Coronavirus and Tax Resolution Opportunities with Larry Lawler of the ASTPS

Larry and Michael go back nearly twenty years. Larry began the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers to specifically foster education in the area of tax resolution. It’s a place where practitioners can learn and also meet other people in the same industry as them.

[4:10] What is tax problem resolution? Simply put, if someone has a problem with the IRS, a tax resolution specialist can come in and solve that problem.

[6:35] Larry’s company was initially doing tax resolution work whenever it came along in between tax preparation cases. At that time, tax resolution wasn’t really a thing that people could do professionally but the jobs they did motivated them because it was difficult for people to get the answers.

[8:15] Larry remembers that the first tax resolution clients he worked with had come from other tax preparation companies, how in the process he learned how different the work was and how surprisingly good at it they were.

[9:50] Larry was thinking the IRS would waive penalties in light of the coronavirus pandemic but probably not push back the filing date. At this point every firm is playing it by ear as the situation is developing and changing each day. Larry’s company has decided to turn every tax return into a dropoff case in order to avoid getting his team sick.

[13:10] Out of adversity comes opportunity. All of the companies that have been resisting adapting to the updates in technology are now looking at integrating it as quickly as they can in order to stay in business. Working remotely is a real possibility for most knowledge workers, and that includes tax resolution and preparation.

[15:35] Software companies and the IRS are turning tax preparation and tax compliance work into a commodity. There are a number of free ways for people to file their taxes so the compliance side of the practice is almost required to stay in business. Tax resolution can’t be commoditized.

[18:50] The IRS was decimated years ago but Congress recently appropriated over $300 million for a new enforcement fund, which indicates an increase in enforcement over the next few years. Data mining is going to be a new technique for the IRS that is going to really boost their ability to collect taxes.

[22:50] Tax resolution specialists are not in the business of helping people cheat, they are not tax protesters. They are in business to help people resolve problems.

[23:40] Pricing and fees are a major advantage of tax resolution services over regular tax preparation or compliance work. The same amount of energy goes into a $500 tax compliance case as it does for a $5000 tax resolution case. The deferred revenue is also a big benefit of this kind of work.

[30:30] Now is the perfect time to master the skill of closing a deal with a client over the phone. It doesn’t have to replace what you’re already doing, you can do it in addition to having clients come into the office if that’s how you currently do things, but now you have a great excuse to implement phone closings.

[32:30] There are 14 million people in the crosshairs of the IRS’ sights right now, and about 7 to 8 million are classified as non-filers, many of whom tax practitioners look down on as potential clients. Making a judgement on those people is a big mistake. If they understood the potential of tax resolution work and what it’s worth, they would reconsider how they approach these types of clients. All they have to do is understand the rules and build up their confidence.

[40:50] If you want to learn the nuts and bolts of how to resolve a client’s tax resolution problem, go to the American Society Of Tax Problem Solvers. If you want to learn how to get the client in the first place, go to rozstrategies.com.

[41:50] One thing that many tax practitioners don’t realize about tax resolution is that the deadlines are more flexible, and when you combine that with the ability to really help people solve some intractable problems while making more money, it becomes a very attractive option for anyone considering the business right now.

[44:15] Tax problems affect all areas of life and the vast majority of them are the result of people’s difficult life events that got them into trouble. Tax resolution work is a great way to help people, help yourself, and have a much more comfortable practice.

[49:30] The best way to get started in the tax resolution business is to come to Larry’s two and a half day bootcamp. All of that information can be found on the American Society Of Tax Problem Solvers website.

[51:25] Michael and Larry have both seen the two most recent economic upheavals in living memory and both times were some of the highest revenue periods in the business. The next year is likely going to be a similar opportunity for tax resolution specialists.

[50:50] How the client is going to pay you is up to them, but when going up against the IRS, people get very creative and resourceful. Where they get the money to pay you is not your problem. Just tell them what the fee is and if they come up with it, do a good job for them.

Mentioned in this episode:
American Society Of Tax Problem Solvers
Michael Rozbruch’s Tax & Business Solutions Academy