How to best handle the IRS

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The IRS--Not the baddies they are made out to be.

Unfortunately, because of entrepreneurial failings, I have paid business expenses instead of my taxes a couple of times. I always made sure I filed on time even if I did not send my tax payments. I have been successful in responding to the IRS when I was notified. I never found their agents to be threatening or overbearing. But they will be IF you ignore them.

Can you blame them? Other taxpayers paid when due and you did not. When they wrote, you put it aside and pretended either it never came or it would go away. It will not. Their computers and data are well maintained and they will not forget or go away. So best to face it and avoid their wrath and further entanglements.

The IRS is always willing to work with the taxpayer who is contrite and does not try to hide. They will make a payment schedule you can afford but you must make the payments when due. There are loads of ads on TV and in print by tax “experts” offering to hold the monsters off if you owe over $10,000, for a fee of course. "They will save you money." Most times it is a waste of your money. You will pay them in fees more than they might save you. That guy on TV who sounds so sincere, the one who wears the cowboy hat,  I read he is worth upwards of $20 million from his company. These firms have no special secret; they simply deal with the IRS the same way you could. And they soak you for as much as they can get from you.

If you feel intimidated to go it alone, take a knowledgable friend along to help you. But do go; do talk to them--you will be surprised how helpful the IRS can and will be. Always be humble, don’t go on and on about your troubles as they have heard it all. Instead, have your records in order and get right to the point. Apologize for causing the IRS this trouble; humility will get you far.

I know this is all easy to say when someone is in trouble, whether medical, family or business. But take my advice, address the problem. If you do not it will snowball into something far more unwieldy and serious. And that, in the words of the Godfather, “they do not forgive."