Due to the inherent complications of tax legislation, it’s extremely difficult for Americans to fully comprehend how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) operates and, ultimately, how to deal with tax issues.
The IRS, the largest agency in the United States Department of Treasury, is often criticized for not taking fairness or impartiality into consideration when collecting tax money, as well as for keeping taxpayers in the dark on how it works.
“While the IRS is not responsible for the recent tax increases or complexity of the tax laws, it gets most of the blame and is undoubtedly an easy target,” writes Scott M. Estill in his book, Tax This! An Insider’s Guide to Standing Up to the IRS.
Know How to Talk to the IRS
In order to reduce feelings of uneasiness about the IRS and tax collection, it is important to know how to communicate with IRS employees effectively. Estill says that one should never feel uncertain or intimidated when it comes to personal finance and money collection, and what happens to your hard-earned money is not something that should be overlooked. Four basic rules, as outlined by Estill, will make interactions with the service much easier. They are:
- Follow IRS time deadlines precisely: Being late is never beneficial in any situation. This is true, even more so, when dealing with the IRS and your money. When things are not done on time for the IRS it gives them a reason to treat you in the same degree and gives off the wrong impression about your attitude toward the situation. Being late is an inconvenience for anyone and it does not make dealing with the IRS any easier. Therefore, following deadlines that adhere to the IRS's schedule is crucial.
- Document any communication with the IRS in writing: Having written records on conversations with the IRS is helpful in a situation where you need to go back and recall an interaction. This is also helpful should there be any miscommunication within IRS departments. Miscommunication often leads to conflicts and mistakes, both of which can be avoided by documenting your conversations in writing.
- Be specific when communicating to the IRS what you want: Miscommunication arises out of vague statements and ambiguous requests. Because compassion and fairness are not usually associated with the IRS, apprehension toward your rights and tax collection will mostly likely be taken advantage of if you are not confident and specific when discussing your needs.
- Make statements and get the IRS to agree with you: Confidence in dealing with the IRS seems to be an ongoing theme. In being confident and taking control of the conversation, you can get the IRS to agree to what you want, as opposed to feeling that they have manipulated you. Asking questions allows employees to recognize your insecurities and swing the conversation in their favor. Making solid statements gives the impression that you know what you want and leaves little room for the IRS to gain control over the conversation. This establishes level ground for the taxpayer and increases your chances of getting what you want.
These four rules, along with many more helpful ideas for dealing with IRS, are addressed in the book, Tax This! An Insider’s Guide to Standing up to the IRS
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. The author, Scott M. Estill, is a former tax attorney and IRS employee who knows the rules of the IRS game. By informing taxpayers of how tax policies work and the tricks in dealing with IRS employees and the service, he is able to advise you on how to use this knowledge persuasively and to your benefit.