5 steps help when dealing with the IRS

If you prepare income taxes, by now you have probably heard that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has postponed the retirement of both eServices supporting Disclosure Authorization (DA) and Electronic Account Resolution until September 2, 2013. Both services are critical in helping tax preparers support their clients’ needs throughout the year.

1) Plan your phone call carefully. Even though the Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) posts availability Monday thru Friday from 0700 am until 0700 pm (local time), you probably know or suspected there are optimal times to call like 0700 AM Tuesday thru Thursday. Remember you can call about more than one client at a time! When the PPS voice says they will only help you with one client ‘issue’, cite IRM 21.3.10.1.3 of the Internal Revenue Manual, “CSR’s should limit the practitioner to no more than five (5) clients per call.”

2) Prepare your case file. Aside from having your client’s information in clear view for a quick response, make sure you have your company data in front of you. Be prepared to fax consent documentation as soon as the PPS agent provides you with their fax number. Always fax your documents directly to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) unit.

Ask the agent about pending transactions, deadlines, and clarification of “adjustments” while the meeting is taking place. Some of this information may not be on a transcript. Complete your call by requesting all relevant transcripts that will help you after you finish your phone call.

3) Work smart. You all know the difference between the IRS Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, and a power of attorney. Leverage this document to obtain information that will help build your case file by having a administrative assistant (other than CPA, EA, or attorney) call PPS and seek the relevant information or transcripts. By combining this step with the ‘five (5) clients per call’ per IRM citation noted above, a temporary assistant working Tuesday morning can gather lots of preparatory or background information while you focus on more productive activities.

4) Think proactively. Depending on your client, you might consider either submitting IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative for some of your clients at tax prep time or confirming you have one on file. Incorporate this step whenever you have:

  • New clients with ‘history’
  • Clients with an ‘expensive return’ (that is, for example, large and disposable income)
  • Tax returns with carryforwards, NOLs, etc.
  • Entity returns

5) Put yourself in the loop. Make sure your client understands and completes IRS Form 8821 so that you (or your company) have continued access to your client’s information and receive the same IRS notices your client does.

 

Takeaways –

If you are a tax preparer, did you confirm receipt of any authorization letters you have sent the CAF unit?
Did you clarify your deadlines before you hung up?
Did you make sure there are no ‘other’ issues or IRS letters still pending?

Consult a qualified tax preparer.