When you hire a doctor or attorney, you expect them to have an expert level understanding of your situation and how they can remedy the problem you came to them with. Tax resolution is no different. While the IRS authorizes any Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney to represent a taxpayer before them in the collection process, these designations also serve other forms of representation such as tax preparation or bookkeeping. Each one of these credentials permits a professional to work in many capacities as a representative, but it is up to the professional to determine their area of focus and educate themselves on the ins and outs of the representation they choose to undertake.
With bookkeeping and accounting comes the requisite knowledge to adequately track the day to day revenue and expenses of a business and record it properly. There are countless accounting techniques that only someone with specific training and continuing education in the field of bookkeeping and accounting would know. With tax preparation comes the need to have an in depth working knowledge of the tax code to minimize each clients tax liability with a reasonable basis for each position taken. Tax resolution is no different than these two forms of representation and in fact requires a multitude of proficiencies.
Resolution work requires familiarity with the IRC and IRM, an ability to interpret a taxpayer’s entire situation and apply their needs to a resolution that fits, the ability to recognize when the IRS or state has stepped out of line and not followed proper procedure, knowledge on how to move from one resolution strategy to another seamlessly without exposing the taxpayer to enforced collection, and in an esoteric sense, the ability to motivate taxpayers to seek compliance and establish systems to prevent the issue that caused a need for resolution from recurring. These proficiencies cannot be gained by simply accessing software that assists with the completion of forms and documents required for a specific resolution option.
The key takeaway we want to leave each reader with is that while there are many ways tax professionals can foray into the resolution world, walking down that path should not be done under the guise that software designed to facilitate the resolution process will create the ability to provide excellent representation. Excellent representation comes from a working level understanding of the resolution process gained over time through study and work experience. Just as accounting software does not make you a competent accountant nor tax preparation software make you an expert at tax preparation, determining the best approach to resolving back tax debt cannot be determined by inputting data into a program.