Tips For Negotiating with the IRS

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Even the most prepared representative can fail, if the manner in which the facts and law are presented is not done properly. There is no easy answer as to how to prepare and present taxpayers’ cases to the IRS.  Each case is different, and good preparation and presentation comes only through experience in dealing with the IRS and knowledge of the tax laws and IRS procedures.

  1. Common Sense–Always use common sense when dealing with the IRS.
  2. Communication–Communicate with the taxpayer and the IRS. Ask the taxpayer and the IRS many questions.  If you do not understand something, then continue asking questions.

Ask many questions.  Use why, what, when, etc.

  1. Prepare for the IRS–Fully develop the facts and law. Before negotiating with the IRS, make sure you are fully prepared.
  2. PresentationAfter preparation, determining how to present the information is extremely important. Many different factors must be considered in determining how to present the information.

Review and control information given to the IRS.  Control information given to the IRS–the IRS tries to accumulate maximum information to use against the taxpayer.

Organize–You must be well organized when you negotiate with the IRS.

Do not volunteer information unless it will help your position.  However, never lie to or mislead the IRS.

Present the taxpayer’s information to the IRS and use it to the taxpayer’s benefit.

  1. Plan of action–Have a plan of negotiation or action. Know how you are going to proceed and what you are going to ask for when dealing with the IRS.

Know your options.

Always look for alternatives.  Be ready to make changes.  Be open-minded.

  1. Meet and negotiate with the IRSThis first meeting will be the most important meeting. Try not to negotiate by telephone, since there are more misunderstandings, and it is easier for the other party to say “no” when negotiating by telephone.

Be prompt, courteous, and friendly.  Many IRS employees are treated with a hostile attitude.  Try and treat IRS employees the same way you expect to be treated.

Be confident, positive, and establish your credibility with the IRS employee.  Be honest and do not mislead the IRS employee.  It is important to let the IRS employee know that you are a competent tax professional.

Let the IRS know you will be cooperative, but that you will also represent the taxpayer to the fullest.

Do not argue–It’s not nice to argue and be naughty.  Avoid disagreement. Try to avoid an adversarial relationship.

Do not accept the position or attitude of the IRS employee, since you have the right to talk with a supervisor.

Do not accept the position of the IRS.  Ask for statutes and regulations that support the position of the IRS.

Agree and do not concede–It helps to acknowledge what is being said by the IRS.  However, you can agree with the IRS without conceding to their point.

Trade-off and do not concede–Never give in or concede to the IRS.  Rather, trade-off issues or items for which you are negotiating.

Do not always reject the position of the IRS–reframe their position in your favor.

Do not commit too early – remain open and flexible.

Be in control at all meetings.

Throw-away items–Include things in the negotiations that you know you will not get.  Always ask for more than you expect to get and settle for what you want.

Only make concessions if you receive concessions in return.

Do not give up too quickly.

If the meeting with the IRS employee is not going your way or is getting out of hand, terminate the meeting and reschedule for another time.

  1. Persistence–Do not give up easily when representing a taxpayer before the IRS. Exhaust all avenues before giving up.

Representation in Tax Audits & Appeals

Need assistance in managing the audit process? Freeman Law’s team of attorneys and dual-credentialed attorney-CPAs regularly represents taxpayers before the IRS and Texas Comptroller. Our team also provides tax return-related representations and helps taxpayers navigate state tax laws. Our Firm offers value-driven services and provides practical solutions to complex issues. Schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3000 to discuss our tax representation services.