“Government employees are there to assist you with your tax issues,” De la Chaussee said. “Employees should provide you with potential consequences and cures to tax problems. Don’t be afraid of these employees. They are there to help you, as well as do their jobs.”
No one knows that better than Scott Mitchell, who managed to work his way out of debt with the IRS by paying attention to information provided by its employees.
Mitchell now writes an advice blog called “Debt Kid.”
“I had to meet with an IRS agent in 2007 to settle a back tax issue for my business,” Mitchell said. “At the time I was about $200,000 in debt and about to file bankruptcy, so I wasn’t exactly flush and had creditors down my back 24/7.”
Mitchell says the IRS ended up being his favorite creditor. The agency allowed him to set up a payment plan for his debt and was very understanding of his dire financial situation.
“I was just 100 percent open and honest with them,” he said. “Meet them in person if you can. It brings a human element to their job that I think the agent appreciates, and will actually be better for you than just dealing with them over the phone or mail.”
De la Chaussee said that even when your assets are under levy, garnishment or seizure, options are available to help you.
“I cannot give you the answers for every type of situation," she said. "That is a question for a tax attorney, CPA or enrolled agent. But there are processes, procedures and legal means to redeem seized assets. (And) no, it is not bankruptcy filing.”