How to talk with the IRS

January 27, 2011 at 11:29 pm (General Tax Information)

I have been talking to the IRS since I was a 15 year old girl working in my mother’s tax office. I have spoken with them as both a tax payer and as a tax professional. Something I have discovered throughout the years is that the experience level of the agents the IRS hires varies greatly, and I do mean greatly. There are those agents that have worked with taxes privately and with the IRS that are very knowledgeable and helpful and then there are those that have never in their life prepared a tax return as well as many in between. The IRS, I have recently discovered to my dismay, has followed the trend of many software companies that hire inexperienced agents and then arm them with a book of codes. Yes, a book of codes that corresponds to specific tax issues and IRS letters with only a basic outline of how to handle them. If you try to ask the agent to go beyond what they are reading in order to better understand your particular situation, they will most likely not be able to assist you. This is not only frustrating and scary, but just think of how many taxpayers are paying much more than they should simply because they are unable to get to the bottom of their situation! I have found this problem, not only at the basic Individual and Business departments, but also with agents in the Corporations Department.How does the average taxpayer resolve an issue successfully? It is important as the taxpayer to understand that you have the right to be treated fairly by those with experience. Stand your ground if you do not understand something or something does not sit right with you. Politely ask the agent about their experience with taxes, and if they don’t have the necessary knowledge, don’t be afraid to ask for a supervisor or manager – keep going higher until you are satisfied. If all else fails, know that there is the Taxpayer Advocacy Service to help you. To see if you are eligible for help, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service Case Intake Line 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TTD: 1-800-829-4059.

Remember that IRS agents are just people performing a job and paying their bills. Most are very nice and want to help you resolve your issue. So, don’t be afraid to talk to an IRS agent – it’s your money.

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