IRS Tax Debt Negotiation Strategy No. 3 – Do Not be Afraid to Play the IRS ACS Lottery
I can often tell during the first minute of the call with the ACS representative how things are going to go. If the representative is rude or short with me during that first minute, oftentimes I will hang up and call back to get another ACS representative (what I call affectionately the ACS lottery).
There is zero point to spending an entire phone call arguing with someone, which will only frustrate you and is unlikely to lead to the result you are seeking.
Why put yourself through such misery? Instead, if your representative if nasty or you get a bad feeling during the call, just bail. You may waste an hour waiting on hold in order to call them back, but you will be glad that you did when you get the result that you wanted.
IRS Tax Debt Negotiation Strategy No. 4 – For Payment Plans, Know Where the Line Is
Payment plans are based on a simple formula. Generally, if you owe $50,000 or less, your ACS representative will want you to pay your balance completely in a maximum of 72 months (six years). Take the amount of your liability and divide that by 72. That number is the minimum payment amount the IRS will be willing to accept without an accompanying financial statement demonstrating a hardship.
There are a few exceptions; such if your liability is set to expire before the five-year period, but just keep that rule in mind. However, the IRS representative is trained to try and get as much out of you as possible.
In addition, those ACS representatives who are poorly trained may try to get you to go through the financial statement process anyway, even though you are eligible to streamline your IRS agreement. Also, keep in mind that any payment plan requires that you are current on all filings and do not have any that are outstanding.
IRS Tax Debt Negotiation Strategy No. 5 – Get the Agent to Take Notes and Call Back to Confirm
I believe that at this point I have likely negotiated hundreds and hundreds of resolutions for taxpayers through ACS. Most of these have gone off without a hitch, my client is pleased, and everyone moves on with their life as it was. However, that does not mean the IRS has not burned me a few times because of the incompetence of the ACS agent on the other end of the phone.
This has happened less than 1 percent of the times when I have called the IRS, but it is an awful scenario for all involved when it happens.
I believe in being safe rather than sorry, so here are a few suggestions I have for making sure that your understanding matches the IRS’s when a resolution is agreed upon.
First, at the beginning of the call, the agent will state their name and employee ID number. It is always important to write this number down, as when calling back you will be able to assist the other agent in locating your first call.
Second, repeat the resolution back to the agent to make sure your understanding of the resolution is confirmed. This will ensure that both of you are on the same page
Third, ask the agent to indicate the resolution in the notes. Tell the agent that it is “really important” that you do not get levied and ask them to make sure to reflect whatever you resolution is in their notes. Some ACS agents may brush you off (they are trained to take notes on all calls), but this ensures that their notes will be especially nice and clear for anyone to read in the future.
Finally, I recommend calling back approximately one-to-two weeks later to confirm that your resolution is in place. It may be overkill for some resolutions, but having two separate people confirm something provides that extra level of security that the resolution you achieved is reflected on the books.
Planning Pays Off
By implementing these tried-and-true strategies when dealing with the IRS’s Automated Collection System, you can likely avoid the vast majority of the headache associated with calling them and may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars by not having to resort to professional representation.
Resolution for minor tax issues is not exceedingly difficult, it just takes a little advance knowledge of what you are walking into and a little negotiation on your end to be successful. I hope these tips have been helpful and that you are able to negotiate a successful resolution.
For more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly for further help. Brotman Law has a proven track record in representing clients before the IRS and we are just a phone call away if you need us.