How to Deal With the IRS

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Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service is usually a frustrating experience that involves a rush to meet the deadlines it imposes while waiting for your forms to be processed and your questions answered. There are some ways to make dealing with the IRS more bearable.

  • Take a deep breath and relax. If you are calm, cool and collected, you can negotiate and understand the conversation better. Remember that the agent you deal with is simply doing his job according to the rules and regulations he has to follow.

  • Gather your information. When you contact the IRS, you need a copy of the tax return in question, any correspondence the IRS has sent you and any other information about the situation.

  • Grab a pen and paper. It is very important that you keep detailed records of any conversations between you and an IRS agent. At the beginning of the call, the agent is required to give you his name and agent number. Write this down along with the date and time of the call. Ask the agent to repeat his information for you to note it. As you speak with the agent, take notes of important parts of the conversation.

  • Get ready to put your claim in writing. In most cases, you must submit a written statement, proof of the statements you made and any corroborating evidence to support your claims. It is best to always tell the whole truth to the IRS agent.

  • Seek help from a taxpayer advocate if you are eligible and don't understand the situation or if you need further help. In some cases, there are income guidelines to use these advocates.

  • Be willing to negotiate. In some cases, the IRS will negotiate a deal with you to clear up the situation as expeditiously as possible. If this happens to you, ask for any settlement offer to be mailed to you so you have a hard copy for your records.

  • Follow through with the settlement to which you agree. The IRS will consider the settlement void if you deviate from the terms. If this happens, you probably won't get a new settlement offer.

  • Hire a tax attorney if you feel that you are being wrongfully pursued by the IRS or if you feel that no fair settlement offers have been made.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never hide from the IRS or ignore an IRS agent who is attempting to contact you. This only makes the problem worse, and you may end up in court. In some cases, the IRS can issue a levy or garnishment against your property and wages.
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