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Key Insight on Negotiating with the IRS

While taxpayers may often hear advertisements regarding settling with the IRS for "pennies on the dollar" this is very rare. If you do owe a substantial amount of back taxes, it is wise to consult with an experienced and reputable tax professional who can advise you of your taxpayer rights and options.

If you're encouraged that, by filing an Offer in Compromise, it will be easy to reach a quick settlement, think again. The vast majority of OICs are not accepted and by voluntarily disclosing financial information you may not be otherwise legally bound to disclose, you could be putting your financial future at greater risk.

Fact Sheet: How to Negotiate with the IRS

It's important to understand that, when you contact the IRS directly, you are likely communicating with a frontline collector whose sole task is simply to collect on a tax debt – not negotiate a favorable resolution on your behalf. That being said, there are some key behaviors and tactics that can go a long way towards helping taxpayers reach the most favorable outcomes:

Tips for Negotiating with the IRS

  1. Be civil, not confrontational. With budget cuts, IRS customer service is stretched very thin and overwhelmed. Many taxpayers are frustrated and angry, but if you have a positive mindset and treat the IRS representative with a measure of humanity and respect – you are more likely to have an understanding representative on the other end.
  2. If you do encounter a rude or threatening representative or feel you are "in over your head" – terminate the conversation, let them know you will be consulting with representation, or at the very least, request to speak with a different agent, or manager.
  3. Use IRS terminology when requesting consideration. If you didn't file or comply with a request, hopefully you can say it was for "reasonable cause" – or don't say I want to "get rid of penalties", rather request to have penalties "abated"
  4. Be honest, be brief and tell the truth. IRS representatives are skilled at sensing evasiveness and deception and this is only likely to escalate your IRS issue.
  5. When it comes to satisfying your IRS tax debt, don't overpromise and put yourself in an impossible financial position just to "ease the pain" for the moment.
  6. If you do fail to live up to an agreement, contact the IRS before they come after you. By being proactive, you are setting the stage for a cooperative environment, not a punitive one.
  7. Don't talk too much! If you have a serious amount of tax debt, or haven't filed for one or more years – it is smart to consult with a tax professional to understand your legal rights and options and what you are required, and not required, to disclose.
Get your case reviewed by Tax Analysts, Tax Attorneys, and even ex-IRS agents
Compare your tax relief options and benefits and decide what's best
If you choose, your case can be mediated on your behalf with the IRS to arrive at the best possible IRS concessions
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Owe IRS back taxes and worried about an IRS lien or levy?
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Listen to the stories of people just like you and how they overcame their tax debts.
I found out I had a tax lien of $250,000 from taxes that I hadn't filed..."
—Richard, VA
"...Because of some difficult family problems and a divorce and some financial issues...I did not file my income properly..."
—Paul, NJ
"...we had gotten a letter from the IRS basically threatening to levy against our property and it's scary..."
—Sharon, OH
For immediate assistance with an IRS tax matter call , or request online.
We understand IRS issues are stressful and complicated. Just answer a few questions online to help us find the best course of action for you. If you prefer you may call toll-free .
Get your free case review by Tax Analysts, Tax Attorneys,
       and even ex-IRS agents by calling .
Compare your tax relief options and benefits and
       decide what's best.
Upon your approval, your case can be mediated with
       the IRS
to arrive at the best possible IRS resolution.
Even if you haven't filed for one or more years, and don't have your tax documents available, we can automatically access your records for you and provide your free tax resolution assessment.
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