Mon - Fri: 9:00am - 7:00pm

Download BrochureDownload Brochure

Navigating IRS Disputes: Tips from Tax Professionals

Feb 25, 2024

Dealing with the IRS can be intimidating, stressful, and costly if you don’t take the right approach. Getting into disputes with the IRS is common – audits, penalties, interest charges, and more. Even honest mistakes can trigger IRS enforcement action.

If you find yourself facing an IRS dispute, it’s important to respond appropriately to minimize stress, cost, and disruption to your finances and daily life. I spoke with several tax professionals and attorneys to get their tips on successfully navigating IRS issues.

Attempt to Resolve Issues Yourself First

Many less complex IRS issues can be resolved on your own without needing to hire professional representation, according to Enrolled Agent Betsy Talbot. “Doing the legwork yourself first saves money and gets a dialogue going with the IRS,” she said.

Betsy’s Tips:

  • Carefully read all IRS notices and letters to understand what specifically they are disputing. Look for the exact amounts owed, deadlines, and instructions for responding.
  • Thoroughly research the tax code or IRS publications pertaining to your case so you know your rights and responsibilities. Knowledge is power when dealing with the IRS.
  • Call the IRS number on the notice if you don’t understand something or have questions. Take meticulous notes.
  • Draft a straightforward letter back to the IRS explaining in detail why you disagree with their proposed changes or explaining honest mistakes. Include supporting documentation.

Hire Professional Help for Complex Issues

For more complex tax problems like being audited or facing criminal tax charges, seek qualified professional assistance right away. The rules in these situations have many nuances, and procedural mistakes can undermine your case, explains Tax Attorney Leon LaPointe.

“Navigating the audit process and IRS appeals system alone is difficult. Having an experienced tax controversy pro who knows the process in your corner from the very beginning can greatly increase the odds of a favorable outcome,” he emphasizes.

Choose the Right Type of Tax Professional

All tax professionals are not alike. Each category of tax pro (Enrolled Agents, CPAs, Tax Attorneys) has different levels of skills, expertise, and ability to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

CPA recommends understanding these differences so you choose appropriate representation:

  • Enrolled Agents (EAs) are America’s Tax Experts. EAs license through the IRS by passing a comprehensive exam covering all aspects of taxation. They specialize only in taxes. EAs represent taxpayers at all levels of IRS disputes.
  • Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are accounting professionals licensed at the state level. Most CPAs focus on accounting, auditing, and financial statement prep. Some CPAs also have specialization in taxes.
  • Tax Attorneys have a law degree plus LLM in tax law. Most have previous IRS experience. Tax attorneys represent taxpayers in complex legal cases in courtrooms.

Follow Your Representative’s Advice

Once you hire a qualified tax professional, it’s critical to follow their counsel and advice closely through the entire process, warns Tax Resolution Attorney Brittany Retherford.

“We have methodically worked hundreds of cases, while most taxpayers are facing the IRS for the first time,” she explains. “The approaches we advise may seem counterintuitive, but they are based on intimate knowledge of IRS procedures.”

Common examples where clients can damage their own case against the advice of tax experts:

  • Providing the IRS more information than legally required. This gives the IRS more ammunition to use against you.
  • Losing patience or temper on calls with IRS agents. Professional decorum is essential.
  • Not showing up for meetings or missing deadlines agreed to with the IRS. This erodes credibility.
  • Skipping recommended legal procedures like submitting Freedom of Information Act requests, Appeals conferences or Tax Court filings.

Take Proactive Steps to Avoid Future Issues

Finally, several tax pros I interviewed urged taxpayers who have faced IRS action to take measures to avoid problems in future years.

Enrolled Agent Arun Sareen suggests several practical proactive tips:

  • Maintain meticulously organized tax records so everything can be efficiently accounted for in an audit situation.
  • Have a qualified tax preparer review your previous several years’ tax returns to spot errors, missing info or areas of risk if amended returns should be filed.
  • Set calendar reminders for estimated tax payments and tax return filing deadlines to avoid penalties.
  • Consult a tax expert whenever complicated tax situations arise like buying/selling property, business ownership changes, retirement account moves, or marital changes.

Navigating Complex IRS Disputes

Dealing with the IRS can feel overwhelming. However, with the right guidance, tax disputes don’t have to be scary or financially devastating.

The skilled attorneys and CPAs at Sareen & Associates have over 30 years of experience successfully representing taxpayers in complicated IRS matters. We’ve seen it all – audits, appeals, liens, levies, and more. Whether you’ve received a confusing IRS notice or are already entrenched in a tax controversy, contact us for experienced assistance.

We offer an initial free consultation to review your unique situation, explain your rights, and outline potential options. Our lawyers and accountants will provide straightforward advice tailored to you. Leveraging extensive litigation and negotiation expertise, we’ve helped countless taxpayers facing IRS challenges to achieve favorable outcomes.

Don’t delay. Call 703-366-3444 now to schedule a no-obligation meeting with our tax controversy pros. Together, we’ll strategize the smartest moves for resolving your specific IRS issue while limiting anxiety and financial impact. Contact Sareen & Associates today to regain confidence and clarity when dealing with the IRS.

Arun’s Arunism’s