What is the purpose of the IRS’ Automated Collection System?

The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Automated Collection System, which is often called the Automated Collection Service or ACS, is the system used by the IRS to track information about taxpayers, specifically those taxpayers who owe past due taxes.  The ACS stores two primary buckets of information about a taxpayer.  First is information about follow up that has been performed with a taxpayer who owes delinquent taxes (e.g., phone calls placed to the taxpayer, messages left with the taxpayer, phone calls received from the taxpayer, letters mailed to the taxpayer).  Second is information about the taxpayer’s assets and liabilities, which is used in an effort to estimate how much money the taxpayer can afford to pay and how quickly on a balance due.

While an agent of the IRS is involved in any detailed discussions with a taxpayer about their situation and steps they can take to resolve issues related to back taxes due, the ACS drives the next steps in the follow-up process with the taxpayer.  This follow up is driven by a series of programmatic steps within the ACS, which have been pre-determined by the IRS based on experience to be most effective at getting an IRS agent in live contact with a taxpayer and in ultimately collecting the amount due.

Taxpayers who owe delinquent taxes have likely received notifications—both in writing and via phone calls—from the ACS.  If you have not experienced it already, you will likely soon see how thorough the IRS can be at following up with a taxpayer with reminders that they expect payment.  If the taxpayer continues to ignore these reminders, the IRS will escalate the process to seek a judgment against the taxpayer that can result in a garnishment of wages earned and a lien on the taxpayer’s residence.  However, remember that the IRS’s ultimate goal is to keep you in the tax-paying system.  If you are willing to work with them, there is room for them to establish a payment plan or perhaps accept an Offer in Compromise.  An Offer in Compromise is when the IRS accepts a lower amount of money from a taxpayer in lieu of full payment of past taxes due.

Should I work with a tax attorney when negotiating with the IRS?

Although the IRS may be willing to accept an Offer in Compromise or establish another type of payment plan with a given taxpayer depending on the taxpayer’s individual situation, the taxpayer’s inability to pay the full amount of tax due must be established in the eyes of the IRS.  Establishing this case often takes the knowledge of a professional such as a tax attorney who knows the tax law, the rights the law gives to taxpayers, and has experience in working with the IRS.

If you owe delinquent taxes to the IRS, complete the short evaluation found at http://www.offerincompromiselawyer.com/Tax-Relief.php and a tax attorney will review your situation free of charge.  The review is 100% confidential and there is no obligation.  If you owe past due taxes, it is not unusual for a tax lawyer to be able to work with the IRS on your behalf to negotiate an Offer in Compromise or other payment plan that reduces your tax burden.  Therefore, please seek help today.