There are two different sides to every taxing agency. There’s the assessment side and the collection side. On the assessment side, when you file a tax return, you’re self assessing yourself. You’re saying, hey, government, I owe you $10. You can also be assessed by going through an audit, you review the documentation with the auditor. This is whether sales tax, payroll tax or income tax, you go through the audit process, and at the end of it, you’re going to get a proposed assessment. You have the ability to continue to fight that assessment. You can go up the chain of command; whether it’s to a manager filing an appeal, filing a petition, you have the right to continue to fight that assessment. Once the assessment is final, it is then passed to the other side.

And the other side is called collections. Collections just wants to get paid. They don’t care why you were assessed or how you were assessed. They don’t want to know the details on that. They want to know what is your current ability to pay. It’s really important to understand that that is their goal to get paid. Knowing what side you are on the assessment or the collection side can help you navigate what your best options are.