Receiving a phone call from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can trigger a mix of emotions—concern, confusion, and even anxiety. When the IRS reaches out to discuss your tax debt, it’s crucial to approach the situation calmly, armed with knowledge, and a well-informed plan. Understanding your rights, verifying the legitimacy of the call, and taking proactive measures can help you confidently address the situation and work towards resolving your tax debt.
IRS tax debt collection agents are highly skilled at what they do, and they know what to say to get the information they need. It is important to be aware of your rights when the debt collector calls and to say just enough to buy yourself some more time. Then, it is recommended that you contact an experienced debt collection attorney, who can help assess whether you owe the debt and try to set up a fair payment arrangement on your behalf.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC
If you need help from an attorney that knows how to fight aggressively against IRS tax debt collectors and ensure that your legal rights are protected, Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC is the person for your case. He has over 26 years of experience in Texas helping protect the rights of taxpayers and fight against the unlawful practices of debt collectors.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC is recognized by the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas and has gained significant recognition for his experience and skills. He can help you understand your rights, assess whether the debt is valid, organize a fair payment plan, and fight on your behalf.
Things an IRS Tax Debt Collector Cannot Do
When collecting debt, the IRS is subject to certain limitations to ensure fair and lawful practices. The IRS cannot:
- Use Abusive Language or Threats: The IRS is prohibited from using abusive language, threats of violence, or any form of harassment during debt collection.
- Contact You at Inappropriate Times: The IRS cannot contact you at unreasonable hours, usually defined as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Garnish Exempt Income: Certain types of income, such as Social Security benefits and certain public assistance payments, are exempt from garnishment by the IRS.
- Seize All Assets: The IRS cannot seize all of your assets, leaving you with nothing to cover basic living expenses.
- Ignore Your Right to Representation: You have the right to be represented by a tax professional during communications with the IRS. The IRS must respect this right.
- Contact Third Parties Excessively: The IRS cannot repeatedly contact third parties, like family members or employers, about your debt unless it’s necessary for collection efforts.
- Threaten Arrest: The IRS cannot threaten to have you arrested for unpaid taxes. Criminal charges are distinct from civil debt collection.
- Demand Payment Through Specific Methods: The IRS will not demand immediate payment via prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers. Valid payments are typically made through checks, electronic funds transfers, or the official IRS payment platforms.
Understanding these limitations can help you navigate interactions with the IRS while protecting your rights and ensuring a fair debt collection process.
What Should You Not Say to the IRS Debt Collectors?
When dealing with IRS debt collectors, it’s important to be cautious about what you say to ensure that you don’t inadvertently worsen your situation. Here are some things you should avoid saying to IRS debt collectors:
- Admitting to the Debt: Avoid outright admitting to the debt if you’re uncertain about its validity. Ask for written documentation first to confirm the debt’s accuracy.
- Sharing Sensitive Information: Never share personal or financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account details, or credit card information, over the phone. The IRS already has this information and won’t ask for it.
- Agreeing to Pay without Verification: Don’t agree to make payments or provide financial information without verifying the legitimacy of the call and the debt. Request official written notice before taking any action.
- Making Empty Promises: Avoid making promises you can’t keep, such as agreeing to pay an amount you can’t afford. Be honest about your financial situation to find a viable solution.
- Engaging in Arguments: Stay calm and avoid arguing with debt collectors. Emotional exchanges can escalate the situation and hinder productive communication.
- Threatening or Abusive Language: Keep the conversation professional and respectful. Threats or abusive language can lead to further complications.
- Giving Out Personal Information: Don’t provide information about family members, employers, or others without a clear understanding of why it’s necessary. Limit the information you share to what’s relevant.
- Accepting Immediate Settlement Offers: Be cautious of immediate settlement offers that seem too good to be true. Consult a tax professional before agreeing to any settlement terms.
- Ignoring Your Rights: Don’t ignore your rights as a taxpayer. You have the right to representation and the right to dispute the debt if you believe it’s incorrect.
- Making Definitive Statements: Avoid making definitive statements about your ability to pay or your intentions without consulting a tax professional. Making incorrect statements can complicate negotiations.
- Impersonal or Deceptive Communication: If you’re working with a tax professional or representative, ensure that the IRS is aware of their involvement. Don’t give the impression that you’re speaking on their behalf without proper authorization.
Navigating conversations with IRS debt collectors requires careful consideration and a clear understanding of your rights. When in doubt, request written documentation, consider seeking professional advice, and prioritize open and honest communication without oversharing personal or financial information.
What Should I Do if an IRS Debt Collector Calls?
If you receive a call from an IRS tax debt collector, it’s essential to handle the situation calmly and strategically. Follow these steps to ensure that you’re addressing the call effectively and protecting your rights:
- Stay Calm: Remain composed and avoid panicking. A calm demeanor will help you communicate clearly and make informed decisions.
- Verify the Caller’s Identity: Politely ask for the caller’s full name, badge number, and a call-back number. Legitimate IRS representatives will provide this information upon request.
- Do Not Share Sensitive Information: Never share personal or financial information over the phone, as the IRS already has access to this data. Protect your sensitive details to prevent potential scams.
- Request Written Notice: Inform the caller that you would like to receive written notice of the tax debt issue. The IRS is required to send an official notice by mail, allowing you to verify the debt’s accuracy.
- Confirm the Debt Details: Once you receive the written notice, review it carefully to ensure that the debt’s details match your records. Cross-reference the tax year, amount owed, penalties, and interest.
- Gather Documentation: Collect relevant documents, such as tax returns, payment receipts, and any correspondence with the IRS. This information will help you discuss your case accurately.
- Contact the IRS Directly: Use the official contact information provided on the IRS website to communicate with them directly. Avoid using contact details given during the initial call to ensure legitimacy.
- Consult a Tax Professional: If you’re unsure about how to handle the situation, seek advice from a tax professional or attorney. They can provide guidance and represent your interests.
- Understand Your Options: Familiarize yourself with available options for addressing tax debt, such as payment plans, offers in compromise, and currently not collectible status.
- Respond Promptly: If you’re ready to address the debt, respond to the IRS promptly. Ignoring the situation can lead to additional penalties and interest.
- Document Everything: Keep records of all communications with the IRS, including names of representatives, dates, times, and summaries of conversations.
- Protect Against Scams: Be cautious of potential scams. The IRS will never threaten immediate arrest, demand payment via specific methods like gift cards, or request sensitive information over the phone.
- Stay Informed: Educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities as a taxpayer. The IRS provides resources on its official website to help you navigate the process.
Dealing with IRS tax debt collectors requires a combination of caution, knowledge, and assertiveness. By following these steps, you can confidently address the situation, protect your interests, and work towards a favorable resolution of your tax debt.
Receiving an IRS Tax Debt Collection Lawsuit Summons
Receiving an IRS debt collection lawsuit summons is a serious matter that demands immediate attention. A lawsuit summons is a formal notice that you are being sued by the IRS to collect a tax debt. Upon receiving this summons, take the following steps promptly:
- Read Carefully: Carefully read the summons to understand the allegations, deadline for response, and court details.
- Consult a Tax Attorney: Seek legal advice from a tax attorney experienced in IRS matters. They can guide you on the appropriate response.
- Gather Documentation: Collect all relevant tax documents, communications with the IRS, and any evidence that can support your case.
- Respond Timely: Respond within the specified timeframe, either by filing an answer or contacting the IRS to discuss a settlement.
- Do Not Ignore: Ignoring the summons can lead to a default judgment against you. Address the issue promptly to protect your rights.
- Negotiate or Settle: Work with your tax attorney to negotiate with the IRS for a settlement or payment plan that aligns with your financial situation.
- Appear in Court: If required, attend court proceedings. Your attorney can represent you and present your case.
- Comply with Orders: Adhere to court orders and deadlines. Failure to comply can result in further legal actions.
Receiving an IRS debt collection lawsuit summons necessitates immediate legal action. Your tax attorney can help navigate the legal process, protect your interests, and work towards a resolution that minimizes the impact on your financial well-being.
Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC Today!
Receiving a call from the IRS about your tax debt may initially seem daunting, but by following these steps, you can take control of the situation and work towards a resolution that aligns with your financial capabilities. Remember to stay calm, verify the authenticity of the caller, and refrain from sharing sensitive information. Your rights as a taxpayer are paramount, and the IRS is obligated to provide written notice of any tax debt issues.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has been helping taxpayers in Texas with managing debt and debt collectors for over 26 years. Through his experience, he has seen firsthand how these agencies behave in order to take money from people. He knows how to fight against these debt collectors and ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Once you contact Ronald Arthur Stearns, he will speak with a debt collector on your behalf, advise you on your legal rights, dispute the debt if there are any legal grounds, or help set up a payment plan to repay the debt in a way that suits you. He will help ensure that you are not treated unfairly by debt collectors and that you get the full protection of the law.
Call today to set up a consultation with Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC at 210-853-2135.