Ah, tax season: the oft-dreaded time when we’re all forced to assess a previous year’s worth of financial doings, pay back deficiencies and seek deductions. But this year’s tax season may become a bit more taxing for some as industry watchdogs are finding that the Internal Revenue Service is further targeting struggling taxpayers with aggressive tactics meant to retrieve all that is owed from already economy-ravaged Americans. As the Associated Press reported this month, “the Internal Revenue Service is tormenting struggling taxpayers in the midst of a slumping economy by increasing the number of liens the agency has filed against people who owe back taxes. The IRS filed nearly 1.1 million liens in the budget year that ended in September, a 14 percent jump over the previous year. Liens punish taxpayers and often hurt their ability to pay back taxes, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson said Wednesday in her annual report to Congress.” To make matters even more frustrating, a cost-benefit analysis of the IRS’s strategy reveals significant problems: when the IRS leans on struggling taxpayers by filing these types of liens against those with little to no money or assets, the agency often receives nothing in the revenue collection process; however, at the same time, by using liens in these collection efforts, the IRS can further damage the credit scores of many Americans already hampered by falling incomes and rising unemployment. "By filing a lien against a taxpayer with no money and no assets, the IRS often collects nothing, yet it inflicts long-term harm on the taxpayer by making it harder for him to get back on his feet when he does get a job," Olson, an independent watchdog within the IRS, told the Associated Press. And while the IRS does offer extensions and installment plans for dealing with certain past due tax payments, critics argue that in some cases liens are automatically being filed against at-risk taxpayers who have more significant debts. According to the AP, “Tax liens give the federal government a claim on property to help secure payment of back taxes. They are filed publicly for tax debts that are deemed uncollectable, alerting creditors and others that taxpayers owe back taxes. Olson criticized the IRS policy of automatically issuing liens in some cases. According to Olson's office, a lien is automatically filed if a delinquent tax debt exceeds $5,000, unless a collection employee gets a supervisor's approval not to file it.” This is troubling news for many of you already facing mounting debts, depleted savings creditor harassment and possibly even wage garnishment. The idea of one more hand—this time the IRS—reaching for the pockets of already-beleaguered borrowers represents another case of poor financial timing for all of us suffering in the lingering economic malaise. If you too are struggling with debts and predict this tax season will be no different, bankruptcy can help. While bankruptcy bound individuals are still responsible for paying new tax debt that arises after a bankruptcy filing, bankruptcy can possibly help you discharge some tax debt, and put you on affordable repayment plan for other any tax debt that is not dischargeable. If the tax authority has not yet filed a tax lien, it's it is essential that you contact an attorney NOW to plan for the inevitable tax implications (including liens) that are down the road. A bankruptcy will STOP the IRS from filing a tax lien and get you back on the path to financial freedom. So, remember, in these taxing times, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt for FREE debt consultation. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or make an appointment online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.