Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA July 2, 2020 16 min read

Working with Brotman Law on Your IRS Collections Matter

Beating IRS Collections at Its Own Game

Here is the thing to keep in mind With IRS collections. IRS collections is really about what is the best end result for the client. How much can the client afford to pay? How much does the client want to pay? What is the IRS going to come back with based on those inputs? The easy thing about collections is you know exactly the direction it is going to go.

With collections, you know how the IRS is going to perform the financial analysis. You know the way that they are going to look at certain items of income. You know the way they are going to look at certain business expenses.

It is very easy to want to say, "I want to get on a $500 a month payment plan." It is very easy to take your client's circumstances or take your own circumstances and to go through and audit your financials and line them up on a financial statement and say this is what the auditor is going to look at.

Anybody can fill out a financial statement. There are some traps on that financial statement and probably some information you do not want to give out, but at least you have a baseline for where your financials are and where they might need to be in order to hit your desired results. 

The best thing that you have in the course of an IRS collections case in order to beat collection is time, especially forward time, and the ability to control some of the inputs on your bank statements.

When our firm is negotiating an IRS collection resolution and we have a period of time that passes, we will instruct the client to limit the amount of fun that they are going to  have over three months. 

Why do we limit the amount of fun? Because I have a revenue officer and the revenue officer is looking at the client's ability to pay and that client is going to Vegas and the client is taking vacations and the client is shopping at Nordstrom and all that is going to create a problem for the revenue officer.

Essentially, what we are trying to do is sanitize financial records that the revenue officer is going to be analyzing and making sure that everything is copacetic. We have control over that through the interactions with our clients. You get to decide when you buy something whether you put it on a debit card or whether you pay cash for it.

It is not about necessarily being dishonest because you are not being dishonest. What you are doing is controlling the flow of information on the financials. You can control the amount you spend on food. You can control the amount you spend on fun. You can control the amounts you spend on gas and so on and so forth. 

The more tightly you can control these variables, the better you are going to hit your goal with IRS collections.

Keep in mind that if you do not hit your goal with IRS collections, you may have to go to the appeals process. There may be multiple ways to deal with the liability, but the important thing is, if you look at this from a total perspective rather than just like, “I have to produce a financial statement," you are working towards a goal. If you clearly define that goal, if that goal is deemed achievable, you are probably going to achieve it. 

That is the way to beat IRS collections at its own game.

Working With Brotman Law on Your IRS Collections Case

We have a lot of experience in dealing with the IRS, anything from a small payment plan to a complicated revenue officer matter with millions and millions of dollars in liability. We handle all aspects of collections from offers in compromise, appeals negotiation, collection due process appeals, to even dragging things into tax court when we have to.

Because of our range of experience, we know the playing field and because we know the playing field, we know how to protect our clients. Our firm takes a very client-focused approach first.

I understand that you need to provide for you and your family. I understand that you have basic needs. I understand that you are not willing to sacrifice the needs of your children in order to placate the government. In order to meet your objectives, we build a strategic plan around them and we translate your circumstances into terms that the IRS is going to accept.

You are going to have some challenges. The IRS is not the most flexible organization in the world. They go by a manual that has very rigid rules when it comes to collections. It might be a fight. 

The good news is our firm has the muscle and the fortitude to weather that fight. We are tenacious, we do not take “no” for an answer, and we work to protect our clients every step of the way. 

Whether you are with us for a month or for years and years and years, we will do whatever we can to build a bubble around you and your family to provide for your future. Providing for your future is the most important thing.

When we deal with collections cases, we are looking at what the end-goal is. How much do you need for your retirement? How much do we need to provide for you so that you can take care of all your other obligations? What can we do in your best financial interest to get you through this? 

That may look like an offer and compromise, that may look like riding out the collection statue, or it may look like paying those jokers off as quickly as you can. In any scenario, we are going to do what is in your best interest.

We have the capability of understanding and putting a strategy together, and executing it on your behalf. I encourage you to sit down with us for a consultation. Run your problem by us, let us run the math, let us talk to you about what your goals are, and let us build a plan for you. 

The worst case is you walk out of our office with a full plan to resolve your IRS collection issue and no further obligation to us. I encourage you to come into our office to put a plan in place and let us see how far we can take you. 

I promise that you will not be disappointed. We have a long and storied history against dealing with the IRS, and we hope you will be our next success story. 

 

Brotman Law’s IRS Collections Strategy

What I tell my clients is to throw whatever the IRS wants out the window, and we will focus on you and your situation. There is a certain amount of money that you are going to need to provide for yourself, to provide for your family, and to live the life that you are accustomed to living. 

Once we figure out a way to sustain that or sustain that as much as reasonably possible, then we can worry about massaging the IRS into the equation.

Ultimately, IRS collection cases come down to two basic decisions. Are we going to pay them as quickly as possible? What are we going to do to maximize the client's financial situation in the long-term so that they can get through this hurdle and meet their goals? 

In some cases, that has us waiting out the 10-year collection statute or paying the IRS over time. In other cases, that could involve an offer in compromise, or potentially a bankruptcy.

The goal of Brotman Law is to focus on the client first and to put the government position secondary to whatever the client needs. In a lot of collection cases, we work with clients for multiple years in defending them against the IRS. In some cases, we work with them rather quickly, and in a month, they are gone. 

We want to do what is in the best interest of the client. We have a very client-first approach to IRS collections and we will continue to stay that way for the benefit of our clients and to protect them in the future.

How Much Is It Going to Cost?

How much is it going to cost to have Brotman Law defend me in the IRS collection process? Obviously, my answer in terms of cost is going to depend on how much you owe the IRS, and what the situation is, whether or not you have a local agent chasing you and so forth.

I will generally say that in situations where we can get our head around the issue, which is pretty much every one of them, and we formulate a plan, the steps to resolve that plan are usually not that bad. 

Resolving IRS collections disputes is pretty straightforward because the IRS has a formula for resolving collections matters in terms of what they will accept and will not accept. If you understand that formula you can understand where the cracks are and we can navigate around them to the benefit of the client.

I usually ask my clients, how much do they want to pay the IRS, and how much could they pay them if they absolutely had to. Between those two numbers, we usually get a range. The more reasonable the client is willing to be with the IRS, the closer and more lower-cost it will be to deal with the issue.

For example, for simple payment plans with the IRS, we may be as low as $1,500 if we can get on the phone with them, agree to something that the IRS will readily accept  and close the case out. It can be very easy.

Some collection cases with revenue officers can take $30,000-$40,000 to resolve, it just depends on how big of a fight it is. In cases where we have multiple million dollars of liability or when there are multiple moving pieces, collection cases can get out of control. 

In those situations, we are dealing with a big fight and having to go back and forth with the Office of Appeals. We are literally having to prevent the revenue officer from shutting down the taxpayer's business.

In most situations, the costs are manageable and we can spread them out over a period of time and make them easily affordable for our clients. I like to take the position that IRS collection cases are a marathon and not a sprint. 

The idea is, I need to be actively working with my clients to conserve their resources to make sure that we are doing the best we can to get them over the finish line. 

Even though IRS collections matters vary greatly — from an offer in compromise, to a simple payment plan, to an all-out war with a revenue officer —  most situations end up being fairly economical and fairly cost-effective for the client.

What I would recommend is to run your circumstances by us. Sit down for a consultation, let us develop a strategy, and at the very least, you can walk out of our office with a plan in place, knowing what an attorney will cost in your situation and with no obligation to use in the future once you have that plan. 

 

It makes things easy and it is a much better way for me to give you an accurate estimate with respect to cost for your IRS collection case.

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Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law

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