Dealing With IRS Automated Collections: 5 Tips to make it easier

Posted by Michael S. Anderson | Nov 02, 2012 | 0 Comments

When the IRS “assesses” a debt or enters the amount you owe into it's system, the case is sent to the IRS Collections Division.

There are two types of IRS Debt Collectors:

1. The IRS Revenue Officer 2. IRS Automated Collections

In the very old days, the case always went to a warm body. Someone who could make a knock at the door and sits down with you at the kitchen table. In the 1980s, the IRS developed an automated system in an effort to streamline the collection process.

Most cases start with this system which is called the Automated Collection System (ACS). ACS employees have the authority to issue levies, correspond in writing and deal with you over the phone. The first verbal interaction with the IRS you will likely have, will be with an ACS Employee.

Dealing with the ACS Personnel Can be Frustrating Dealing with the IRS ACS can be frustrating for a variety of reasons. The most common are these:

1. The employees aren't always as knowledgeable as local Revenue Officers about substantive tax law. Most of the employees don't even know what your “rights” are. 2. The telephone wait can be very long. Calls are often dropped and mistakes are made on their end, causing the call wait time to re-start. 3. You will not be working with the same person every time you call. The new employee must read the previous employees' notes, which are often incomplete and surprisingly incorrect. 4. The ACS employee can be impersonal and will sometimes be rude. 5. The ACS employee won't/can't explain your legal options are and how they work. Many end up in a payment plan with the IRS that is much too high as a result. 6. The ACS employee's authority is limited. There are situations that fall outside their employee's guidelines and that will have to be dealt with by a Revenue Officer.

5 Tips that will make it easier to deal with ACS 1. Speak kindly. Rudeness may make the situation worse. ACS Employees will hang up the phone. A political lecture will go nowhere as well. If the employee is not following the law, ask for her manager. If the employee is rude, it may be best for you to hang up and try to call back later and deal with someone else.

2. Don't lie. The ACS employee is going to ask you a number of questions. It is a felony to give false information.

3. Speak with an experienced tax and bankruptcy attorney first. Knowledge will give you confidence and help you to avoid a mistake.

4. Be aware that the ACS employee isn't trying to help you. No matter how nice the ACS employee is, his goal is to get a payment amount from you to pay the debt in full. The employee doesn't care about bankruptcy, offer in compromise, or other legal options and unless you press the issue, he doesn't care that much about your actual budget.

5. Be prepared. Study the rules regarding installment agreements, non- collectible status, and IRS allowable budget standards. Know your income, budget and asset numbers cold.

About the Author

Michael S. Anderson

Michael Anderson has been representing Arizona clients with tax debt problems for two decades and has helped his clients eliminate millions of dollars in tax debt. His tax debt practice is limited to helping individuals and the self-employed who have serious IRS problems.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed consectetur. Donec sed odio dui. Maecenas sed diam eget risus varius blandit sit amet non magna. Nulla vitae elit libero, a pharetra augue. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Morbi leo risus, porta ac consectetur ac, vestibulum at eros. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas.

Contact Us Today

If you have an IRS problem, call our office and ask to speak with the Attorney about it. We like to discuss the situation on the phone for free to ask you some questions, answer some of yours, and to determine whether it may make sense for us to help. We’ve helped several thousand clients with tax debt problems over the last two decades. We’ll tell you the truth about your options and help you find the best one.