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How To Call The IRS Without Fear

 4 Tips

by Joe Mastriano

Do you want ammunition to have the confidence to call the IRS without the fear of them taking collection actions against you? Many people get letters each day from the Internal Revenue Service requesting unfiled returns, unpaid taxes, or additional information. You may also want to contact them to resolve an issue you are concerned about. Blindly complying with the person you speak to can be very costly. Why be a victim? Let's remove most of the risk and fear associated with calling the IRS right now, by understanding the following.....

1. You must have a good general disposition- Never complain to an IRS employee. They do not want to hear how sick you are, how poor you are, how bad the government is, how your ex-partner or ex-spouse ripped you off, how good you were to pay most of the original portion of the taxes, or the recent flood in your house. When you call the IRS, stick with 'just the facts'. Think about why you are calling, write it down, and be prepared for their questions.

2. Attempt to maintain a good rapport- Make the IRS person feel good and happy to be working with you ,no matter how they respond. You must have unlimited patience at all times. What if you were asked to recite your full address, and then two minutes later you were asked 'what is your complete address?'. Would you blurt out - you just asked me that!' with an angry tone? Or would you calmly say 'I gave that to you, here it is again'? How willing would you be to give the address the third time? Working for the IRS can be a very confusing and difficult job. You will get a lot further by accepting their behavior, and not arguing or getting upset with them. If at any time you feel uncomfortable in the conversation, you can always say that you can't talk right now, and hang up.

3. Be prepared to answer personal questions- You will be asked to give them personal information such as, where you live, bank, work, telephone numbers, bank account numbers, and addresses. If you are not calling to settle an outstanding balance, you can give them the information so that they can verify who you are, and proceed with the conversation. If you do have an outstanding balance, even if you think it's an IRS error, be very careful here. The information can be used against you to collect the tax liability. So what do you do? Give it to them! "What!" you say? 'You don't need me to tell you that!' Actually, perhaps you do. After many years and thousands of tax representation cases, I've concluded that this is the biggest fear my clients have had about calling the IRS. The problem lies not in the fact that the IRS will use it against them, it's the fact that taxpayers are unprepared to face the problem, and do what is necessary to resolve their IRS issues. The more prepared you are, the less exposure you have to being victimized. Let's look at a few situations...

a) You owe a lot of money and your concerned how you will pay it. Before calling the IRS, maybe you should fill out their form 433a http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f433a.pdf and any other related forms using the three IRS allowable tables first. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104627,00.html http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104801,00.html http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104623,00.html Using these forms and tables will allow you to arrive at the information needed to negotiate an installment agreement. You may need your accountant to help you.

b) You disagree with the amount owed and want advice. You shouldn't be calling the IRS for advice in the first place. There is plenty of information to help you on their site at http://www.irs.gov .or by doing internet searches for your topic.

c) You're calling to schedule or get an extension of appointment. Remember, make sure your reason for any extension is one that you feel is acceptable, and don't discuss your side of the facts. If they insist, then say you are not prepared right now and will be happy call back after you have your information prepared. Don't be intimidated into giving unprepared responses.

4. Use your bag of tricks- If you need to resolve something and have trouble ask for the manager. If that doesn't work, you can call the taxpayer advocate service. Before calling, familiarize your self with the taxpayer advocate at http://www.irs.gov/advocate . This is your strongest weapon. If you feel the IRS is about to take collection action against you before you have time to resolve the situation, and you can't get an extension, you could file a collection appeal. Familiarize yourself with http://www.irs.gov/appeals

So let's recap.... First you have a good general disposition, then you make sure you maintain a good report. You feel comfortable and secure knowing that if you are not happy you can hang up, and you don't have to feel intimidated to answer questions you don't want to. You have done your research into how you will pay the liability, or otherwise resolve to matter at hand. You are prepared to have the manager help, or if not, use appeals and/or the taxpayer advocate service as needed.

I realize that all this may be easier said than done.


Joe Mastriano, CPA has represented thousands of taxpayers before the IRS over the last 25 years. He offers free advice on dealing with the IRS collection division. For additional free information about preparing yourself for calling the IRS, visit our site at => http://www.taxproblem.org


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