Received a dreaded letter from the IRS informing you of owing back taxes? Most almost immediately fret once read, but knowledge is truly empowering when dealing with such a stern government entity!
Here are a few helpful tips for combating the IRS when you may owe taxes:
1. Know your rights! Sounds simple enough, but knowing and understanding your personal rights is indeed often case dependent. While this may make your endeavor a tad trickier – don’t let the pages of confusing government jargon deter you. A good place to start is with “IRS Publication 1” (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1.pdf).
2. Act as soon as possible. This isn’t to say immediately of before you have done your research and understand your rights, but it’s a proven fact they are much kinder and easier to deal with when a taxpayer makes an honest effort to take initiative and communicate accordingly. Don’t make it any harder on yourself!
3. Choose an appropriate representative for your case: whether a smaller amount and doing so yourself, utilizing an expert such as a CPA, or even a tax attorney, sometimes using an expert and paying associated fees very often pay themselves back in future savings (including headaches). Also, with 10 days’ notice to the IRS before a scheduled meeting, they are allowed to accompany you, as well.
4. Be aware of the “Appeals Office”. If a collection case cannot or is not being resolved appropriately or you disagree with the ruling, you have the legal right to request further review by the IRS “Appeals Office” or a court. See “Publication 5” and “Publication 556” via the IRS website for assistance for these matters.
5. Be sure it’s YOUR debt – not an ex spouse’s or former business partner. A clause called “Innocent Spouse Relief” may exclude you from any amount(s) owed. This is true when transactions were unknowingly made by the other involved party. For a circumstance such as this, see “Publication 971” and “Form 8857” for further clarification.
6. Lastly and most importantly: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! This includes phone conversations and any dialogue with any and all parties involved on a case. Also, when and if you do come to an agreement with the IRS – get it in writing!
Following these few steps will help alleviate many mistakes and headaches encountered when dealing with what can often be a confusing, frustrating process. You can also seek out a trusted tax relief company like Optima to help. Most IRS officials will also admit that keeping a kind, calm tone helps your cause tremendously. The majority of their officials that deal with the public are there to help.