5 Things to Remember When Working with an IRS Agent
*The following article was updated in July 2022*
IRS employees are overworked and have very stressful jobs. And in most cases, IRS employees are also underpaid. Here are five simple ways you can have a successful result when dealing with the IRS.
- Be nice. IRS agents have horrendous jobs and have to listen to grumpy taxpayers all day long. Take some time to be nice to them. Ask them how their weekend was and try to treat them like a human being.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Explain your current situation and try to have the backup documentation to support those statements invoices, statements, receipts, bank statements, signed affidavits. Try to show them that you are telling the truth instead of just telling them.
- Give them the benefit of the doubt. The IRS agent does not get a bonus or get paid more to give you a hard time. They have their own rules and regulations that they must follow. They are just doing their jobs. Go back to Number 1.
- Document Everything. Working with the IRS can seem like 1984 and you must fax confirmations or documentation to them. If they tell you to do something on a phone call or they are not returning your phone call, document everything in writing. “Thank you very much for the phone call today. Per your request, I will be making the $5,000 payment today.” or “Mr. Jones, I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I left a message for you on Tuesday and Thursday last week, I still have not heard from you. Please contact me ASAP.” When you document everything, you are not only protecting yourself, you are also helping the agent by reminding them of your conversations or that they have not contacted you.
- Too Late. If it is too late and you have already lost your cool and raised your voice. Try to start over, instead of escalating the problem and apologize. If that does not work, you can ask to speak to their manager or contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service.