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Why Aren’t You Giving Your Clients Hope?
The Roz Report
Authorized member 2020
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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!
How to Let Go of Your Fears and Watch the Magic Happen
Many tax professionals who want to add IRS representation to their practices are extremely nervous about doing it. They’re worried that they’ll either mess up a case, fail to keep up with the work, or make a mistake and embarrass themselves in front of a client. Maybe you’ve felt this way before. But if you let fear continue to guide you, you’ll likely miss out on a lot of amazing opportunities. This past summer, Roslyn and I faced our fears as we put on our very first virtual Tax Resolution Success Summit. This was our fifth time putting on our Success Summit. Every year we have it at a different destination, and this year we booked the Hyatt hotel in New Orleans. Planning an event with over 200 people takes a lot of time to do, so usually Roslyn starts planning a year before. Everything was going well until the pandemic hit in February. When COVID-19 started spreading, and the country started shutting down, we immediately started making plans to adapt. Roslyn and I were in constant communication with the hotel to make sure we could seat guests safely 6 feet apart, etc. As things continued to get worse, we looked into doing a hybrid model with a mix of having the event in-person and virtual. By June, Roslyn and I looked at each other and said, “There’s no way we can do this.” Even though 180 people had already purchased tickets, we didn’t want to risk attendees or our team getting sick. We had two options: Go virtual or cancel the event until the following year. We saw other entrepreneurs we know pull off hosting a virtual event successfully, so we decided to try to look into this option. I’m not going to lie — I was uncomfortable about doing a three-day virtual event. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself trying to use unfamiliar technology, and I worried people would get bored watching and drop out.
successful virtual events and asked what they did and who they hired. And then we narrowed our list down to several people and interviewed them to figure out who would be the best match for helping us plan our event. We hired Sage Event Management for many reasons, but mainly because we liked their unique approach to putting on a virtual event. Sage went all-out by building out a studio at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. They also came up with brilliant ways of getting attendees to show up and keep them engaged. When the big day arrived, I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt on stage surrounded by big-screen monitors. There were 500 people watching me from 10 screens, and even more incredible, I could see everyone. We were able to talk and interact, and I even brought people on stage “with”me for live Q&As by sharing their screens. The three days flew by without a hitch. “The Tax Resolution Success Summit Virtual 2020 was an incredible experience that I would have missed out on if I’d let my fear of pivoting to a virtual event hold me back.”
To make sure that wouldn’t happen, we did several things. We talked to other entrepreneurs who had already put on
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SKY’S THE LIMIT BY ROSLYN ROZBRUCH (FOOD FOR THOUGHT)
If you have an idea on your mind of something you want to have or accomplish in your life, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Recently, I was scrolling on Facebook and saw a post from a friend in front of a sports car declaring this was going to be her next car. She received a lot comments from people cheering her on, and then there was this one negative comment, “Oh, you should get this other sports car instead. The cost of maintenance is a lot.” I think all the positive comments drowned out Mr. Doubtful’s one, and even though my Facebook friend responded to him, luckily, she didn’t try to prove her car choice. But, more important than the car my friend wanted to own is my point of not letting anyone get into your head and tell you that you can’t realize your dream! I see that happen all the time. Someone shares “the thing” they want in their life, whatever it is, and someone else expresses doubt. “Oh, you can’t achieve that because of this, that, or the other thing.” I hate that! The first way I combat negative feedback is that I don’t share my hopes, dreams, and wishes with just anyone. I share my goals with people I know are really wishing the best for me. I don’t waste my energy trying to convince anyone of why I’m doing what I’m doing. There have been so many times in Michael’s and my life that we’ve achieved the thing that someone else said wasn’t possible. In 1998, when Michael wanted to pursue his dream of helping people with IRS problems, it wasn’t even an industry yet. Michael shares the story all the time of how he started his tax resolution practice. What you might not know was that when he told people what he was going to do, almost everyone told him he was crazy and that it was a bad idea. “How are you going to collect fees when they can’t pay the IRS?” and blah, blah, blah. So, I told Michael, “Quit telling people what you’re going to do. I believe in you. Follow your dreams.” Even in my own life I’ve experienced this. When I was in my late 30s, I was working in the editorial department of a magazine as an intern. The chances of them hiring me on as an editor over a college graduate with a degree in journalism was slim, but it wasn’t impossible. My thought process is, “if there’s one opening, it’s going to be someone, so why not me?” By the way, I beat out all the college graduates and was hired as the assistant editor.
Roslyn holding her bracelet
don’t have to visualize the entire journey to reaching your goal. You only have to believe it can happen for you. (And yes, you also have to do the work; that goes without saying.) I have many Roz-ism sayings, and one of them I tell Michael all the time is, “It’s the people we haven’t met and the ideas we haven’t thought of yet that will take us to where we want to go.” In our six-year-plus journey at Roz Strategies, there’s no way I could have visualized everything that’s happened along the way, because I’ve met people that have been mentors that have shared ways of achieving our goals I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, and also I’ve learned new things that I didn’t know before. If you put a ceiling over your head and think that’s as high as you can go, it’s going to be a lot harder to break through it than if the sky is your ceiling, which means your possibilities are endless.
Here’s to you and your dreams come true. Share them with those who wish you success and believe in you. You can always share them with me because I will cheer you on! For my Facebook friend, I can’t wait to see Y.B. post a picture with her driving her new sports car. –Roslyn Rozbruch
Anything is possible in life. You just have to believe there’s a chance for it to be possible. When you have a goal, you
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PRACTICE CORNER FROM THE
What Is a Kovel Agreement, and Why Should I Care About It?
While 99% of tax resolution cases are considered civil cases and are settled administratively, there will come a time when you are meeting with a prospective client and reviewing their most recent IRS notices and you stumble upon a letter addressed to the taxpayer from the Department of Justice regarding possible tax fraud or an audit. Or you realize that the prospective client has foreign bank accounts in his name and intentionally, or even unintentionally, never disclosed these on his tax returns. Anything you say at this point can be used against you in a criminal proceeding, as this case may be considered a criminal tax matter and you don’t have “privileged” communications like an attorney would. The accountant- client privilege under IRC Sec. 7525 is weak and will not cover you here. So, you might be wondering, what do you do if you’re in this situation? I’ve had dozens of these exact scenarios over the years. These types of cases are large-fee ones, and I did not want to see a potential client walk out the door, especially if I knew I could help them.
A Kovel Letter or Agreement can be the answer, as it places you under the umbrella of the attorney-client privilege. It’s an engagement letter between the lawyer, the accountant, and the client. And this why it’s important for you to establish a relationship with a criminal tax defense lawyer. Essentially, you are retained by the attorney to provide tax and accounting services, aka tax resolution services, to your client, thus extending the attorney-client privilege to you. Generally, the client will retain a lawyer. When I had my tax resolution practice, we used Bob McKenzie of Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr, LLP for all our Kovel cases. And, in turn, the lawyer retains you so you can work the case. The lawyer was always on standby in case we needed him. You should also have an engagement letter between you and the client. My point is this: Don’t be scared off and reject or refer the case out when you know you can help. Knowing how and when to use a Kovel Agreement will make you a better technician and increase your bottom line!
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Ruthie Ponce, Project Coordinator Employee Spotlight:
A new job is a good thing: It means a fresh start, a new routine, and endless possibilities. A new job, when you get to “come home,” is a great thing because you get all the above and the added assurance that you’re right where you belong! Ruthie Ponce came“home” when she joined the Roz Strategies team this past January and was reunited with her former boss, Michael, and colleagues Becky and John. Ruthie previously worked for six and a half years as an administrative assistant in Michael’s tax resolution practice, where she learned the ins and outs of helping clients who have tax problems. “I assisted the attorneys, andmost importantly, I helped complete 433-A’s,” Ruthie explains. “I learned a lot from working with the attorneys. One of the attorneys I worked for was Parham Khorsandi, who nowworks directly with Michael, teaching classes to our members. Parham taught me how to legally gather information and settle state cases.”
After Michael left his company and launched Roz Strategies, Ruthie shares that her position there was no longer a good fit for her, and she took a job at UCLA. She worked at UCLA for a few years when John, our sales and client care executive here at Roz Strategies, recommended Ruthie for the position of project coordinator. It was easy for Ruthie to decide to accept the job. “Working for Michael at his tax resolution firmwas a very good experience,”she recalls. “He was always trying to give us the best education and encouraging us to do our best. So, when this opportunity came up and John reached out tome, I figured I’m coming back home.” As it turns out, Ruthie works most closely with Roslyn, the one member of the Roz teamwith whom Ruthie had not worked before. “I’m Roslyn’s right hand, and I help Michael as well,”she says. “I make sure the members receive their member packages eachmonth, newsletters, and reminders of when the Q&A calls and webinars are scheduled. I also help Roslyn plan events, get products together, and answer phones. Everybody here is a team. Everybody is responsible for certain things, but we’re all very versatile, and we all help each other.” Ruthie started in January, pre-COVID-19, so some things changed soon after she started working. Ruthie was working for the first time on planning a big in- personTax Resolution Success Summit event with over 200 people, and then COVID-19 hit. “We went fromplanning it in-person to having to switch it overnight to virtual,”she says. She shares that it was stressful to plan an event, but she also had a lot of fun working on it. “It’s just incredible to see it on the back end. It was an amazing experience.”
If Ruthie sounds positive and upbeat, it’s because she is. “I just want this company to be successful because when this company’s successful, we’re all successful,” she explains. “What motivates me the most is my son; he’s the one who pushes me through to get up every morning and work hard for him.” Ruthie’s son, Julian, is 10 years old and plays club soccer. That makes Ruthie a Soccer mom — with a capital S! “My life literally revolves around soccer,” she says. “He plays forward, so he’s the one who scores. I enjoy it, and it’s something he loves.” Ruthie’s household also includes a 1-year-old puppy named Spot, a poodle-Shih Tzu mix who goes with them everywhere. And of course, there’s the Roz Strategies family. “It feels like home, so it doesn’t feel like a job,” Ruthie says. “We all support each other, it’s more like a family than a workplace.”
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A BIG Shout Out to all of you who attended our 5th Annual Tax Resolution Success Summit Virtual 2020 this past August! This was our first time ever hosting a 360-degree interactive online event, and over 500 people attended! Other wins that made the event successful was doing it “Zoom- Zilla” style where Michael and the speakers could see at all the attendees at the same
time and interact and bring them“on stage.” Thank you to all who attended!
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S H O U T
Congratulations to Niki Nelson for resolving your first tax resolution case where your client owed $52,849, and you received an OIC acceptance letter and settled the case for just $2,980! That’s a 94% savings to the client! Way to go, Randy Watkins for resolving your client’s IRS problem where he owed $885,563 and the OIC was accepted for $8,472! WOW! Kudos to Carlos Guaman for graduating your MBA program at Cal State Fullerton and receiving your diploma! High fives to Israel Aikulola, Laurence Rubens, Joe Orabona, Charnette Rowley, Edwina Glass, Doniel Lovely, Norman Wierer, and Daniel Ogbonna for mailing out your referral letters. Keep up the good work. Good job on sending out your newsletters, Nancy Benet. Congratulations to Annamaria and Guy Finocchiaro on the birth of their third son! And also because Annamaria showed up at the Virtual Succuss Summit and won the Leaderboard grand prize, which was a MacBook Air video and studio lighting equipment , for the most participation. She did this just a week after the birth of her son. Wow, you’re truly a supermom!
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The Tax Resolution Success Summit Virtual 2020 was an incredible experience that I would have missed out on if I’d let my fear of pivoting to a virtual event hold me back. I had even more fun doing the event virtually than I have before in person. We’ve also received a lot of positive feedback from the people who attended. And, because we went virtual, we were able to more than double our attendance to 500 guests and impact far more people than in past years. I always say that in order to succeed in business, you need to continually pivot and be open to trying new things. The risk we took with going virtual paid off. Ironically, it almost seems like it was meant to be, because two hurricanes came ashore near New Orleans during the time our event was scheduled, so even if COVID-19 had never happened, our in-person event would have been a wash anyway (pun intended). Of course, we wouldn’t have had the turnout we did without the expertise of Sage Event Management, which just goes to show how important it is to have the right people behind you to guide you through uncharted territory. Here at Roz Strategies, my team and I are experts who can help guide you through expanding your tax resolution practice seamlessly, and we’ll always go the extra mile. We can help you push through your fears to the success on the other side. During this pandemic, tax professionals are falling into two camps: those who are paralyzed by fear and throwing in the towel, and those who are using this situation as an opportunity to change with the times and grow their businesses. Which group would you rather be a part of?
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O U T S !
Annamaria and Guy Finocchiaro and sons
Do you have a story or picture to share with us on something you’ve implemented, a client you’ve helped with a tax problem, or anything else you’d like to share? If you do, email it to us at: Info@RozStrategies.com and we will give a Shout Out to you!
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11271 Ventura Blvd. #612 Studio City, CA 91604 Inside This Issue pg 1 ∙
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!
Sky’s the Limit
pg 2 ∙ pg 3 ∙ pg 4 ∙ pg 5 ∙
What Is a Kovel Agreement?
Tax Resolution Success Summit Pictures
pg 6 ∙ pg 8 ∙
Celebrity Terror Tale of the Month
PPP Terror Tale of the Month A Former NFL Player Swindles Millions From the Paycheck Protection Program
It was a bad day for New York Jets receiver Josh Bellamy when he got cut from the team this past September, and even a worse day when he was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud after allegedly swindling the government out of more than $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) COVID-19 relief money. According to CBS News, Bellamy’s payout was part of a larger scheme. He and 10 co-conspirators applied for more than 90 PPP loans and were granted a whopping $17.4 million. This money was meant for small businesses that fell on hard times during the pandemic, but Bellamy used the
$1.2 million chunk he scored for his company Drip Entertainment LLC to go on a shopping spree. Bellamy reportedly splurged on over $104,000 of jewelry and goodies from Gucci and Dior. He also dropped more than $62,000 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — a music- themed luxury hotel in Hollywood — and withdrew an additional $302,000 in fun money. To secure the loans, Bellamy and his friends relied on falsified bank statements and payroll tax forms and “recycled” the same paperwork and applications for multiple companies. Fortunately, this misuse
of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act didn’t go unnoticed. The IRS, FBI, and Small Business Administration (SBA) teamed up to investigate and exposed the fraud ring. As of this writing, Bellamy’s fate is unclear, but odds are he won’t get off as easily as being cut from the Jets, and his next uniform might be an orange jumpsuit.
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