If you end up fighting the IRS over your 2010 tax returns, a skipped return from last year, or another reason why you can’t pay your tax bill in full, it is possible to negotiate a pay as you can plan. Get the best deal possible with these seven tips which I summarized from Jim Camp of Camp Negotiation Systems. His website is Start With No.
1. Do your homework. Instead of reinventing the wheel, gather information from others who have gone through what you are about to. Look for strategies, precedents and tips online, (including the IRS website). Know your rights and your obligations. Take details notes.
2. Schedule face time. When you call the IRS, don’t talk to whoever picks up. Make an appointment to meet with an agent face to face nearby. Don’t answer questions over the phone. Talking in person gives you
3. Bring your poker face. The key to negotiating success with the IRS is emotional control. Fear, anger, and neediness are deal-killers. Get into a calm state in which you are fully in the present and unconcerned. Don’t look back with remorse at how you got into this situation; don’t look forward with hope or dread. Keep your voice low and speak slowly.
4. Remember the IRS needs you. That’s right. If the IRS didn’t need your cooperation, this agent wouldn’t be talking to you. Instead of focusing on what you can get, think in terms of how you can help the IRS fulfill their needs. For example, your aim might be to agree to a payment plan that best assures the IRS will get paid in a timely manner.
5. Let the other guy talk. The agent will want you to spill the beans. Try to answer all questions with questions of your own, ones that start with What, Why, or How. This way, you can steer the dialogue and find out more about your options.
6. Never make a promise or agree to a compromise at the start. The IRS wants you to commit to a plan from the get-go. Instead, save all agreements for the end.
7. Let it be open ended. Let the process take time instead of looking for a solution or a way out. Stay focused on the agent’s language, and on getting him or her to talk and reveal the position of the IRS regarding your specific situation. What do they want? What are their limits?