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How to Determine What Your Tax Representation Prospect Qualifies For

An African American man with glasses sitting at a desk in an office with tax papers looking for tax representation

When I am working with a new client I take them through the 3 phases of tax representation. I share what those 3 phases are with my clients so they know what to expect. I teach tax professionals who I mentor to do the same. Those 3 phases are:

2 - Compliance

3 - Negotiation with the IRS

After doing this for over half a decade it seems simple to me. I've come to realize that a lot of tax professionals don't follow this process. They attempt to go straight to negotiating with the IRS and fail.

Or worse, they never even get their prospects to become a client. I'm going to walk you through the process. You can determine what your prospect qualifies with them on the phone.

There are certain questions that you should ask to see what criteria they meet. Your instinct should not be to go straight to a 433-A(OIC). Take them through a list of questions to determine if they are a good candidate for an offer in compromise. And if they aren't, all hope is not lost. There are other negotiation options they may be eligible for.

But you won't know until you ask the right questions. So let's get right into what those questions are.

What Should I Ask a Tax Representation Client?

The first thing you want to determine is how much the client owes and for what years. In my experience, when a taxpayer has a tax debt they owe more than one department of revenue. They owe their state and sometimes their city as well. In their mind they owe taxes and they lump it all together. If you decide to represent them before the IRS and their state, that is two separate engagements.

I like to get a rough estimate of how much they owe on my intake form when they book their call. This allows me to control the conversation. When I get on the phone I am confirming that amount. Once I confirm the amount I ask if they know how much debt is for each year. I let them know that if any tax returns are missing this amount may go up. But if we work together I will confirm if any returns are missing.

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