You know the scene. You have seen it in hundreds of movies.
Boy finally works up the courage to call his crush. When she answers the phone, he freezes. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. He can’t find his voice. She says “hello” several times, but he doesn’t respond. Girl hangs up the phone. Then his nervous expression slowly turns into complete and utter sadness. Scene ends.
While this is only a movie scene, some of these emotions are also felt when calling the IRS. You finally worked up the courage to deal with this debt and are ready to deal with it head on. So what do you do? Immediately, call the phone number in the letter, right?
Trust me, your excitement of finally getting this done will most likely go from nervousness, to uncertainty, to what did I just say in seconds. It is not your fault. It is human nature. However, knowing that sequence of emotions will take a hold of you; makes it important that you prepare for that call. Think of it like having a plan for going to battle or preparing for a fight. So what is your battle plan? (Cue: Rocky theme song)
First, make sure you are physically prepared before the call. If you haven’t read my post on what this entitles, then click here and read that first.
Second, relax. No seriously, relax. I know it is a bit (or a lot) stressful, but you are not helping yourself by being stressed. So relax.
Third, once you finally get a hold of an IRS agent, make sure first to write down their name and IRS number.
Fourth, discuss with the agent what you planned to talk about as you outlined in step 2 of the prep blog. (You already read it, right? Seriously if you haven’t clicked here and read that first.)
Fifth, do more listening than talking. It is the IRS agent’s job to gather as much information as he can. Don’t offer additional information gratuitously. Listen to what he says and ask questions.
Lastly, take notes of your conversation, especially any deadlines you discussed. Our memories are not as good as we think.
And that my dear friend is how you have a constructive freeze-free moment conversation with the IRS. Now stop wasting time and go to prep yourself for your call. And don’t forget, don’t call on Mondays unless you have a lot of Netflix catching up to do.