Educate yourself. Please feel free to browse our materials to better understand the agencies and processes that you are facing. Follow our principles of the Smart Taxpayer.
The First Principle: A smart taxpayer knows that while the government is there to protect you in most matters, in this matter the government agencies are not your friend. Certainly in collections matters these officers are trained to win you over with a friendly and innocent exterior. What lies beneath however, is an individual who is highly trained to exact the most money and information that they can from you.
The Smart Taxpayer signs nothing, agrees to nothing, says nothing, picks up a phone and calls their own highly trained professional to protect them, to educate them further, and solve their problem properly. Simply request the contact information from these officers and instruct them that your lawyer will be in touch with them.
The Second Principle: There is no quick fix. Many operations will convince you with flashy offers in compromise promising minor tax payments oftentimes for "pennies on the dollar". Such promises by organizations has been a major problem area for the taxpayers and the IRS has even issued warnings to taxpayers to protect them from these practices. A competent Tax Lawyer will vigorously work to reduce the tax and/or penalties you are faced with, however the process requires skill, knowledge, careful planning and should never be a quick fix.
The Third Principle: Pay attention to who you are working with. Attorneys are smart, educated and often fast talking. It can take a lot of brainpower to cut through the haze of what a lawyer is actually saying. Often lawyers will provide off the cuff advice, with promises of legal acrobatics to make everything right all without having taken you on as a client and without having seen any of your documentation. Ask questions, be persistent and above all, pay attention. Will an attorney be doing the work or will an underling with little legal knowledge be "managed" by an attorney. Assure yourself of an expert in this field, tax law is a daunting subject shunned by most professionals and mastered by few.
At an initial consultation comes prepared with your facts and questions. Focus on your attorney's demeanor and whether or not he or she actually answers the question you've asked. A lawyer should speak knowledgably but be able to explain to you the problem you face in plain English. Legal jargon is for adversaries not for clients.