Whatever your occupation, there are just some people that we encounter over the course of our chosen professions that make life difficult for us. They may turn in things that are substandard and require a lot of your time to make right. They may require constant follow up in order to get the things that you have asked for or miss appointments or deadlines without notifying you in advance. You may be one of these people to someone else, but absolutely do not be that person to your revenue officer. Getting on the revenue officer’s bad side is never a good thing. They will be generally less inclined to give you the resolution you are seeking and will make interactions with them more stressful and more difficult for you.
In addition, missing deadlines with the revenue officer can lead to harsh consequences. They can place a lien or levy you pretty quickly if you start to get out of line. Understand that they sometimes walk into these matters with a bias against you because of any past lack of diligence to take care of your non-compliance in the first place. So it is, therefore, important that you do what you can to please the revenue officer. Make sure all your document submissions are well organized and clearly labeled. Do not just throw things in an envelope and ship them to your revenue officer. Avoid faxing them things that are voluminous, which they are going to have to spend time organizing for their file (they hate that). Generally, just make your dealings pleasant with them (IRS revenue officers usually have many harsh interactions with taxpayers and their representatives). You will be glad you did.
IRS revenue officers generally have a lot going on. They have roughly forty cases or so to sift through. Many of their cases, particularly non-filers, consume a lot of their time as they are left to chase assets, go out in the field to try and track these people down, and deal with many of the administrative headaches of working for the IRS. They may be just as busy as you are. Sometimes, even with as much organization and diligence as you put toward your matter, revenue officers drop the ball. They do not always return calls or are notoriously difficult to get ahold of or take an extremely long time to review documents. I sometimes get frustrated when a revenue officer places a tight deadline on me to get something done and then take their sweet time getting back to me. It is really aggravating. Moreover, my clients tend to get agitated when these matters take a long time to resolve.
However, instead of taking frustration out on the revenue officer, I just politely and diligently follow up with them every few days or so. After several messages (faxes work great too), they will eventually give me a call back and apologize for the delay. Whatever their reason, I just dismiss their non-responsiveness and am sympathetic toward them, which they appreciate. In addition, it puts them in a position of feeling bad for letting things drag, which has given me an occasional advantage in our future dealings.
The important lesson here is, despite any non-responsiveness; always continually follow up with your revenue officer to make sure they have everything and just to check on the status of your case. Be sure to document the date of each call in case you need it later (see below for Getting Tough), but be exceeding pleasant in each interaction. This will avoid any miscommunications and will also continually put the ball in their court to work toward a resolution. These are all good things when working with the IRS.
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