The Tax Alternative Group is a specialty tax firm that provides tax preparation, taxpayer resolution services, and proactive tax planning. Principal owner, Patrick O’Hara, opened the office in Poughkeepsie in July 2013 after seeing a rise in local taxpayers having difficulties with the IRS and state tax authorities. O’Hara is an Enrolled Agent who specializes in resolving tax controversy and has 24 years of experience preparing tax returns. His business is a regional tax resolution service where taxpayers are provided with judgment-free resolution of their tax issues.
Tax resolution is a specialty that many tax practitioners do not offer because they do not have practice rights before the IRS, lack competency in tax practice and procedure, or find that it is not a profitable area of practice. Prior to 2011, most taxpayers in trouble sought out large national tax resolution firms, but consumer complaints led to their closure by the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. Tax resolution is also a very emotional process that often requires more compassion and empathy than traditional practitioners provide. As a local business, The Tax Alternative Group provides a closer relationship through the resolution process and more one on one contact than the larger national firms were able to provide.
Much of the tax resolution we do is related to “non-filers”, taxpayers who fail to file their returns for one reason or another – usually related to some traumatic life event. Our goal is to get taxpayers back in compliance with their tax obligations so they can get on with their lives. We work to prepare and file returns, reduce assessments and penalties, negotiate payment plans, and in some cases, make settlement offers for less than the full amount due.
Too many taxpayers leave their tax problems unresolved because they fear owing the tax, interest, and penalty. Unfortunately, many times taxpayers lose their due process rights because they do not act within the time allowed. The Internal Revenue Code provides many remedies and options for relief, provided taxpayers are aware and request it within the required time frame.
The majority of tax professionals are not licensed. The IRS reports that 703,788 tax preparers have registered for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) in 2014. Licensed preparers include 50,864 Enrolled Agents, 217,464 CPAs, and 31,656 Attorneys.
Enrolled Agents are licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, and CPAs have unlimited practice rights before the IRS. Enrolled Agents are licensed to practice in all 50 states, whereas Attorneys and CPAs are generally limited to practice in their licensing state.
O’Hara is a 1993 graduate of Marist College and was awarded the title of “Fellow” by the National Tax Practice Institute in 2012 for his dedication to taxpayer representation, and served as a Director of New York State Society of Enrolled Agents from 2013-2014. He published The Pocket Guide to Obamacare in January 2014 and is a contributing author in The Tax Detective: Solving the Mystery of Tax Planning for Small Business, published by the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches, and due to be released in mid March 2015 on Amazon.com.
The Tax Alternative Group, LLC is principally owned and operated by Patrick O’Hara, Enrolled Agent. Patrick brings over 25 years of experience to both tax and financial planning services. Patrick is a graduate of the prestigious National Tax Practice Institute (NTPI) and was awarded the title of “Fellow” in 2012. He was also awarded Membership in the American Academy of Tax Practice (AATP) in 2015. He currently specializes in Taxpayer Representation before the IRS and state tax authorities in audits, collections, and appeals, and provides Comprehensive Tax Planning for qualified taxpayers. Look for his business profile on Facebook, peer reviews on LinkedIn, or followers on Twitter.
Patrick served as a Director on the Board of the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents (NYSSEA) from 2012-2014. He is also the President and Founder of the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of NYSSEA. He also holds membership in the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), the New York-Connecticut Association of Tax Professionals (NY/CT ATP), Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce, and the Clinton Business Association.
Aside from advocating for his clients, Patrick has advocated for taxpayer rights before lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and the New York State Assembly and Senate in Albany, NY. In 2012, 2013, and 2015, Patrick represented the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) as one of 100 nationwide tax professionals invited to talk policy with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, speaking with New York Congressmen and Senators about the impacts of the overly complicated and rapidly changing tax policy, especially on those with the least ability to pay. His message to Congress focused on simplifying and stabilizing the tax code so taxpayers can take advantage of long-term tax planning, and the need to strengthen taxpayer rights. He also discussed how unscrupulous unlicensed preparers take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers and advocated for minimum competency testing for paid tax preparers.
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