The advantages of creating a good relationship with IRS employees
I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of always treating IRS employees with courtesy and respect. This will probably shock many of you, but I actually look forward to talking with IRS employees. I always treat them with courtesy and respect, and 99% of the time, it is a very pleasant experience. Of course, if you start with a different attitude, you may get different results.
If an IRS employee is waiting for my fax or looking up information on the computer, I will normally try to make small talk. I will start by asking them where they are located and how their weather is. I have found that by making small talk and getting to know them, they will often go above and beyond what they are required to do.
Occasionally when I call the IRS, an employee may be having a bad day, but this happens with everyone. If I happen to talk with an IRS employee who seems to be having a bad day, I try to get off as quickly as possible and call again and talk with someone else. An advantage that I have as a licensed legal representative is that I can call the IRS on the Tax Practitioner Hotline and typically I can get through in a few minutes, so calling back is not a big deal. This is one advantage of using a tax pro.
If I happen to disagree with them, I am still as nice and polite as I can possibly be and I find that they treat me the same.
If you disagree with an IRS employee and are frustrated with your results, tell the employee that you think it may be more effective in resolving the issue if you could talk with their supervisor.
When you talk to an IRS employee on the phone, you should always request certain information and be sure to write it down and keep it where you can easily locate it. Request the following: their name, their badge number, their position and title, address, date and time of conversation, and the information discussed.
When resolving a tax problem, it’s important to agree on the next steps and the timeline, which includes deadlines for sending documentation.
Whenever you are mailing documents to the IRS, send them using a method that provides return receipt.
If you fax documents to the IRS, be sure to print a fax confirmation. I generally staple the confirmation to the document that I have faxed. This makes the confirmation very easy to find.
During an audit, be courteous and avoid being combative, you never want to alienate the auditor. Treating the auditor with courtesy and respect will normally result with them treating you with kindness and respect. This is very important in an audit.
David Zubler is a tax accountant in East Tennessee, the author of four books, and a philanthropist. All of his proceeds from the books go to a charitable foundation he created for underprivileged children. He is also the founder of Your Tax Care which provides tax education. David can be reached for questions and consultation at yourtaxcare.com.