Skip to main content
Suzanne Alexandra Ascher

Suzanne Ascher’s Answers

17 total


  • How do I obtain a transcript of a Federal tax lien to determine when it expires?

    A federal tax lien was placed on me in June of 2001.

    Suzanne’s Answer

    As to the reference by the first attorney concerning extension of the statute of limitaitons on collections, be aware that having either an offer in compromise (OIC) application with the IRS or full collection due process (CDP) hearing (as opposed to an equivalent hearing) at IRS Appeals with a settlement officer also extends the statute of limitations on collection.

    While you, or a tax attorney, or other IRS form 2848 representative acting on your behalf, contacts the IRS, also ask for an "Account Transcript" covering the tax years for which the tax lien was filed in addition to the advice given above.

    Good luck.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • I owe back taxes to the state of california, if i reside and work in arizona can the state of california come after my paycheck

    I am 40% disabled, Filed bankruptcy and discharged Aug 2011 and i am currently unemployed, and going through a 3 year divorce

    Suzanne’s Answer

    Assuming your California tax debt has not been discharged in bankruptcy, please consult a tax attorney to determine how to address this outstanding debt, i.e., payment plan, if an offer in compromise,, etc., is possible.

    The worst thing to do is to ignore outstanding tax debt if you owe it. Interest and penalties will continue to grow on top of any outstanding tax. Further, collection action through wage garnishment is always a possibility.

    All best,

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • Federal income tax laws

    my daughter lives with her mother, I pay child support, her mother doesn't work but lives with her boyfriend that has worked. We are not married and have never been married, there is no custody agreement between us; she is the custodial parent. Do...

    Suzanne’s Answer

    On the IRS website, there is a publication you may want to refer to: IRS Publication 501 "Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information (for Use in Preparing 2010 Returns)" which addresses dependent exemptions in detail.

    The link is: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

    In any case, please consult a licensed tax professional on this issue.

    Thank you.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • Should I liquidate my IRA and pay off unsecured debt before making an Offer in Compliance to the IRS for tax due?

    I did short sales this year and will have a much larger tax bill I cannot pay next year from the forgiven debt. Should I liquidate my IRA to pay off my remaining unsecured debt this year then make an OIC next year? I have never been late in mortga...

    Suzanne’s Answer

    In addition to the above considerations and the possibility of bankruptcy, please consider the following:

    If you were to pursue an OIC - which is an offer in compromise - with the IRS for any outstanding federal income tax liabilties, the act itself of liquidating an IRA to pay off unsecured debt instead of paying your federal income tax liabilities may be held against you. That is, the IRS may construe the IRA liquidation as the dissipation of an asset by you.

    When an asset is viewed by the IRS as having been dissipated by a taxpayer seeking an offer in compromise, then you as the taxpayer are effectively treated by the IRS as still owning the asset in the evaluation of your finances. In such a situation, you are construed as having more equity on the balance sheet and more of an ability to repay the IRS debt. If this happens, it will worsen your chance at success for an offer in compromise (or at least result in an increase of the offer in compromise amount) based on doubt at to collectibility and/or ETA (effective tax administration) grounds. This, of course, assumes you meet the other criteria for a successful federal offer in compromise. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your situation, you may or may not otherwise qualify for an offer in compromise for the federal income tax liabilities. Whether to submit an offer in compromise application is a serious decision and needs to be analyzed on various levels before pursuing that course of action.

    From your description, I assume you are a domiciliary and full time resident of Florida - a state which has no state income tax; therefore, if that is the case, you do not have to worry about Florida income tax since it doesn't exist.

    Also note that if you are seriously considering submitting at some point a federal offer in compromise, please understand that the IRS will not entertain an offer in compromise while there is an open bankruptcy case. An offer in compromise to handle federal income tax problems should be done either before or after bankruptcy -- but not during.

    Please speak to both a bankruptcy attorney and a tax attorney who is experienced with IRS problems, including offer in compromise and other collection alternatives.

    All best,

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • I own 10% of my families estate If I want to can I give my 10% to my mother by just writing it out on a regular paper .

    My families estate is about to be probated. My mother will get 50% and 5 siblings including me get the pther 50%. Can I write a living will (Wish) giving my mother the 10 % and get it notarized without a lawyer?

    Suzanne’s Answer

    You should definitely hire your own separate lawyer to advise you.

    You asked if you could prepare something in writing ("living will" "wish") and "get it notarized without a lawyer".

    Please do not try to handle your own legal matters without your own attorney.

    An attorney familiar with estate, probate, and taxes can help you get what you need and advise you on what is best for you. In the short term, it may cost you some legal fees, however, without the proper guidance and advice of an attorney now on both carrying out your wishes and tax concerns that you should consider, you may have unforeseen negative consequences in the future -- and then at that future time, it may be too late to fix the problem or may be become more expensive to resolve the problem if it isn't too late to fix it.

    Good luck.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • My Father left some land that is in his name only to my brother,What happens to it when he dies?It is in Illinois.

    This is stated in his will.

    Suzanne’s Answer

    I agree with the attorney above.

    In addition, for your father's last will and testament to be effective, it should have been prepared and executed in accordance with the laws of the state of Illinois while your father is competent. (I assume that, besides the land, your father resides in Illinois also and therefore the will was executed there also. Your description silent as to that fact.)

    However, if the will itself or its execution has defects, or if there was a problem such as (but not limited to) your father getting this will done was undue duress, then the will's validity and/or due execution can be subject to challenge when or if it is brought to the appropriate court for probate in the future upon his passing.

    You may want to consult with an attorney located in Illinois concerning the state specific laws.

    All best,

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • How is a pension different from retirement benefits?Who will receive my benefits when I die?

    I am single with grown children.

    Suzanne’s Answer

    I agree with the attorney above. Furthermore, how your pension fund will be distributed upon your future passing depends on many factors and how the arrangements you made, if any.

    There are questions that need to be asked, some of which are as follows:

    1) Does the pension provide for death benefits to your beneficiaries, or does the pension payment obligation terminate upon your passing?

    2) Assuming that the pension does have death benefits for your beneficiaries, did your you inform the pension fund in writing on the appropriate forms names and contact information of the beneficiaries and, if so, what percentages to allocate the funds to the beneficiaries?

    3) Assuming that the pension does have death benefits for your beneficiaries, did you designate that it is your estate which will be the beneficiary in which case a last will and testament can direct how these funds are to be distributed to beneficiaries. In the absence of a last will and testament, the laws of intestate descent and distribution (intestacy) of the State of Illinois will determine who are the beneficiaries of the assets of the estate (i.e. the assets for which you did not have a testimentary substitute such as payable on death, etc.)?

    4) Did you ever inform the pension fund of your intentions at death?

    If you haven't already, you should consider consulting with an estate planning attorney licensed and experienced in Illinois who is familiar with the specific laws of the state. An elder law attorney may also need to be consulted to see whether planning is necessary if you go to a nursing home and to determine any possible impact of this on who is entitled to the pension payments both while you are alive and after death.

    Also, it may be a good idea to contact the people who manage the pension fund to find out exactly what the situation is.

    Good luck and please consult an attorney.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • My Father has a pension fund,Who will that go to when he passes?

    Father is single and children are all grown.Pension is with Central State.He lives in Illinois

    Suzanne’s Answer

    How your father's pension fund will be distributed upon his future passing depends on many factors and how the arrangements your father made, if any.

    There are questions that need to be asked, some of which are as follows:

    1) Does the pension your father has with Central State provide for death benefits to your father's beneficiaries, or does the pension payment obligation terminate upon your father's passing?

    2) Assuming that the pension does have death benefits for your father's beneficiaries, did your father inform the Central State Pension fund in writing on the appropriate forms names and contact information of the beneficiaries and, if so, what percentages to allocate the funds to the beneficiaries?

    3) Assuming that the pension does have death benefits for your father's beneficiaries, did your father instead designate that it is his estate which will be the beneficiary in which case a last will and testament can direct how these funds are to be distributed to beneficiaries. In the absence of a last will and testament, the laws of intestate descent and distribution (intestacy) of the State of Illinois will determine who are the beneficiaries of the assets of the estate (i.e. the assets for which your father did not have a testimentary substitute such as payable on death, etc.)?

    4) Did you father ever inform the Central State Pension fund of his intentions at death?

    Please consider speaking to your father on this issue and ask him what his intentions are and what he wants. Hopefully, your father is well and is able to answer these questions. Sometimes, it is difficult for people to discuss these issues as they concern mortality and is a sad and depressing subject. However, it is important for people to prepare in advance for themselves and their family.

    Further, your father, if he hasn't already, should consider consulting with an estate planning attorney licensed and experienced in Illinois who is familiar with the specific laws of the state. An elder law attorney may also need to be consulted to see whether planning is necessary if your father goes to a nursing home and to determine any possible impact of this on who is entitled to the pension payments both while your father is alive and after death.

    Also, it may be a good idea to contact the people who manage the Central State Pension fund to find out exactly what the situation is.

    Good luck and please consult an attorney.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • How much will it cost to have a lawyer take a look at my non-compete?

    I am considering taking up a new job that comes with a non-compete. I am planning to have a lawyer take a look at it. Any ideas as to approximately how much this may cost? This is in NYC.

    Suzanne’s Answer

    In trying to obtain a sense of how much this non-compete issue may cost you, you should consider speaking to a few attorneys. There are various ways of trying to find an attorney who is suitable for you, including -- but are not limited to:

    (a) calling the local bar association for names and contact information of experienced attorneys in good standing with the bar association who provide these services

    [NOTE: being that you mention that this is in New York City, there are so many local bar associations you can call who can give you the contact information of lawyers in this area. If you are in Manhattan, it's possible you may get some help from the City Bar on West 44th Street, the New York County Lawyer's Association (NYCLA) on Vesey Street, or the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). There are also many other bar associations in New York City and State -- ranging from the New York State Women's Bar Association (WBASNY) and their local chapters to the bar associations of each county, i.e., Richmond County Bar Association (RCBA) in Staten Island, New York (note: I'm in Staten Island, New York so I must mention the RCBA) and other groups of attorneys not mentioned above. Check them out. They are a great resource.];

    (b) looking at the local printed advertisements;

    (c) searching the internet; and/or

    (d) utilizing the word of mouth and asking people you know and trust if they know a good attorney who they know and can recommend from their own personal experience on this kind of matter.

    Doing the above can help you decide which attorney is good for you -- not only with respect to the amount of legal fees to be charged -- but also concerning the quality of the attorney's experience and reputation.

    After you obtain the names of at least a few attorneys who are experienced in this area, speak to them and hopefully this will help get you to the right lawyer.

    Good luck.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question 
  • How much does it cost to create a special needs trust?

    My son is Autistic and I want to make sure he gets his inheritence despite him getting benefits from state waivers

    Suzanne’s Answer

    The answers given to you by the two attorneys above is absolutely correct. There are various ways of trying to find an attorney who is suitable for you, including -- but are not limited to -- these examples:

    (a) calling the local bar association for names and contact information of experienced attorneys in good standing with the bar association who provide these services;

    (b) looking at the local printed advertisements;

    (c) searching the internet; and

    (d) utilizing the word of mouth and asking people you know (and trust) if they know a good attorney who they know and recommend.

    You had mentioned in your question's description that your son is Autistic. Having said that, does he belong to any program which is designed to help him with his needs and, if so, do you know the parents of other Autistic children? Maybe those parents are faced with the same or similar dilemma that you find yourself in now and have already done a special needs trust or other appropriate planning with a reputable attorney that they can recommend to you. If you know of other parents with Autistic children and are comfortable in speaking to them on this subject, you may want to ask them for the names and contact information of good attorneys who they can recommend from their own personal experience on this kind of matter. This can help you decide which attorney is good for you -- not only with respect to the amount of legal fees to be charged -- but also concerning the quality of the attorney's experience and reputation.

    After you obtain the names of at least a few attorneys who are experienced in this area, speak to them and hopefully this will help get you to the right lawyer.

    Also, if you hire an attorney, explore all possibilities with him or her -- whether it be a special needs trust or other legal way to accomplish what it is you desire. Together, you and your future attorney can determine the best course of action to take to protect your son.

    Good luck.

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    See question