Tax issues involving the IRS often keep people up at night. If you're dealing with tax problems, the important thing is to take a structured approach to resolve the matter. An IRS tax problems lawyer will tell clients to do these four things.
Collect and Copy the Paperwork
One of the worst things about the IRS is that they can hit you with lots of paperwork. Worse, these documents often look very threatening and bureaucratic at the same time. People have a hard time reading and understanding IRS documents.
The smart move is to collect every piece of paperwork the IRS has sent you that's related to your current case. Make copies of everything so you can provide them to a tax attorney. Store the originals in a safe place.
Also, if you believe there are documents from older cases that might be relevant, include those. Organize them separately so a tax lawyer can see which case is which. These may be useful in documenting a pattern of harassment or in spotting a recurring set of mistakes that keeps triggering IRS notices.
Determine if There Is a Problem
Even the most innocent IRS request tends to look like a demand for your firstborn child. An IRS tax problems attorney can contact the agency on your behalf to determine if there's a major or minor issue. Many cases boil down to little mistakes, such as a machine at the IRS not cleanly scanning a document. Once your attorney and a person at the IRS look at the physical documents, the matter might resolve itself.
Assess the Penalties
When you add up the cost of fighting the IRS and paying a tax lawyer, it's worth considering whether a settlement might be the better choice. Frequently, IRS agents are authorized to reach settlements if they can retire cases quickly by doing so. Figure out what the penalties would be. If the penalties in a settlement are going to be less than the cost of winning a fight, it may be better to take the hit and move on.
The IRS is a frustrating bureaucracy. It takes hours to even get a human on the phone when you do call them, and then there's a good chance you'll just be connected to another person to wait longer. The agency frequently expects you to respond within a month even though it might have taken years to decide there even was a problem.
Losing your cool accomplishes nothing, though. If you can't stay calm, then let your tax lawyer suffer through the bureaucracy for you.
Read more about how lawyers can help you in this process.