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      Bruning Sends Warning to Nebraskans About Tax Relief Scams

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      Attorney General John Bruning is warning Nebraskans to be wary of tax relief scams that hit especially hard during tax season.

      Bruning says to looks out for companies that are charging upfront fees in exchange for tax debt relief or elimination.

      He said, "In some cases, these companies don't even file the proper paperworkwith the IRS. If they do, most taxpayers will not qualify for the promised debtreductions. In the end, consumers who contract with these scammers are leftwith little to show for the fees they paid and have less financial resourcesthan they started with."

      Bruning warns that regardless of what tax-relief is promised, total tax-debt forgiveness rarely occurs. He says the IRS may offer reductions for penalties due to hardship conditions, but he warns that is a rare situation.

      Bruning advises individuals in need of tax relief to work directly with the IRS to negotiate a payment plan to avoid being scammed by an illegitimate tax relief company.

      According to the IRS, there arelegitimate options offered for those with unpaid tax debt:

      • An InstallmentAgreement is generallyavailable to people who can't pay their tax debt in full at one time. Theprogram allows people to make smaller monthly payments until the entire debt issatisfied.
      • An Offerin Compromiselets taxpayers permanently settle their tax debt for less than the amount theyowe. The OIC is an important tool to help taxpayers in limited circumstances.Taxpayers should note, however, eligibility is only considered after all otherpayment options have been exhausted and ability to pay has been reviewed by theIRS.

      Consumers may also contact theTaxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS. TheAdvocate Service provides free guidance to people experiencing financialdifficulties or those who need help resolving a problem with the IRS. The IRSTaxpayer Advocate Service can be reached at (877) 777-4778 or irs.gov/advocate.

      For moreinformation on the federal tax collection process and payment options, visit irs.gov. For more information on consumer-relatedscams, contact the Attorney General's Office Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-6432or visit ago.ne.gov.

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