Tax Mama’s Advice for Those “Friendly IRS Visits”

That letter on your client’s desk, the one from the IRS--how long has it been lying there unopened? If only you knew about it sooner!

Fresh from this year’s Los Angeles IRS Stakeholder meeting with the tax professionals, TaxMama, Eva Rosenberg reports that the IRS will be sending out advance notices of field visits to some taxpayers in a pilot program, being newly tested. Rosenberg is the publisher of TaxMama.com, author of the syndicated Ask TaxMama column, and instructor of the popular IRS Practice Series available through CPE Link.

Meanwhile, impromptu, unannounced visits will continue, of course, in response to high-risk filers – even in the pilot program, says Rosenberg, but some lucky taxpayers will receive advance notice of visits. Advance notice—what an advantage! However, that advantage disappears if clients avoid opening the dreaded envelope or telling you, their tax professional, about it.

Rosenberg stresses that it’s important for tax professionals to:

1. Drum it into clients to always call you the same day they receive letters from the IRS. Or immediately when an IRS agent shows up at their door. Never, ever delay.

2. Get the power of attorney from clients on file NOW. Why? If your clients become paralyzed with anxiety, it won’t matter. The IRS will send that advance visit notice to you, as well.

3. Be proactive with the IRS to correct systemic problems that affect your clients. Rosenberg has learned from her years as an IRS Stakeholder that the IRS wants to fix problems. “There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. . . if you work long enough at it,” she adds.

And remember, even if your clients try to handle the audit themselves, you can fix it. Rosenberg knows this because she and her teaching partner Michael Rozbruch have done it thousands of times. You can learn how in the IRS Practice Series webinar on “Representing Your Client at a 1040 Audit.”

“The IRS Practice Series is your best source of information about how to fix tax problems without ever leaving your office,” says Rosenberg. Readers can view the first part, IRS Practice Series: Overview of Collection Issues for free.

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by Sue Anderson - Based on 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently program director for online CPE provider, CPE Link. Formerly with the California CPA Education Foundation managing key operational areas including marketing, program development, and distance learning.

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