The Philosophical Foundations Of My Approach To IRS Negotiations

The Philosophical Foundations Of My Approach To IRS Negotiations

The Philosophical Foundations Of My Approach To IRS Negotiations

Throughout my career, my interactions with clients have naturally woven into my philosophical approach toward IRS negotiations, stemming directly from my personality and the realities I’ve witnessed within the complex landscape of tax negotiations. The phrases I employ, such as referencing “brain damage” and performing “intellectual back flips,” are not merely artistic flourishes for this book, but real descriptors of the cognitive and strategic efforts I exert when engaging in these negotiations.

My journey into the intricate world of IRS discussions, whether dealing with revenue officers, summonses, or other entities, always encompasses an acknowledgment that these paths are never straightforward. My clients appreciate this transparency and the resultant setting of accurate expectations, comprehending that while the process may be time-consuming and intricate, my dedication will unfailingly help them navigate through the complexities they face.

The History Of Negotiation Methodology And Law And Why It Is So Important

Back when I was involved in corporate litigation, particularly in the realm of financial matters, the role of lawyers in finalizing transactions was evident. Whether it’s a straightforward contract or a complex merger and acquisition deal, lawyers play a pivotal role in turning a handshake agreement into a legally binding document. The essence of what a lawyer brings to the table lies in the act of putting the terms on paper, ensuring they are well-vetted, and thereby legitimizing the transaction.

Despite the plethora of lawyer jokes and the love-hate relationship people have with them, their presence is indispensable in this process. Negotiation is an integral part of this journey. In many instances, one or more parties involved may not fully comprehend their rights, especially in cases where one party, like the IRS, is represented and the other isn’t. This is where a lawyer’s negotiation skills come into play: A proficient lawyer can negotiate both efficiently and effectively.

While there are instances where legal counsel may excel in one aspect of the process while faltering in the other, the true value emerges when a lawyer can excel at both, providing comprehensive representation to their client or business. It is counterproductive to burden a business with exorbitant legal fees just to conclude a negotiation. On the other hand, securing a bargain deal that ultimately falls apart is equally detrimental. Thus, the importance of having a lawyer who possesses the prowess to negotiate adeptly, legitimize contracts, elucidate the rationale behind their actions to the client, and present viable options cannot be overstated. Ultimately, the lawyer’s role is to leave the client content with the negotiated outcome while offering the assurance that the process was executed correctly.

Exploring The Nuances Of Tax Negotiation

Tax negotiation unveils its uniqueness through the lens of the distinct power dynamics between the taxpayer and the IRS. With the latter often being perceived as almost omnipotent, a tax attorney becomes a critical intermediary, serving as a shield between the taxpayer and the potent authority of IRS officers or appeals officers. It is essential that clients feel secure, understanding that they have an advocate in their corner, safeguarding them from the metaphorical lions at the gate. An anecdote from an interaction with a client, a Colorado restaurant owner facing seemingly straightforward tax issues, highlights this effectively. Although the situation might have been resolved without legal intervention, the client firmly underscored the value of having an expert navigate the tax waters, humorously asserting, “I’ll cook the chicken, you call the state.”

In this realm, tax attorneys often don the cap of a psychologist, offering reassurance and guidance through the taxing process while also ensuring clients don’t pay more than the law demands. At times, aiming for a more favorable and intangible outcome than expected becomes the target during negotiations with tax authorities.  This is achieved by perpetually upholding the principle of offering peace of mind to clients and ensuring that strategies are transparent and agreed upon.

Navigating Through Different Business Scenarios

A myriad of scenarios exists where businesses might find themselves entwined in tax negotiations. Taking one case as an example, a client in New York, despite having corporate protections for substantial personal assets, was an Officer an entity that incurred significant tax liability due to running a payroll-intensive business. Once the IRS began to send notices and pursue Collections, the necessity to protect not only the business’s accounts, but also that Officer’s substantial and now exposed personal became paramount. Thus, the involvement of an attorney was crucial to confirm a strategy that safeguarded assets while simultaneously stopping the financial “bleeding” and emotional turmoil the client was experiencing personally This entailed ensuring compliance, starting tax payments, and aligning returns, followed by setting up a payment arrangement to prevent the IRS from seizing BOTH personal and business equipment or assets.

Complex scenarios also unfold, such as divorce cases where a spouse may be hiding assets behind numerous entities, requiring a forensic audit to unearth those funds and assist in family law cases. Addressing lien identification is another common task, such as a challenging case where, amidst the tragedy of the recently well publicized Colorado wildfires, a client sought to purchase a new home. Here, the negotiation skills of a tax attorney became pivotal to working with the state and the IRS, ensuring lien releases and verifying the same with the title company and underwriter, thereby allowing individuals to move beyond financial encumbrances.

Negotiating With Pragmatism And Professionalism

In my experience, having grown up in Colorado, embarking on a journey to learn the legal practice in Syracuse, New York and then returning home to Colorado, the variance in legal negotiation styles became starkly evident. Whereas Syracuse’s methodology leaned towards an assertive, “hammer-like” approach, Denver offered a perspective that prioritized pragmatism and forethought in negotiations.

Transitioning from litigation to negotiation, it became evident that approaching IRS agents with a demeanor that is professional, pragmatic, and expecting perfection without aggressive overtones proved to be more effective. Today, I’ve found that successfully engaging with IRS agents requires you to build a reputation that encourages them to work with you rather than pushes them to avoid interaction due to your bulldog-like reputation.

Revenue officers, appeals officers, group managers, and territory managers have often demonstrated a preference to work with negotiators who employ a non-aggressive, pragmatic methodology over those who adopt a highly aggressive stance. So it’s clear: Balancing professionalism with forethought and straightforwardness emerges as a winning formula in IRS negotiations, thus ensuring the attorney protects their client’s interests while maintaining a cooperative relationship with tax authorities.

For more information on Tax Negotiation Mythology, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 720-6573 today.

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