Smart Money Moves

expert advice to address your cash Issues

by Sakina P. Spruell, April 01, 2013


IRS 101

No one likes to deal with the IRS, especially if one needs to pay a hefty bill. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, and it can actually make matters worse because the IRS can impose stiff penalties for nonpayment, including interest fees, wage garnishment, home liens and even prosecution. 

Tax Attorney Alvin Brown, who practices in Virginia and New York, advises clearing up tax issues as soon as possible. “IRS levies will likely leave you with insufficient income for reasonable and basic living expenses,” he says. No need to stress. Here’s what you need to know to make peace with the IRS:

How to pay an IRS bill

The IRS will take just about any form of payment except cash. You can pay with a check, credit or debit card or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). If you pay with a credit card, you will be charged a

fee of up to 2.35 percent of your payment. There is a flat fee of $3.95 for paying with a debit card.

What to Do if You Can’t Pay Your Bill

Two popular options:

An installment agreement: If you owe less than $50,000, you can go to to apply for a pay-ment plan.

An offer in compromise (oic): If you have a true financial hardship and cannot pay the amount owed, you can offer a lesser amount. The acceptance is based on your assets, income and expenses.

How To Avoid Scams

“Don’t look for help; contact the IRS directly,” advises Tax Attorney Greg Cipriano, owner of Tax-On-Time in Rutherford, N.J. He says companies advertising tax help may charge an application fee. “Their scam is to get your application fee. Then they tell you there’s nothing they can do to help you. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it is.”

A Recipe For Wealth           

Wealth is not measured by how much you make, it’s measured by how much you keep and pass along to your family. One way to make a smart investment in uncertain times is to explore a whole life insurance policy.These financial instruments guarantee a death benefit, meaning when you die, your beneficiary will receive a lump-sum payment.

Try this wealth recipe for:  $1 million of generational wealth

you will need:  approx. $3,000 per year

approx. 40 years

an insurance agent

a beneficiary (someone you  want to give $1 million to)

Contact an insurance agent who is authorized to sell whole life policies and ask him or her for quotes for your age and health conditions. For a 30-year-old in good health, it will probably cost around $3,000 per year. Split the $3,000 into convenient monthly or quarterly payments. Pay this amount for approximately 40 years or until your policy reaches full maturity. You will have invested approximately $120,000 by the time you are done. When you expire, a representative from

Get That Raise, Already!

You’ve worked hard for several years, but you just can’t seem to move the needle on your paycheck. Try these moves to advance your pay scale to the next level:

calculate your worth. Compare salaries for your current position and the position you want. You can check sites such as and 

tout your skills at review time. Tell your boss three ways you’ve been an asset to the department and how you have contributed to the company’s bottom line during your performance assessment.

make it known you want a raise. Ask your supervisor what you need to do to advance, and ask what raise percentage you should expect at an advanced level.



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