Why Hire a Tax Professional When Dealing with the IRS?
Posted In: Tax Law   | Posted by: Arenstein & Anderson Co., LPA
It is important to have an experienced tax professional assist you and your business with IRS audit, levy, lien, garnishment, and collection matters.
We have all heard horror stories from those who have had terrible experiences dealing with the IRS. Some of them are probably true, but most are more than likely the result of ineffective communication or a lack of understanding regarding the process. The IRS has over 100,000 employees. When you have that big of a workforce, you are bound to have few bad apples. However, in my experience in representing taxpayers with IRS issues, most IRS personnel are regular people just trying to do their jobs.
An inexperienced individual contacting the IRS through its phone system can become easily frustrated by the long waits, confused by the inevitable transfers, and defensive (or downright rude) to the IRS employee that eventually takes their call. A face-to-face encounter with an IRS employee can be even more unnerving to the inexperienced individual. Whether it is an audit being conducted at your place of business or a revenue officer showing up at your house on a collection matter, dealing with the IRS on your own can be overwhelming.
Having a tax professional with experience working with the IRS can remove most, if not all, of this frustration, confusion, and worry. A tax professional with years of experience doing IRS audits, collection matters, appeals, and representing taxpayers in United States Tax Court is able to remove the personal feelings from the equation; which enables more effective communication with the IRS employee and can greatly improve results.
Often the taxpayer’s frustration starts with the Automated Collection Service (ACS), the IRS’s phone system. Clients have told me stories over the years that they have waited hours and been transferred multiple times in their attempts to contact the IRS via ACS. I had one client tell me that she had been on hold for almost two and half hours before she was disconnected during a transfer. Obviously, after such an ordeal, patiently and effectively communicating with an IRS employee may prove difficult. Unbeknownst to many, tax professionals have a representative phone number than can enable them to connect with the IRS faster when requesting information or discussing account issues. Additionally, installment agreements for liabilities less than $50,000 can be entered into using this same process. This phone number can also be used to stop wage garnishments and other levies as we work through the collection process.
When it comes to audits and installment agreements involving large liabilities where an IRS auditor or collection agent is personally assigned, a tax professional with experience in these areas is extremely important. As discussed previously, taking the personal aspect and confusion out of the equation can make these discussions with the IRS much easier. It is especially important that the tax professional you hire to represent you is not the same professional that prepared the income, payroll, estate, or other tax return that is at issue. This allows the tax professional to work with you and your tax preparer to provide the most effective and well-reasoned responses to inquiries from the IRS. After all, if you and your tax preparer are in the room with the IRS, you will both be on the spot with any questions. This can result in inaccurate information being provided to the auditor that could prove difficult to fix or change at a later time. Having an experienced tax professional that can answer, “I am not positive about that, let me talk to my client and the tax preparer and get back to you later,” can save you a lot of headache and, in some cases, a lot of money!
Having experienced representation is a must when dealing with the IRS and other taxing authorities. Having an experienced tax professional that you trust is essential when you or your business is faced with a tax audit or collection. Your time and money are valuable. Do not leave an important tax matter to chance or with an inexperienced individual, especially if it is you. An unfavorable tax resolution can have long-term implications to yourself, your spouse, and your business.
Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA provides comprehensive tax representation services. We can help with all aspects of taxation, including planning, compliance, and representing taxpayers in controversies. Some of our legal services relating to taxation include: defending individual and corporate taxpayers in collection actions, including assessments and audits initiated by the Internal Revenue Service, Ohio Department of Taxation, and municipal taxing authorities pertaining to income, estate, gift, sales, use, and withholding taxes; and representation of individual and corporate taxpayers in tax controversies by prosecuting administrative appeals and litigation in Ohio and Federal courts, including the United States Tax Court, United States District Courts, Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, and in their respective appellate courts.