Can You Believe What the IRS Commissioner Said?

The IRS released their 2022 list of the “Dirty Dozen” a few weeks ago, and there’s one thing that IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said that upset me. He said, “No one can get a better deal for taxpayers than they can usually get for themselves by working directly with the IRS to resolve their tax issues.” What? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I find this statement offensive and amusing at the same time because Chuck Rettig was in private practice for over 30 years in Beverly Hills and made a living (and a very good one I might add) from taxpayers hiring him to represent them before the IRS because he KNEW they couldn’t get a better deal on their own. I have seen firsthand how the IRS ruined people’s lives, padlocked their businesses because they tried working directly with the IRS. So, for Chuck Rettig to make a statement like that, I find it offensive, and you should too.

The vast majority of tax resolution practitioners are honest, reputable people who really care about their clients. They're not there to take their money and not do the work. Many people need our help today. In fact, 50 million people in this country have an IRS problem large enough that warrants professional representation.

These days calling the IRS and waiting to speak to a person can take hours. Taxpayers, by hiring a professional, eliminate one of the most basic but challenging obstacles a taxpayer with IRS debt faces, to reach a human representative at the IRS. Commissioner Rettig says, “Taxpayers can check online for their best deal, as well as calling a specialized collection line where they can get fast service by using voice and chat bots or opting to speak with a live phone assistor.” However, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported that in 2021 of the 282 million phone calls to the IRS only about 11% of those were answered.

And once a taxpayer reaches the IRS, they might not know how to interpret some of the basic information such as transcripts or the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED). They probably do not know that by filing an original return to replace the return the IRS did on their behalf, called a Substitute for Returns (SFR) they most likely can significantly lower their tax debt. They need an advocate, someone who can navigate the IRS maze and who is on their side. The IRS is not on the side of the taxpayer, the IRS has one goal: to assess taxes and collect what they believe they are owed, not to make sure the taxpayer receives the best deal.
Millions of people need to resolve their IRS issues. There are many non-filers. And even though they may not qualify for an offer in compromise, they still need help with an installment agreement, a partial pay installment agreement, a currently not collectible situation, perhaps an innocent spouse relief request or a penalty abatement request. There are numerous options besides an offer in compromise to resolve your taxpayer's issues. The vast majority of your tax resolution clients, over 70%, are not going to qualify for an offer in compromise. That is why I find Rettig’s statement unconscionable. He knows better.
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