Basic IRS Rules of Engagement
First and foremost when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding any kind of tax resolution, begin every conversation with respect and small talk, show interest in them and respect for their job, as it is a thankless job for the most part. In many cases, this interest will get you further than if you come across like everyone else they deal with on a daily basis by showing disrespect and a lack of appreciation for their job. There may certainly be a time and place for aggressive representation, but not initially.
1. Do not ever volunteer information unless you have a strategy or reason to do so.
Talking to the IRS can seem like the Spanish inquisition with all of the questions they will ask. Appear cooperative and provide very succinct and narrow answers. The only time you may want to elaborate, or offer more information, is when you want to tug at the heart strings with a human perspective, i.e. I just went through chemotherapy for cancer, and it was very taxing (no pun intended) physically and emotionally.
2. Carefully review all documents you are going to provide to the IRS; bank statements, paycheck stubs, etc.
Bank Statements can do the most inadvertent damage. Often times your bank statements can show more money going into the account than your paycheck stubs will support. If this is the case, you must be proactive when submitting the statements by identifying all additional deposits with an explanation, i.e. mom loaned me money, someone returned money to you for what was borrowed, etc. The IRS will always request to see the last three months of bank statements, but if it is more beneficial to show the last six months, be aware of it and why. Deposits must be consistent with a taxpayers reported income.
3. Begin every conversation with an IRS representative by first asking for the following information, and know what questions to ask when appropriate.
“What is your name and ID number?”
If things begin to go south, or clearly the representative is unaware of the IRM (Internal Revenue Manual) or the taxpayers’ rights, proceed to obtain the following information.
“Please provide me with your manager’s name and phone number?”
“Please provide me with your territory manager’s name and phone number?”
They cannot refuse to provide you with that information, so do not accept anything less.
Never assume the IRS correctly knows the IRM or IRC, even when cited to you as the IRS position, look up that position if you are unsure of it. Often times they will be incorrect in their position, even at the appeals level.
If you receive exemplary service from an IRS employee, offer to write a kind word of acknowledgement to their manager, and likewise, if you receive inappropriate behavior or a violation of a taxpayers’ rights, you will want to file a grievance with their manager.
In summary, never volunteer more information than is necessary, never provide information you have not scrutinized first, treat them appropriately (they are human too), and always obtain information of whom you are speaking with.
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