Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Advice on how to effectively communicate with the IRS

Given the agency's reputation for being the epitome of an inflexible bureaucratic institution, it's no wonder that many Americans dread dealing with the IRS. However, throughout the course of one's life, it's very likely that an individual will at some point be forced to deal more intimately with the IRS.

Whether it be a letter requesting certain information or a full-blown IRS audit, complying with IRS requests can be both intimidating and frustrating and can leave an individual feeling powerless. However, as we noted in our last post, every taxpayer has rights and the following advice can help taxpayers who are dealing with the IRS feel more informed and empowered.

While most individuals who face an IRS audit likely have more than few choice words to describe their sentiment about the situation, it's best to set a positive and cooperative tone. IRS agents are well aware of the fact that no one likes dealing with the IRS, but he or she is simply trying to do their job and any way you can help expedite or make the process easier will benefit everyone involved.

While individuals are advised to be cooperative with the IRS, no one should feel bullied or disrespected when attempting to do so. If the tone of a conversation is demeaning or disrespectful towards a taxpayer, that individual has every right to request to speak with a manager and lodge a complaint.

Likewise, there's a difference between being cooperative and over sharing. Taxpayers are advised to only provide answers to questions that are posed and to keep answers brief and to the point. Even seemingly mundane details about one's personal life can potentially trigger additional questions and requests for information.

Also, while an individual may be eager to comply with IRS requests, it's important to only agree to realistic terms. If a re-payment amount isn't feasible, request a longer payment period or attempt to negotiate the amount owed.

They say much of life is dictated by an individual's attitude and approach. This mantra certainly applies when dealing with the IRS as being positive and cooperative goes a long way. However, that's not to say the IRS will overlook or forgive the actions of an individual who failed to pay or attempted to evade paying taxes.

In our next post, we'll continue to provide advice and tips about dealing with the IRS.

Source: Sonoma Valley Sun, "7 tips for negotiating with the IRS," Bonnie Lee, May 28, 2014

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