By Matthew Leslie (San Diego CPA)
One of the scariest things is getting an IRS notice about an audit or, even worse, a notice that states you owe a huge amount for taxes. The truth is that most people are very scared when this occurs.
A good thing people do not realize is that the IRS is generally staffed with nice people. Believe it or not, their job isn’t to make your life miserable. Most of the time (and yes, I’m admitting this out loud) they really do want to help.
The fact is, for the majority of tax issues, past due tax collections or tax notices, most people do not fully understand them and do not want to contact the IRS as they feel they would not know what to say or how to handle it and quite possibly make it worse. See “best option” below before contacting the IRS; however, if you decide to call them yourself, please write down this information: make notes first about what you want to ask and then stick to your notes. When you make the call, be ready to note down the IRS Agent’s ID number and the last name of the person you are talking with. Also note down the date and time of the call. This is important information for any later follow-up needed. If you want to be treated fairly and as well as possible, the simple act of getting the IRS Agent’s name and ID number can make a world of difference.
Another secret when dealing with the initial IRS agent who answers your call: If the IRS person gives you a difficult time or you feel it’s not going well, you can say, I’m sorry, but since I’m pressed for time today and I was on hold for quite a while, I will need to call you back. That way, you are not making it personal and hopefully you can say this without indicating that you’re not happy with the person helping you. If it’s really bad, you can always ask for the person’s supervisor and then just tell them (the supervisor) what occurred and ask them to help you out.
Always make sure you only give out the information you feel comfortable giving out… for example if you are sent a collection notice, the IRS department you call will already have a set script to ask you all sorts of questions (but they will be disguised as if that’s just part of their job, etc. and they are trying to help). Be careful. If you have any concerns, call a experienced professional (see below).
Another technique if you do not want to give out requested bank account information or other personal and/or confidential information: Just say this as nice as possible (as you do not know what is right or not as a non-professional calling), I would prefer not to give out that information, is this required by law that I give this information over the phone? Can you send me some literature on this because I’m unfamiliar with the law on this? Then once I get the information and read it over, I can call you back, okay?
In keeping this article brief, you should know that you do have lots of options to consider. The best option is to seek out an experienced professional and have them file a Power of Attorney on your behalf. By doing this, you usually will not have to deal with the IRS after that step; because your representative will.
We have a lot of experience in dealing with the IRS so if you receive a tax notice and you have a concern or need some help, please feel free to give our office a call to set-up an appointment. You can reach at 619-464-1014 anytime Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.
For new customers, we offer a free consultation with an experienced and know- ledgeable Certified Public Accountant (CPA). We also offer a lot more than IRS help; so if you have a concern or question about your business; please give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did.