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The Power of Teamwork

September 01, 2012 | Written by: Marshall Thompson, EA
Group of five professionals working on a case
The following story is about the exceptional service provided by a TaxResources team. With more than five tax professionals on the case, it is a great example of how we put the power of our organization’s skills and experience to work to solve our member’s problems each day.

The member sent us a notice proposing a 10% penalty for early distribution from a retirement plan. Elvie faxed a response to the IRS service center explaining that the distribution had been used to pay medical and higher education expenses and therefore the balance due should be $19. But after following up with IRS and being told there was no record of the response, she faxed it again and let the member know what was going on. The member became upset, threatened legal action, and demanded to talk to a manager. Elvie discussed the case with her Team Lead Sergio, and he escalated it to Sherry, his manager.

Sherry discussed the case with the member. She explained how the IRS processes responses and the delays that often occur. The member he said he questioned how we do business and that he planned to contact “higher ups” about his case.

Elvie contacted the IRS and was told that our second response had not been received. She faxed the response a third time and also mailed an additional copy as a back-up. A couple of days later we received a Notice of Deficiency (NOD) for the case, giving us a final deadline of 90 days to resolve the issue or petition the U. S. Tax Court.

When Elvie explained to the member that we had received the NOD he was again upset and said he would send a letter of complaint both to the IRS and to the owner of TaxResources. He did not want to file a tax court petition because of other potential issues on his return.

Elvie contacted the IRS and explained that she had faxed the response three times and had also mailed it when she had learned that the IRS had not received it. Elvie requested that an IRS manager call her. Then she updated the member, who said he had spoken to his Senator and requested a congressional inquiry if the case could not be resolved.

Dave, the Vice President of Tax Services, received a communication from a partner company asking him to provide any documents the member requested and to call the member to discuss the case. Dave contacted the member, apologized many times and promised to push to have the IRS confirm receipt of our response.

At this point Sherry transferred the case to me. I called member to introduce myself and listened to his description of the case history. I promised to send him any documents requested, and to follow up using every avenue available. I said I would call with updates according to any schedule he desired. In addition, I promised to let him know when any action was taken on his case. I explained that Elvie had not received a call from the IRS manager and that Dave had contacted an IRS liaison in his area for help.

I contacted the IRS AUR unit and requested that a manager call me back to expedite processing our response. I was told that my request would not be entered in the system because the AUR rep knew that a manager would not call me back.

I called the National Taxpayer Advocate Service and explained:

  1. We have sent our response four times and the service center has not acknowledged receipt.
  2. We requested that an IRS manager contact us twice to expedite the case and both times the AUR representative refused to enter the request in the system.
  3. The taxpayer has received a statutory notice which creates a potential financial hardship.
  4. We are requesting assistance in obtaining an acknowledgement of our response and in expediting processing of the response.

The TAS agent assigned to the case called within the promised time period and said she could help. I continued to call the service center and eventually was able to confirm that our response had been received and that an auditor had been assigned to the case.

I called the service center repeatedly and persistently until the examiner finally told me that the case was being closed with a $19 balance due matching our response. I immediately phoned the member to explain that the IRS had closed the case. He was both pleased and relieved, and so was our entire team.

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