PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Tax debt can overwhelm mothers who find themselves suddenly alone, out of work and in trouble with the IRS. A new nonprofit in Pasadena was born out of such a crisis.
Dru Mouser was a working actress until the writers strike paralyzed the industry. Then, the single mom learned that her business manager had failed to properly file her tax returns, did not inform her of an audit and did not show up at the audit. She was on the hook for $100,000.
"Fear panic, anxiety. You live under a low grade level of anxiety for a long time when things like that happen. It's intense," said Mouser.
Pasadena CPA David Ellis negotiated a settlement for Mouser, one of many handled pro bono by his firm. With his wife, professional fundraiser Susan Silverman, the couple created a nonprofit to fill a void.
The goal of the Women's Resolution Center is to provide free, competent, professional tax representation for women in Los Angeles County in need of a fresh start.
"If you are a single mom struggling with two or three kids, the last thing you are going to pay is your taxes, and then it catches up to you," said Silverman.
Ellis said negotiating with the IRS can be challenging, even for a professional. But procrastinating only makes matters worse. Your bank account can be frozen, your assets seized and your paycheck garnished.
"The general rule is, if you can get at it, the IRS can get at it as well," said Ellis.
The Women's Resolution Center is raising funds so that more women can be helped. Their goal is to assist 20 to 40 women in the coming year.
Ellis offers this advice for free.
Ellis said if you get a notice from the IRS, respond to it. And if you have unfiled tax returns for past years, file them. The IRS officers won't open negotiations unless you have filled the forms that tell the federal government what your earnings were.
Mouser is now over the hump, and relieved.
"I can breathe," Mouser said. "It has made a tremendous financial and emotional impact on my life."