Tips For Contacting the IRS For Tax Help – What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has pledged that IRS agents will have more flexibility to reach tax settlements with taxpayers who have fallen on hard times and owe back taxes, but it is important to remember that “Revenue ” is the IRS’s middle name.
With the IRS, making things “easy” means separating taxpayers from their money with as little friction as possible. What is good for the IRS generally is not’t good for you. Additionally, while you may owe some back taxes, your tax liability may not be as much as the IRS believes.
It is important to consult with a tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist to go over your case before you contact the IRS because everything you say to that friendly government agent “can and will be used against you.” Confiding your tax woes to the IRS is not a good idea – it would be like confessing your sins to a prosecutor without your defense attorney present.
But if you are determined to contact the IRS for tax help, you need to be smart unless you want increase your audit risk and/or tax liability. It isn’t just “what you don’t know can hurt you,” it is what the IRS agents themselves don’t know that can really hurt you.
The IRS Will Give You Bad Tax Advice 43% Of The Time
If you have collection-related matters, bank levies, tax liens, your wages are being garnished or you’re being audited, instead of calling a tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist, your first impulse might be to call the IRS itself to seek clarification on your back tax issue. Unfortunately, while the IRS might tell you why they are going after you, they have a horrible track record for giving out tax relief advice on how to resolve back taxes and IRS problems.
The IRS offers 10 reasons you should visit its Taxpayer’s Assistance Centers “for good old-fashioned face-to-face assistance from the Internal Revenue Service. No recorded menus. No hold music.” Sounds great! But there’s one big reason not to. Without a tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist on your side, you have an even greater chance of making your back taxes situation worse.
It’s important to keep in mind that when you work with the IRS, their agents, unlike tax attorneys or Certified Tax Resolution Specialists, often don’t have the proper training to provide you with the tax help that you need. When you make that call to the IRS 1-800 help line number, you’re essentially putting your financial fate in the hands of someone that doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to deal with your tax situation. It is the job of a tax attorney or a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist to make sure that IRS representatives adhere to their own rules.
My best advice, if you do end up on the phone with the IRS, is to take down the rep’s name and their extension number so you have a record of who you’re talking to. A lot of them don’t give you their name, and they don’t want to give you their badge number. Those are the people you’ll really have to watch out for.
How to Ensure You Don’t Pay A Penny More to the IRS Than What You Owe
Fortunately, there is a way to greatly increase your odds of a favorable resolution. Tax attorneys or Certified Tax Resolution Specialists are dedicated to fighting for you when they go to battle with the IRS. And the money you spend on tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist fees will be saved many times over in the taxes and penalties that you do not have to pay.
So if you get that scary letter from the IRS, you don’t have to feel alone because a tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can help you and go to bat with the IRS on your behalf! Know that if you try to represent yourself before the IRS, you will end up in a losing battle. Plus expert tax help from a tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist can help you ensure you don’t pay a penny more to the IRS than what you owe.
For any back taxes under $10,000, you can pick up the phone and give the IRS a quick call and they’ll set you up on a small monthly payment plan for $100-$115/month. You will not have to fully disclose your financial information (where you work, how much is in your .) to be able to be set up with a reasonable payment plan unless you owe more than $10,000.
Negotiating Your Back Taxes and IRS Debt
Most tax attorneys and Certified Tax Resolution Specialists will tell you, the best way to reduce your back taxes and IRS debt is to negotiate an Offer in Compromise, which will address the principle tax debt owed and potentially reduce or eliminate the penalties and interest. And while IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman recently testified that IRS employees will now have additional flexibility when considering offers in compromise from taxpayers facing economic troubles (including the recently unemployed), it is a safe bet that the IRS will continue to reject the vast majority of Offers in Compromise
The one way to really increase your chances that the IRS will accept your Offer in Compromise is to consult with a tax attorney or a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist to see if you qualify for this type or IRS tax relief. A tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist knows not just every line of the tax code, but also what kind of deals the IRS will and will not accept.
Financial disclosure is also key in qualifying for tax settlements – and people need expert tax attorney or Certified Tax Resolution Specialist tax help with this. Proving financial hardship is still no easy task no matter how much flexibility the IRS is pledging. Distressed taxpayers who want to take advantage of this unique opportunity to resolve their IRS debt will be required to provide full financial disclosure – and if they plan to do this alone without expert representation, they could end up owing the IRS more money in additional accruing penalties and interest than when they started the process.
And keep in mind that even if you do not qualify for the Offer in Compromise, there are other tax relief options available such as an IRS Installment Agreement, where you can work out a payment plan with the IRS that eliminates the tax debt over time. This is similar to a monthly car payment – a large enough payment to pay off a significant debt over time but not so large that it will adversely affect your lifestyle.
The IRS Will NEVER Refer You To the People Who Can Help You The Most
While the IRS has a strict policy of not referring taxpayers to tax resolution firms, there are reputable tax relief companies with proven track records for serving taxpayers and putting their best interests first. Expert and credible tax relief firms hold the IRS accountable to following their own rules and regulations (the tax code has swollen to about 70,000 pages!) during the tax resolution process, while simultaneously helping Americans understand their taxpayer rights and ensuring they are not obligating themselves to pay a penny more than what they have to.
For additional help contacting the IRS in person:
IRS Taxpayer Advocate Office