I have a three-year-old grandson who I just love to death. It is great fun to spoil him during the short visits we have with his out-of-town parents. Watching him has taught me a few lessons about dealing with the IRS which I want to share with you:

  1. Emails

The boy won’t stop talking, I mean nonstop chatter.   Some of it is really funny and some of it is just attention seeking – but all of it is nonstop.

The same is true for our emails.   I used to give my cell phone number and my email address to others until both my phone and computer literally blew up with nonstop questions, ideas, confessions, and other dribble. The IRS knows that we have this need to send emails and now routinely seeks copies of all emails which we may have sent to our attorneys, accountants, business partners, staff, etc. Since much of tax law turns on our intentions, emails can have us testifying against ourselves.

Folks, Hillary Clinton and IRS division director Lois Lerner are daily reminders of the risks of needless emails. Hillary deleted nearly 30,000 of them and Lois had to claim the Fifth Amendment against self-discrimination when she testified before Congress.  Both are trying to avoid potential criminal prosecution.

The point is – STOP!  And if you can’t or won’t then write them as if a grand jury is reading them. Some day that may be the case. Don’t let the best evidence against you be your own emails.

  1. Tax Advisers on TV

My grandson is mesmerized by TV commercials and jingles. It seems that people in tax trouble are also. Some of the hardest cases I have worked on came after an 800 number or other unqualified TV based representative had been handling the case. Numerous key deadlines had lapsed and the case was in the hands of an IRS collection agent or IRS attorney who was angry and fed up.

Recently I became involved in yet another IRS collection case with a revenue officer who had real hostility towards the prior 800-number representative and the prior also unqualified representative. As in most cases, both charged a lot of money, responded poorly or not at all to proper requests for information, and were generally unavailable to both the agent and the taxpayer. Worst of all, they had allowed the time periods for certain due process rights to expire. The IRS was determined to close the business and all the employees would lose their jobs. The agent ultimately relented, but only after the 800-number and subsequent unqualified representative were both gone, gone, gone.

The same is true for some enrolled agents and some accountants. Tax law is complicated and often involves legal issues. An enrolled agent, accountant and former IRS flunkies who are working for 800 numbers are typically unqualified to handle legal issues before the IRS or in court. I have spoken with numerous IRS attorneys who have been embittered by that nonsense.

The point is – don’t fall prey to TV advertisers or 800 numbers.

  1. Accountant Fees – vaccines

My grandson hates going to the doctor and getting vaccinations. We all know what a vaccine is, a preventative act designed to prevent a much more dangerous problem. We all get vaccines for medical issues. I submit that paying a good accountant to keep good records and prepare good tax returns is an important vaccine against IRS audits.

Over the years I have encountered hundreds of IRS cases that the taxpayer could have defeated if they had better records and better tax returns. Money spent on a good accountant is a well spent vaccine and it is deductible.

Folks, I have a three-year-old grandson who is a nonstop talker (emails), hates doctors (vaccines), and believes everything he sees on TV (including 800-number advertising). I urge you not to do the same.