Taxpayers Have a Right to Challenge IRS Positions

While getting ahold of the IRS right now might seem like an impossible challenge, the customer service issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic don’t change the fundamental rights that all taxpayers have. Today, the IRS issued Tax Tip 2020-171, reminding taxpayers of their rights to challenge any position the IRS takes in regards to their tax matters. In addition, the IRS reminds Americans that they have the right to be heard. Again, it may not quite feel like it right now, with the increased difficulty in getting through to the IRS and actually be heard, but it is still a right that all taxpayers have.

As outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers have the right to:

  • Raise objections.
  • Provide additional documentation in response to formal or proposed IRS actions.
  • Expect the IRS to consider their objections timely.
  • Have the IRS consider any supporting documentation promptly.
  • Receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.

With the current mail backlog running an estimated 3 million pieces of mail, and phone line hold times exceeding two hours on many days, it’s more difficult than ever for the IRS to meet the customer service expectations they’ve set, and that you expect. This issue is not falling on deaf ears at the Service, nor has it gone unnoticed by Congress. Over the past few months, the IRS has hired a few hundred new customer service agents, and has a couple hundred openings right now for seasonal/temporary positions in an effort to resolve some of these issues.

Challenging IRS Positions

Here are some specific examples illustrating a taxpayer’s right to challenge the IRS’s position.

In some cases, the IRS will notify a taxpayer that their tax return has a mathematical or clerical error. If this happens, the taxpayer will be provided a 60 day period in which to tell the IRS that they disagree. In response, the taxpayer should provide copies of any record that may assist the IRS in correcting the error. The taxpayer may call the number listed on the IRS notice for assistance, and also has the right to retain representation to act on their behalf. If the IRS upholds the taxpayer’s assertion, taxpayers should expect the Service to make timely corrections to their accounts.

But what happens if the IRS doesn’t agree with your challenge?

In such a situation, the IRS will send another notice that proposes a specific adjustment … Continue reading

Speaking to Real Estate Agents for Tax Resolution Lead Generation

Yesterday, I discussed why real estate agents are a great place to focus your 1040 tax resolution marketing efforts, due to their common failure to make estimated tax payments.

Today, let’s delve into one of the best ways to get to know real estate agents so that they become your clients and referral partners.

There are obviously many ways to network with people in any given profession, but certain professions lend themselves better to specific marketing strategies over others. When it comes to real estate agents, and getting them to know, like, and trust you (KLT), there’s one marketing strategy that stands out above all others, and has for decades: Public speaking.

Why does public speaking work so well for lead generation with real estate agents?

Because, just like tax professionals, it’s common and normal for real estate agents to naturally assemble themselves together in a room.

Seriously. That’s entirely what it boils down to.

Here are just some of the ways in which real estate agents gather:

  • Weekly sales meetings at their brokerage offices.
  • Roving home tours of new listings.
  • Local Board of Realtors meetings.
  • Continuing education classes.
  • Technology demonstrations.
  • Conventions and conferences.

…and more. Again, it’s very parallel to how WE behave.

After reading that, your first thought might be, “Yeah, but there’s no way they’ll get together to hear somebody talk about taxes.”

Wrong, my friend! Two quick examples…

First example: One of our veteran Tax Resolution Academy® members in Sacramento, CA, Mike Ornelas, EA, has been using this tactic successfully to get new tax resolution clients from Realtors in his area for a couple years, by delivering “Tax Talks” directly to the real estate agents.

Second example: Ever heard of a little newsletter called the Tax Reduction Letter from the Bradford Tax Institute? This company generates millions of dollars a year in revenue by having traveling salespeople deliver 2-hour presentations on tax savings for the self-employed at Board of Realtor offices all over the country. It’s one of the primary sales channels for their business.

Bottom line: It works.

I realize that your next thought is going to be something about COVID-19. Well, guess what? Just like tax pros, those real estate agents still need to complete their CE. They’re selling homes at a record pace, during the pandemic. They’re still holding sales meetings. They’re still having speakers, just via Zoom instead of face-to-face. And when this … Continue reading