Rivers do not drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruit, the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature.  We are all born to help each other.  No matter how difficult it is, life is good when you are happy, but much better when others are happy because of you.
-Pope Francis

Take The

Next Step

We are a low income tax practice.

We do tax returns for free for people who qualify.

WHAT WE DO

Tax returns are only part of what we do. At Next Step we help with basic accounting and structure to get your personal or business finances to the next step. We can also help if you have multiple years of tax returns to catch up on.

WANT TO LEND YOUR SUPPORT?

OUR SERVICES

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Accounting

In almost all of these cases, a free tax clinic or a free online tax site is not suitable.  Before the tax returns can be prepared, quite a bit, in many cases several years of accounting and bookkeeping is required to get them out of the hole in which they have found themselves.  And getting the data necessary to do this is not easy and requires significant interaction with the taxpayer.  Additionally, the accountant working on this requires experience and knowledge about the tax laws and where information can be obtained to help retrieve this data.  For example, a person who has been on the road as a long-haul truck driver or traveling salesman could use the federally approved per diem rates for their travel expenses, instead of trying to resurrect invoices and receipts.  The rates are different for each city and change annually.  And the Next Step accountant knows these items and cares enough to ensure that the taxpayer gets a fair shake on what they really owe.  That’s because, when the IRS doesn’t receive a tax return but does receive input from businesses on the income that was paid to the individual, the worst case is always what they calculate as the taxes that are owed.  Quite often, the amount the IRS says is owed can be significantly reduced by filing those old tax returns.  But this takes time and money.

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Tax Preparation

Once the accounting is done, the filing of the tax return is relatively easy.  However, it takes a seasoned veteran of the tax laws to do it.  The tax laws change regularly and a 3 or 5-year-old return is usually a totally different set of tax laws than the current one.  Some think that the statute of limitations will keep the IRS or the State from going back more than a set number of years.  However, the law says the statute of limitations starts counting from when the tax return is filed.  If it hasn’t been filed, it is an open opportunity for the government to go back a long way to ask for what appears to be rightful tax money.  We have filed returns for some folks going back more than 15 years if necessary.  Talk about changing tax law!  Again, seasoned veteran tax preparers with that much experience are expensive.

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Education

Education for this future taxpayer starts at the very beginning of the process when they see what information we are going to require in order to solve their problem.  And it continues to be ongoing.  Most of these people are in sole proprietor businesses and should probably understand some of the legal exposures they may have as well as the tax consequences of this type of business structure.  From time to time we will hold classes to educate people on budgeting, basic bookkeeping, and business structure.  These classes are almost always held on a one-on-one basis.

Stories of Those We’ve Helped

Single Mom marries into some large tax issues

This lady moved to the US while pregnant with her youngest child and was able to establish citizenship shortly after.  She found the love of her life and soon they married.  When she started to receive letters from the IRS collecting large sums of money from her husband she reached out to Next Step for help.  Tax returns now filed, and collection amounts greatly reduced she was able to enter a payment arrangement with the IRS.

Visa holder gets current with tax agencies

This gentleman moved here not knowing the income tax laws and found himself several years behind in filings and the IRS asking for tens of thousands of dollars he did not have.  Next Step was able to teach him basic bookkeeping to track his income and expenses during the year and help him get and remain current with the IRS and NC Department of Revenue.

Spanish speaking entrepreneurs get back on track

First generation immigrant spouses started a small family restaurant and found themselves in trouble with the IRS and NC Department of Revenue.  After seeking help with some Spanish speaking CPAs and accountants they found their troubles never got resolved.  They contacted Next Step and within a year were able to file over 3 dozen delinquent tax returns and set up payment plans with each agency.

Illegal alien turned citizen entrepreneur

This gentleman overstayed his visa because he found his wife and started his family.  He established small businesses in several different fields and finally found success with furniture sales and has more than a dozen employees and 3 store fronts.  Next Step was there from the beginning to help him file tax returns and pay taxes with his individual taxpayer identification number as well as when he finally finished his citizenship test and was given his social security number.

Loss of a wife finds large debts

A widower walked in to meet Next Step with almost 2 decades of unfiled tax returns owing almost $200,000 and walked away filed up-to-date and owning less than $50,000.  This gentleman’s wife had always handled all things finance and taxes for the 40+ years they were married.  She slowly developed dementia and when he would ask about filing taxes, she would respond that they were finished and paid.  When the wife passed away the widower filed their final return as a married couple.  Shortly after that return was processed, he was bombarded with collection letters from the IRS and NC Department of Revenue.  Next Step was able to work with him to get all his previous income information and file dozens of missing tax returns.  After the filings were processed and refunds were put against balances due, Next Step helped him establish a payment plan with the tax agencies and move forward with his life.

The shadow of student loans finally gone

People often get in trouble with their student loans.  This middle-aged construction worker had taken out a student loan 30 years earlier and had failed to pay when he was supposed to.  He finally got a regular income, settled into a routine, and filed his taxes on time every year.  However, his student loan continued to take all his income tax refunds and garnished his wages and generally made his life miserable.  Next Step finally got involved and found that he had already paid $40,000 on a $3,000 loan, including interest and penalties.  Next Step was able to help him negotiate a final settlement with the Student Loan company, and he no longer hounded by this nagging debt.

Low-income entrepreneurs flourish with a daycare startup

Daycare center located in Wilmington that started with a mom and daughter and offers from friends to have them look after their kids in the summer.  Retired mom and childcare focused daughter started with the living room and kitchen then quickly expanded to the rest of the house and a search for a building of their own.  They currently have 4 employees and spots for 20 children daily and are still searching for the right building.  Without Next Step the costs of corporate creation, payroll and tax filings, and bookkeeping needs would have prevented their beginnings let alone their expansion.

Recovering addict rolls into entrepreneurship

After spending several years “off the grid” this talented and intelligent entrepreneur finally kicked his drug habit, found the love of his life, and decided to get right with his life.  Fearing mountains of tax debt, he contacted Next Step was able to work with the IRS to download years of his income statements, file dozens of tax returns, and found that he didn’t owe as much money as he thought.  Today he and his wife and 2 children own their own home and are living the dream.

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