Q: Isn’t it best to hire an ex-IRS agent to handle my tax debt problem?
A: Not necessarily. Just because someone is an ex-IRS agent doesn’t mean that they really have the appropriate knowledge or temperment to handle your tax debt matter appropriately. There are many divisions of the IRS. They do not all have to do with the collection of taxes. For example, the audit division never deals with tax collection. All that they deal with is checking the accuracy of various types of tax returns. An IRS auditor is called a Revenue Agent. A person who works for the IRS in the tax collection division is called a Revenue Officer. Obviously an ex-revenue officer is going to know more about tax collection matters than an ex-revenue agent. There are many other types of IRS employees. Some IRS employees, when they quit or retire from the IRS want to get into the business of representing tax debtors. All they have to do is take a test to become what is known as an Enrolled Agent and then they can take on representing people with tax debt collection problems.
This doesn’t mean that they have any practical experience in tax debt collection matters even though they used to work for the IRS.
There are a couple of other issues that you need to consider when hiring someone to represent you in tax matters. Many times there are other legal issues involved such as State marital and divorce laws, real estate laws and business laws. The only type of representative that is qualified to recognize these other types of legal issues as they affect tax debt collection is an attorney. There are many times that State legal matters must be dealt with before appropriate relief can be obtained under the Federal tax statutes. Only a duly licensed attorney can handle these matters. Also, there may be a question as to whether you may need to think about bankruptcy. Again, the only qualified person to advise you is a licensed attorney.
The last issue to consider is not always a problem, but when it is you won’t be able to see it. Many people who work for the IRS for their entire adult lives have trouble seeing tax issues from the side of a person who has not paid their taxes. Sometimes this attitude prevents such a person from effectively coming up with creative ways to solve your tax problem.
Always ask questions about a persons specific background and work in the IRS. However, it is normally best to be represented by an attorney who will be able to see all legal issues that might be involved and will then have the ability to deal with them.