great way of reminding you on a consistent basis that, “Those are not your accounts. They’re our accounts.” If you’re making too much money, they change the rules of engagement. They offer you less commission or they move that account to someone else that’s more worthy or whatever the case may be.
I struck a deal with management. I said, “I’m going to go open up my own agency.” Instead of schlepping specific radio stations, I’m going to listen to clients and figure out what types of marketing needs they have. Whether it’s radio, TV, search social or experiential, whatever the case may be. When I did that, I met Deaphalis at the Board of Advisors and he had a company going in Houston, Texas with his ex-wife. They were doing things on a national scale. I came in and did an evaluation. I said, “Let’s look in your backyard. Let’s focus on a great target consumer that can connect with you.” As you’ve noticed, he’s an African-American male with a very strong personality and a voice that resonates on the radio. We went to market on an African-American radio station and in a short period of time saw a pretty great response to the marketing.
We started scaling there. I said, “I’m a big fan. One of my clients often says R&D and it’s not Research and Development. It’s Rip-off and Duplicate.” I said, “You’re doing very well with the African American consumer here in Houston, Texas. I live in Atlanta, it’s 33%. African-American, they just so happen to have the exact same radio station with the exact same radio company, Radio One. Why don’t we do this? Let’s test the market. You guys can set up an office at my agency. If in fact it works without doing the whole brick and mortar thing, I’ll invest and we’ll be partners.” Both he and his now ex-wife said that’s a great idea.
We tested it and within 30 days, had a response. They came here and they started to do that then the rules of engagement changed. That’s between D and his now ex-wife but long story short, they decided it was no longer working. As someone that saw a huge opportunity, I went to D and I said, “If you guys are no longer going to do that here, let’s shut yours down and I’ll stand it up.” My expertise is marketing. His expertise is knowing the tax game and the sales. We’ll hire somebody to run operations and do it very effectively. Fast forward to a few years and here we are with a successful resolution company.
I’ve sent people to you and in fact, you guys are working with my mom and her husband. I trust you guys. You’ve been in business for more than fourteen years. You’ve been in business, John, for quite a while. Deaphalis, explain what tax resolution is for the people who are reading who have no idea what that is.
Tax resolution is people who have a tax debt. They owe the IRS X amount dollars. They have unfiled tax returns. Maybe they have a lien, levy, garnishment in place or they’re going through an audit. That’s the gist of what tax resolution is. What we basically do is go in and resolve whatever the issue is. Most of our clients typically have unfiled tax returns. They don’t know how much they owe. They don’t know where to go or who to trust. When we get involved, we get involved at the point where they respond to one of our ads via radio, TV or the internet. At that point, they call in and talk to one of our reps. Our reps take them through an analysis to determine which is going to be the best route we need to take with resolving their particular situation. Once they engage us, we move from the sales side to the support side of the business and then that’s where the work is done.
What about the stories like, “I owe the IRS $1 million,” are you guys going to settle for me for $200, $300 and a case of beer?
Most people think that’s a hoax. There’s a very small percentage industry-wide where people get their debts settled. We’ve been successful. As a matter of fact, we had five individuals show up to give us testimonials. One of those individuals was a lady who owed $22,000 to the IRS and ended up paying $506 after we settle her debt. The other gentleman ended up owing the IRS $1.8 million. He had a carryback of $9 million in debt so we were able to go back, get it on the tax returns a few years back so he can carry it forward.
In essence, saving him a little bit more than $1 million. Those are the types of things that we do but when it comes to most people, the IRS is looking for, “What is your true ability to pay the money back? Do you really have the money? If so, we want it.” What we do is we’re the buffer. We get between that so that the IRS doesn’t create a financial hardship for them. At least we can put them back on that pathway to peace by setting up some installment agreement, partial payment installment agreement or going in to settle the debt.
To D’s point, one of the things that I wanted to touch on because as a person that had no experience prior to starting this company, I made some assumptions. I said, “How do you owe the government money?” Only business owners owe the government money because those are the ones that are not paying their quarterlies or whatever and so on so forth. I made the assumption only business owners/1099 individuals owe the government money. In fact, W-2 employees oftentimes owe the government money as well because they put the wrong things on their tax returns. They had the wrong deductions and after a period of time, the government says, “We gave you a check but in fact, you owe us.”
Most W-2 employees at certain socioeconomic status are not putting a lot of money away. What will happen is, “I’ve got this bill saying I now owe $6,000. Where am I going to get $6,000?” Generally, what they do is they stick their head in the sand and they hope that it goes away. A lot of people do that. I’ve done it. I’ve had to deal with my own tax problem ironically enough so I could speak from experience. From there, it just snowballs because once they stick their head in the sand then they don’t file the next year.
They think, “If I just don’t file, I will disappear.” Like that Bart Simpson GIF that he goes into the bushes and he’s gone. It snowballs. Everything is hunky-dory in their mind for a period of time and then it happens. They get a letter, lien or garnishment. Now they’re like, “What in the world do I do?” We go in there, put them on the pathway to peace. A key distinction when you ask the question, “I owe $1 million and settled for $500.” There are a lot of things that go into that. Our experts are experts in trying to get to that but there are no guarantees.
Oftentimes, we will decline people. We’ve had people that call in and say, “I owe $50,000.” First, we’ll start the process with, “Tell us how you got into the situation,” so on and so forth. The gist of it was, “I just didn’t pay my taxes. I don’t want to pay my taxes so I’m going to pay you guys and you’re going to make it go away.” If that’s the case, we tell them, “We don’t want your money. You should settle with the government. We can help put you on a properly structured payment plan.” We don’t make any false promises or false hope because sometimes people have unrealistic expectations.
Look at my mom, they didn’t file in ‘14 because their garage caught on fire. That’s where they stored all their tax documents. The garage didn’t burn down but it smoldered and one of the boxes that caught on fire was with all their taxes so it burned. They didn’t know how to get it. They forgot about it. They dealt with the insurance. 2015 rolls around, “We didn’t do it last year.” That thing went on for seven years. I keep saying, “We’ve got to do this because I know it just gets bigger and bigger.” I think of it as the person that goes into the pantry to get something to eat. They hit the light switch and the light bulb burns out. They walk out. Every day after that, they hit the light switch and they think it’s going to fix itself. It never fixes itself until you change the lightbulb. Tax problems never go away.
That’s exactly right. Some people believe that, “The IRS is not bothering me.” They didn’t get a letter or they’re flying under the radar. We have to be transparent and tell them, “It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.” I’d rather be the one to be in control of how I’m going to spend my money as opposed to the IRS telling me how. They’re going to take my money be it through a levy or a wage garnishment. The beautiful thing about the tax industry, what I love about it is it’s almost what I would call a recession-proof business because we built the last tax resolution company during the recession. Even during the pandemic, we’ve been able to be successful. The phone is continuously ringing.
I saw that in 2020 when the pandemic was bad. May, June, July was the best quarter of our business and it was only because people were home. That’s what the problem is. 95% of the people go to my website, fill out a form and we never get in touch with them because it’s hard to track them down. With the pandemic, they were at home so they’re answering their phones. You told me what you liked about it. What do you guys not like about being entrepreneurs and business owners especially in the tax business? Is there anything you don’t like about it?
I’ll tell you what I like about being an entrepreneur and then also tell you what I don’t like about our industry or the service we provide. I’ll start with the service we provide. We tell our clients all the time. “We need you to be fully engaged in order for us to help you.” Oftentimes, these are the same people and the same mentality that have let this fester and grow. I’ll tell you a crazy thing. We get people sometimes that pay an engagement fee with us of thousands of dollars and then never call us back. We’re like, “What are you doing? We have your money. We need to help you. We want to help you. You don’t call us back.” That’s the only reason why our biggest complaint and this is what tax resolution firms go through, “You’ve got my money. What are you doing for me?”
In our system, we make it transparent. You can log in and see what we’ve done and so on and so forth. Most of the time they have unfiled tax returns. How do you file a return? You have to get the information. Our team of tax preparers is constantly on the phone. “Mr. Smith, can you please send me this?” “You said you had an expense of that. Can you please show me proof? You’re going to get audited if not.” For whatever reason, they’ll be out of sight, out of mind and then reengage us a few weeks later and says, “Why haven’t you done this?” We want to help people. The moment you don’t help someone, they’re going to tell everyone. The moment you do help someone very well, they might tell 1 or 2 people. That’s the nature of business in general but that’s what I don’t like. The consumers or clients that don’t consider it to continue to be engaged so we can help them.
What I don’t like about being an entrepreneur is typical entrepreneur stuff. First of all, as partners, that’s a whole different dynamic. We’re 50/50 and we both came from a situation where he was a successful business owner, as was I, without a partner. We’ve joined forces and then it no longer became, “It’s my decision. If I want to spend $5,000 on this ad, I’m going to do it.” We came to the conclusion of like, “I have to check with somebody.” There were growing pains there but I tell people all the time, “He’s not like family. He is family.” He is definitely family to me. I’ll kill a man for him. It took some time for us to get to that spot.
As an entrepreneur, we’re constantly taking risks. You talk about using credit. I’ve listened to you all the time and I think it’s great. We’re looking at establishing lines of credit because we bootstrapped everything. We’re like, “We don’t want to owe anybody anything.” When COVID came along, the EIDL, the SBA and stuff, we jumped on the bandwagon as well. Now we see on a balance sheet, “We have $150,000 SBA loan. We owe someone money. I don’t like that.”
We opened up an office. We have our corporate offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas. We did very well so we’re considering open up other offices. When you look at the balance sheet, revenues are here combined with the expenses of opening up an office in a city like Houston, Texas, it’s constantly a give and take. That’s what I don’t prefer. I shouldn’t say don’t like because I love being an entrepreneur but don’t prefer that in business.
That was a very challenging question because I never thought about what I don’t like about being an entrepreneur. I’m sitting up here and I don’t want to say nothing because that wouldn’t be the truth. It boils down to, “If I don’t get up, I don’t eat.” I’m motivated by that. That’s not necessarily what I don’t like. I’m struggling with what I don’t like about being an entrepreneur because everything about being an entrepreneur, I love. There are some other things that I could do better in a part of being an entrepreneur to me is you’ve got to be in shape. You’ve got to physically be in some shape at some point so you can feel good about what you’re doing, physically. If I had to call, it would probably be what I don’t like about being an entrepreneur is I don’t eat right.
I appreciate what you’re saying because what I love about being an entrepreneur is that it provides you problems to solve every day. I love solving problems. The best entrepreneurs out there and the most successful solve the biggest problems for the most amount of people. The one thing that I am envious of with my employees is when they go home, they’re done. They don’t think about work. When they’re on vacation, they’re not thinking about it. I’m obsessed with it. I purposely try to check out with no cell phone and no internet about once every quarter but I’m still engaged with it. On the other side, that’s what I love about it. I’m obsessed with it and I love it. You don’t ever disengage.
Speaking of that, your attempt to disengaging because I’ve gotten your bounce back email. I’ve been envious of that. I’m like, “That takes up a large amount of cojones.” I’m afraid as the business owner and I’ve grown over the years. You can determine what success is whether it’s revenue, whatever the case may be. I think success is freedom and the ability to engage with my family. If I make enough money to allow me to do that, I’m successful. You get to that point where you can let go and not look at your phone. I’m telling you, getting that bounce back for me was like, “That’s pretty impressive.” You can say, “I’m going to answer the phone between these times so call me then.” I’m like, “I’ll try that.”
I have that on my voicemail, too. I have it set on vacation mode that responds back with, “I only check email twice a day, certain days a week, etc.” I got that from Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. I’ve been doing that since 2010. At first, it’s pretty scary telling your clients that you’re not going to look at their email and you’re not going to call them back. I can tell you this, John, when I call people back and when I email people back prior to the time that I said I was going to, they appreciate the phone call. They appreciate the fact that I’m responding back. A lot of times, I’ll let you in on a secret. When I call them, they’re like, “I didn’t expect a phone call. Thank you so much.” I’m letting them know I’m putting them in my frame. I’m busy. I don’t have a lot of time. Get your crap together when I call you back.
What I mean by that is, figure out what you want for me. I do this with my mom all the time. I’m like, “What is it that you want from me?” Because she calls me during the middle of the day. By doing that, I’m letting them know, I’m keeping my frame. I’m busy. I’m going to give you the time, you’re important to me but I need you to figure out what it is that you want. It turns it in the opposite of what you think that people get upset. They’re more appreciative when you call them and you do reply back. I know it gets a little annoying when it goes back and forth and you get that pop up email. At least you know I got it because you got the responder back.
I love that. My wife, I love her to death. I don’t want to use the word train but she understands. If she hits me during the day, I’m going to answer the phone. Early in our relationship, we’ve been together for several years and I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than a few so she understands. I’m going to answer the phone but please make it important because I’m in so many things. I get it. It’s a set in expectations.
Tell me one of your super successful settlement resolution stories that you got. You can tell us about the nurse. The lady that had cancer.
The one that most people would probably say, “You’re full of crap,” is a guy by the name of Alfredo. I won’t say his last name for confidentiality reasons but he had a little bit over $1 million in tax debt. We were able to go in and settle it for zero.
He owes IRS $1 million and you settle it for zero.
He was a contractor. He was a painter. He was very successful as a painter but he got sick and couldn’t go back to doing his craft. He ended up on Social Security. As a result, he was getting about $900 a month. After he pays his bills, he had maybe $150 left. The new tax code changed so now if we put them on a payment plan, they can only go out 84 months. They have to collect within that amount of time. How are they going to get $1 million? The revenue officer said, “Don’t even worry about it.” She zeroed him out and he referred a couple of other clients to us as a result of his success. That’s one that I can think of. I can give you story after story of how we’ve been able to help people.
Let me back up. The lady I said we took her debt from $22,000, we settled it for $500. It wasn’t just based on the fact that she didn’t have the ability to pay because she did. This is the lady you’re talking about. She had breast cancer. The year that she created the liability was where the debt came from. We were able to go in and settle the debt, doubt as to liability is one, doubt as to collectability is another one. We settled this one if effective tax administration. This basically means, “Prove to us that you had some unique circumstance that prevented you from fulfilling your obligation.” They will approve or deny it. We got it approved based on the fact that we submitted her doctor records.
Here’s the interesting thing, Rondi. I’m going to let your audience in on a little secret. Technically, you guys can do this yourself.
You can also pull your own teeth?
Absolutely and that’s the thing. You can represent yourself in the court of law or get an attorney. You can change your own oil or go to the mechanic. What makes us and a good resolution firm successful is we know the rules of the game. We know how to position the packaging to tell the story to get what we need for our clients and act on their behalf. Here’s another little secret, the IRS, those agents, for the most part, and I know I’m going to offend some agents, most of them don’t want to be there or they’re unhappy. If you get our resolution team, our CPAs and tax attorneys, whatever, get the wrong one on the phone and we get the answer we don’t want, we’ve trained them to be a bulldog. Hang up the phone and call back. The average wait time with the IRS because I’ve done it myself is 47 minutes.
We’ve got people on hold on average for 47 minutes. Their job is to wait, talk, figure out if we’re going to get what we need for our clients. If not, we offer all the time $1. You might say, “Why the heck are you offering $1?” They can either say yes or no, we got a 50/50 shot. If they say yes, we’ve settled it for $1. If they say no, we say, “Okay.” Go back to the drawing board, fix it and offer him $5. Start the process all over. If you want to go and do that yourself, have at it or hire someone like us.
If you have all the money in the world then you buy someone else’s time. If you have all the time in the world with no money then do it yourself.
Here’s the thing and this is probably where I’m going to disagree. You can do it yourself. They say the person that represents themself has a fool for a client. Especially if you’re representing yourself before the IRS when you don’t know any tax law, tax code or tax procedure. I know how my engine works in my car but I’m not a mechanic.
You put gas in, you press the gas pedal and it goes. That’s how you know it works.
That’s all I know. Am I going to attempt to go in there, take out the spark plugs and put some new ones in because it backfired? No. I don’t know that the spark plugs have to be adjusted to a certain gauge then put back in and then put on that. I don’t know how to do all that. That’s essentially what clients do when they represent themselves before the IRS. You might as well take a shotgun, put it to your head and pull the trigger.
Look at my business with credit repair, you can do it yourself. How are you going to respond to the Bureau’s when they send you a letter saying they received a suspicious letter they’ve turned over to the authorities? It says, “It’s suspicious and we’ve turned it over to the authorities.” What does that mean? That means they threw it in the trash can but you as a consumer don’t know that. You think, “I broke some law.” Now, this multibillion-dollar company gave it to the FBI and they’re coming after me.
It can be very scary. Like what you guys were saying with repossessions. I have a 98% deletion rate on a repo on a vehicle and it’s not because I’m doing anything special. It’s because I understand the law and what the bank is required to do when they legally repo it. It’s not that they can’t repo, it’s not that the consumer doesn’t owe the money, it’s because the bank forgot to do something once it was repoed. They forget it about 98% of the time and therefore we can get that repossession removed.
On our end, it’s called collections due process, which means you have to follow a process. The IRS doesn’t do that. If they followed the process to the letter of the law to contact you because you owe or you haven’t filed, that would put them five years behind and they’re already five years behind.
It’s all about understanding it. The brain surgeon doesn’t get paid for how long it takes for the heart surgery. It’s how long it took them to get to that point. That whole Picasso story where he’s sitting there and the lady comes up and asks him to draw something, he draws a little thing on the napkin, he’s like, “That’d be $10,000.” She’s like, “It only took you a minute.” He’s like, “No, it took me 50 years to be able to do that.” You told us some of the success stories and I know you’ve got thousands of them. When doesn’t it work?
About 2% of the time.
Is it because the IRS won’t work with you? Is it because the clients don’t work with you?
A combination of both. Understanding that we deal with the world’s greatest procrastinators, manipulators, liars, cheaters and thieves, the world’s greatest. Most of those people are procrastinators. They procrastinate for whatever reason. We need documents. We’ve already made contact with the IRS. We’ve been requesting documents. As a matter of fact, we have a lady that if an offer and compromise is going to be accepted by the IRS. We need her to respond and can’t get a hold of her. In those situations, we only have so much time.
There are times where we can’t get the IRS to give us exactly what we want but we were still able to put them in a better position. Sometimes the client doesn’t see it. “I wanted you to take my debt from $50,000 to $500.” “How, Mr. Smith? When it’s showing you have $1,500 leftover every month. You have some ability to pay the IRS.” Let me say this. I am personally offended when someone deliberately doesn’t pay their taxes. If they take advantage of the tax law, I’m cool with that but to deliberately not pay when I pay my fair share, you’re driving on roads you hadn’t paid for. Police are protecting you. School teachers are teaching your kids. Pay your fair share. I have to pay mine. I take advantage of the tax law too because the money I made last year compared to what I pay, hands down, is considerably a lot less.
It’s your moral responsibility to pay your taxes. It’s the law. It’s your responsibility. Nobody cares about your money more than you do. It’s your responsibility to figure out how to legally pay less. I was in a clubhouse and these guys were in there talking about Bitcoin and how they’re making all this money and they’re not paying taxes. It was my turn to come around. I’m like, “That’s illegal, guys. That’s called tax evasion.” They’re like, “No, you don’t have to pay taxes on Bitcoin.” I’m like, “You do. You’re making money.” “I did it through my offshore account.” “It doesn’t work that way. It’s tax evasion. You’ve still got to pay it.”
You’re saying about 98% of the time it works. I can appreciate what you’re saying with the clients that aren’t getting you what they need. Thousands of people hire me to fix their credit and we ask for three documents. That’s really all we ask from our clients. Driver’s license, Social Security card, utility bill. Twenty percent of the people that hire me never give us a driver’s license. They give us the enrollment fee and we never hear back from them. I can’t do anything without the driver’s license. A large majority never provide us with an address, utility bill or Social Security card. It’s like sending us to war with no bullets. We got a bayonet, we got the butt of our gun but it’s not going to be as successful if we had some bullets. I can appreciate what you’re saying about people procrastinating because I know they do.
One of the things we have to keep in mind is that in that 98% figure, those are 98% of the people that we take on. When we do the needs analysis, it’s our policy to not take on people unless we believe we have the opportunity to help them. There are companies out there and tax resolution firms are all over the place. “I’ll do this. I’ll do that.” They get $1,200 or whatever the case may be and they’re like, “Sorry, can’t help you,” and then they play the numbers game. We don’t do that. That’s one of the things that when we were starting this company together and I had to learn from zero. I said, “D, because you’ve got so much experience, you work for another resolution firm and you had your own. What is the biggest thing we need to be aware of and the biggest pothole we need to avoid?”
It’s relatively easy with the right system to get leads. With a good sales team, you can close those leads. The biggest problem we need to be aware of is fulfillment because leads, closes and then you have to do something. There’re too many firms out there that are taking people’s money, they’re sitting on it and then not doing anything. Oftentimes, we make sure we train our people as an excellent sales trainer, on a weekly and monthly basis, reiterating not only the script. We control the script because we don’t want them to get off the script, not because we think they’re robots. We don’t want them to write up a check but can’t cash and our butts don’t want to cash. To bring it to perspective, that 98% includes based on people that we take it on.
I train even our support staff. Our resolutions team to fight. We don’t just lay it out because the IRS said, “You can’t take this deduction.” For example, we had a client in Houston, a flood came and flooded out his house. It was $30,000 in repairs that he had pictures for and receipts for the material and the work that was done to fix this house that he put on his tax return. The auditor denied the entire deduction for no reason. She was going around and around with her for one year before he hired us. When he hired us, we made her prove, according to the tax code, where he could not take this deduction. At the end of the day, he ended up getting a $6,000 refund and she was pissed because we didn’t give up. It took us another year fighting with her but we hung in there long enough to see the results because we already knew. He had the legal right to take the deduction based upon the man had pictures and receipts.
We’re not going anywhere.
Speaking of receipts, have you guys heard of Dext? It is an app. It was $250 for the year and $25 a month if you do a monthly thing. You take your receipt, take a picture of it and it uploads into QuickBooks. You can tag it. You can add a customer name to it. You can put a little description. It’s badass. I’m a big receipts guy. If you get audited, you better have the receipts because the statements don’t count.
When I came in, I had my AmEx. I’m like, “This is me.” I’ll put everything on my AmEx and then I tag it and so forth. Our CFO said, “That doesn’t work. You guys need to write it down and take the receipt.” We had a lunch meeting with a good friend of ours. It was a business lunch. I said, “D, write his name and write my name. Give it to Michelle and make sure we keep it tight.”
What we recommend is Taxbot. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Taxbot. Taxbot does the same thing. You can take a picture of your receipt and it will connect to QuickBooks and your bank account. They came out with this unique device called Taxbot Voice. You put on your sun visor and there are P&B, Personal and Business. When you’re driving, if it’s personal miles, you push it. If it’s business miles, you push it. It will track it in the app itself.
It’s important that you keep receipts, most importantly if you’re a W-2 employee. The likelihood of you being audited is extremely higher than the likelihood of me being audited. Isn’t it 10,000 to 1?
There are a number of different ways you can get audited. There’s the random audit. There’s the audit where this tax return is inconsistent with the tax return that you thought. There are a plethora of different ways you can get an audit. It’s not bad to go through an audit. It’s only bad when you don’t have the support.
I got audited in either 2012 or 2013 for a 2009 return. It’s an audit. It sucks. It ended up okay. The issue was the auditor or whoever’s doing the taxes didn’t understand how real estate worked. We saw millions of dollars coming in because I own the brokerage. At the end of the day, I didn’t make a lot of money and I didn’t realize that I was on 100% contract with all my agents. I had 26 real estate agents. They paid me $500 per transaction and they got 100% of their commission. He didn’t understand how that real estate world worked. Once the tax attorney explained that, he’s like, “Your client didn’t make $5 million?” “No. He made $500 per transaction. The rest of that money went to the agents and they all got 1099s.” He didn’t understand it. He audited for multiple different reasons. I want to button that up that if you are a business owner, you need to write on your receipt what it was for, who you’re with, what you talked about. Take a picture of it and get an app.
I like the one I have because you get the receipts via email and then you have to download the PDF and then upload it to QuickBooks. I’d forward it. It has a specific email for me and I hit forward. It’s cool. They download the attachment through their AI software, look at the name, categorize it for me and then put it in for review for my bookkeeper. She accepts it or changes the category. If I’m with a client, which almost every time I go out to dinner or lunch I’m with the client or an affiliate partner, I have all their names because they’re in QuickBooks. I can click their name and attach them to it, which is pretty cool. I appreciate your time. I know you’ve got an appointment coming up, John. What is your ideal client?
Tax problems are across all genres of people. Our ideal client is a guy who’s 50, divorced, two kids, an independent contractor, some previous drug or alcohol abuse. Maybe some previous incarceration. That guy that’s been divorced and is getting back on his feet.
As the marketing guy, when we identify demographics and whatever, our ideal client is someone that owes money that we believe we can help on a big broad thing. In actuality, it’s usually someone who’s 40-plus only because it takes some time to amass a certain amount of debt that it would be cost-effective to hire a third party to help with. Usually, they’ll have kids because there has to be something that gets them to move. Not everyone receives a threatening letter. Sometimes it is, “I want to buy a home. I want to help my kids. I want to do something like that.” You have to provide your tax returns. Some life moment has happened. Someone that we can help. It ranges from a lot of people. If you have a back tax debt and you need some help, we’ll do a search and check and see if we can help you out. We’ll offer you a fair price to help you with the service.
Individual or business.
The ideal client is someone who owes the IRS that had a speed bump. They’re trying to recover and trying to get back on their feet. Maybe they want to buy a house or pass a background check. It’s like my clients. Nobody hires me because they want to fix their credit. They hire me because someone said no. That’s the difference between credit and taxes. If you go 7, 10 years, it automatically drops off and it fixes itself. You start over. Taxes never go away. There’s no statute of limitations on the money you owe.
There’s a statute of limitations but it’s once the debt has been assessed. The statute of limitations, as far as federal is concerned, is ten years. It’s different from state to state. In the state of Georgia, it’s seven years. The reason why it doesn’t go away is that when it gets down to the ninth year, oftentimes they’ll file for an additional ten years.
They reassess it.
That’s exactly right.
With the bankruptcy, my tax attorney was telling me that you can file bankruptcy on a tax debt. There are a lot of stipulations with that. You’re saying that it’s got to be many years with no collection activity. If they send you a letter that is deemed collection activity, it extends the statute of limitations and removes the ability to file bankruptcy every time they send you a letter. If they send it once a year, it puts it off forever. Is it 3 or 4 years on the bankruptcy code?
It’s three years. Let me ask you a question because I heard you mentioned something about they were getting ready to bring tax liens back to the credit reports.
There was a lawsuit that all 50 state attorney generals got involved with. They filed lawsuits against Experian, Equifax and TransUnion for reporting public records including judgments and tax liens on a credit report without verifying the information to be accurate. What the credit bureaus would do is they’d send in college kids into these courthouses, scan documents and then upload it. Somebody like John, it’s super easy to get a merged file because John is a fairly common name. Deaphalis is going to be a little bit more difficult. Rondi is going to be harder than that.
What would happen is John Chris or John Christiansen from LA owes the IRS $1 million. John Cristadoro from Atlanta doesn’t owe the money at all. Because the names are similar, they get merged. Jane Smith from Atlanta, Georgia and there’s a Jane Smith from Atlanta, Idaho, owe the money in the IRS and it merges. It would be on both people’s reports. There was no verification that it was an accurate tax lien. All 50 state attorney generals got together and they filed this big lawsuit. The credit bureau settled, paid out billions of dollars and said, “We’ll never do it again. We’re going to get our act right.” Even though the law has been in place since 1970 saying it has to be accurate, they said, “We’ll stop reporting tax liens for a year until we can get this figured out.”
That settlement expired in 2019. December 31st, 2018, it expires. As of January 1st, 2019, the settlement has ended. They are not reporting public records or tax liens. They will as soon as this COVID stuff is behind us. The only reason they didn’t start is because of COVID. There’s such a disaster with the credit reporting. There are 33 million people in America that haven’t paid their mortgage. There are all kinds of tax problems. They’re trying to figure this whole thing out. You’ll see tax liens and public records back on credit reports. They’ll figure out a way to verify it with Social Security numbers. Here’s what people don’t realize because it’s not on the credit report, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. They pull the public records report. Go to Nexus.com, we put in the Social and hit submit. For 2 or 3 pennies, you can get a public record report and a lien report. That’s what these title companies and mortgage companies do.
I have several clients who are attempting to buy a home. Because they have a tax problem, that doesn’t show up on their credit report. They call us and want us to work magic overnight. They’ve got to close in 30 days. You have to be realistic and say, “That’s not going to happen.”
I’ve been talking about my mom a lot on this show because it’s been a lot for me. She’s been blowing up my phone, John. I said, “Mom, you haven’t filed for seven years. What is the deal?” She’s like, “I want to buy a house.” I’m like, “I told you that this is going to be a 3 to 6 months process. It’s been two weeks and you’re blowing up my phone. Calm down and wait for John and D’s company to call you.” She called me and said, “You guys. I’ve got to give them your cell phone number.”
Do you know what you should do? You should give our customer support number. We have a team of experts standing by and ready to help.
I would do that. It’s been great. Anything else you’d like to cover before we wrap this up?
I’m appreciative of your time. I appreciate you having us on the show. The fact that you’re trying to help consumers in a multitude of different ways, manage their either existing wealth or build wealth and things, you’re doing a great service. If they have tax problems, we can help them as well.
How about you, D?
Thank you for having us on the show. We’ve got to come back and do this again.
I’m looking forward to going to Atlanta, spend some time with you guys and check out that studio you guys are building out.
We don’t know yet but we’re in the process of working out a potential radio show in one of the major radio stations here. We’ll broadcast live. We’ll have you on because you know a lot of stuff.
I’d love to do that. I was telling John that I’m purposely trying not to travel and the more I try not to, the more I do it. I’ve got three tripsone to Chicago, one to Miami and then one to Vegas. The more I try not to travel, it seems like the more I’m forced to travel. We’re going to need a bigger jet.
There you go.
I should be rolling with Ed Mylett in his big, old thing. He released a video, it was three days in the life of Ed Mylett and it was back-to-back cities. He’s got a shower on his jet. He’s got a bed. He’s got a chef on there. I was like, “This makes sense.” You can go and fly from city to city and take your showers. Your crew flies all night and you’re sleeping. It’s tax-deductible.
As long as he’s writing it down on a receipt.
I appreciate you reading this episode and watching it on YouTube. If you know someone that has a tax problem or maybe you have a tax problem and you want to resolve it, call my good friends John and Deaphalis. Go to RondiLambeth.com/Alliance, there’s information there about them. To get a free consultation to talk to one of their professionally trained experts on this tax resolution and what they can do to help you, fill out that form at RondiLambeth.com/Alliance. John and Deaphalis, thanks for being on the show. I appreciate you.
I will see you at BA.
Let’s do it.
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