Any tax professional will tell you that, no matter how upset you are with an IRS decision, it would be in your best interest to remain friendly and tactful when speaking with an IRS agent over the phone. Stories have been told about how people have been so angry over a pending audit or negative decision by the IRS that they have sabotaged their chances of getting help and leniency. Stay calm and composed and you’re sure to get the most out of your conversation.
There are 10 very useful tips to dealing with the IRS over the phone:
1. You should be aware of the progress of your case and how it’s moving along in the IRS system. You can review how the process works on the IRS website.
2. Make sure you have your transcript from the IRS ready when you call the office. You will need to be looking at the same records the IRS agent is looking at so they can go over it with you, step-by-step. To order your transcript for free, call 1-800-829-1040.
3. When you first contact the IRS, you will want to make sure you get the name and ID number of the agent you are speaking to. Make note of the date and time of your call, as well. The agent will give you his or her name and ID number when they answer your call.
4. When you call the IRS office on more than one occasion for the same reason, you will most likely end up talking to a different agent each time. This is normal procedure. The calls are routed to different offices all over the country and they will be available to take calls until 8 p.m. EST.
5. It is not customary for the IRS to call you back. The agents can only take incoming calls and they will never give you their direct numbers. It can be frustrating, but it is how they do things.
6. If you are feeling frustrated, you will still need to deal with the agent you are speaking to because it isn’t likely they will transfer you to a supervisor. The agent will most likely tell you the supervisor can call you back in 2 to 3 days, but it is very rare that they do. Yet another frustrating aspect of dealing with the IRS over the phone.
7. Make sure you have all of your tax forms with you when you call the IRS. You are normally on hold for long periods of time when you call. If you have all of your paperwork in front of you, you will not end up having to call again.
8. Become familiar with the agent you are speaking with. They have their own style and personality and each of them has their own stress. Their mood will be obvious the moment they answer the phone. If you cannot talk to this particular person, try calling back to get someone else.
9. If an IRS agent gives you a future date to call them back, be sure to call them back on that date, otherwise the IRS computer will move your case into what is called “enforcement”.
10. If you don’t get the results or response you are looking for from the IRS agent(s), you can always contact the Taxpayer’s Advocate.
Yes, at times it may be frustrating to deal with the IRS, but if you follow these steps, your dealings with them are more likely to run smoother than if you are not prepared or if you remain frustrated and angry and take it out on the agent. Or, talk to a tax professional to help you work with the IRS.