August 01, 2012 | Written by: Ka-Ryn Escovedo, Karen Luckart, Gladys Gonzales and Melissa Leonard
Audits can be time-consuming, stressful, and serious. When members first contact us for assistance, they can be panicked or confused about where to start and what to do. While our number one priority is to resolve our members’ tax issues as quickly and successfully as possible, our employees spend quite a bit of their days working hard to reduce our members’ anxieties about the audit process.
Our Audit Coordinator Department is responsible for making sure a member is being taken care of during the entire time we are representing them. This often means that our Audit Coordinators talk to members several times during the audit and get to know them very well. This month, we want to share a few stories of the wonderful customer service our Audit Coordinators provide, and the patience and understanding they exhibit when helping our members get through to the other side.
The stories below come from Audit Coordinators of the “Transformers” Team.
In her post below, Audit Coordinator Karen Luckart remembers a case that required an extra dose of patience and understanding, given the member’s age and situation.
The members had reported a NY State notice. After being assigned the case, I called the members to introduce myself. A woman answered the phone, and as usual I stated my name and was getting ready to begin my standard introduction when I quickly realized that this was going to take a little longer than a normal phone call. A very faint female voice repeated, “Hello, Hello, Hello.” After each “hello” I stated my name and after the fourth time, she repeated my name back to me. She asked me where I was calling from and I said, “Tax Resources Inc.” She simply replied “OK,” then asked me to hold on. When she returned, she said that she had to turn her husband’s oxygen machine off. She explained that both she and her husband were in their eighties and lived in a retirement home. She said they didn’t have access to anything and that they knew exactly what the mistake was, but that the amount the State of New York was asking for was, while small, "out of control.”
I assured her that we were here to assist her and began reminding her of the documents that we would need to help her. She then asked me to repeat the information and asked me to hold on so that she could get a pen and paper. She then requested that I explain in detail exactly what documents we would need and why we needed them. I was happy to explain the process and also how to send the documents. She explained to me that she didn’t have access to a computer or fax and would have to go to a post office and mail the documents. I assured her that it was fine to mail them, and that I would follow up with her once I received her documents. She stated that she would like that. I continued to help her as much as I could, and at the end of the call she said that she appreciated our services and my help.
In the post below, Audit Coordinator Gladys Gonzales shares how sometimes, simply reassuring the member goes a long way in helping them through the process.
Before calling the member on this particular case, I had been told by a representative in our Membership Services Department that she was very anxious about her case. The member was being audited for three years – 2009, 2010, and 2011 – which for anyone would be a very stressful experience. She was very concerned about how we would be able to help her.
Keeping this in mind, I called the member for my introductory call. I explained to the member the items I needed and I requested they be sent in as soon as possible in order to begin our process promptly. The member was very worried about the audit and was even concerned that the auditor was “out to get her.” She was very frantic, and I realized it was because she felt she was alone in this difficult and extensive process.
I explained to her the process at TaxResources and reassured her that we were on her side and would do our very best to help her throughout her case. After almost a two hour phone call reassuring the member, time and time again, that we were on her side and requesting the documents needed, she finally felt at ease.
What she said at the end of the call is what makes my job worth it. She stated that the best decision she ever made was purchasing audit defense, and she loved how the representatives at TaxResources were so helpful, knowledgeable, and understanding. I was happy I could help reassure her.
One of the most crucial components of assisting members with their cases is collecting important tax documents and information from the member. In the post below, Team Lead Melissa Leonard describes one case where this proved especially challenging:
From the beginning, we were having difficulty reaching this member and gathering what we needed to help him. An important part of representing taxpayers is making sure we have a complete file regarding their current tax and financial situation. Many times we cannot move forward with the case unless we have this information, and it was a challenge to collect the necessary documents from this member.
After the assigned Audit Coordinator realized this case would need some extra attention, I contacted him. After a very lengthy phone call, I was able to get the member to agree to complete our questionnaires and sign the documents that allowed us to speak to the IRS on his behalf. This case ended up lasting almost a year, from September 2011 to July 2012. The case proved challenging, but as a collective team between the Audit Coordinator, the Audit Representative, and me, we were able to complete the audit and accomplish representation that we, as a company, were pleased with.
I believe that we provided exceptional service throughout the duration of the case, as the amount of time that it took was well beyond what would normally be required by an AC.
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