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If the IRS comes calling, be prepared to answer

Few federal agencies in the U.S. have a more intimidating reputation than the Internal Revenue Service. All it takes is a letter from the IRS inquiring about tax issues to send a person into a spiral of fear, panic and anxiety.

However, it may be comforting to realize that the IRS cannot do whatever it wants. It has to comply with laws and procedures, and it is also quite capable of overstepping the line or making a mistake. That is why any person who is contacted by the IRS concerning a potential tax dispute may be wise to first consult an attorney who understands what an individual's rights are and how they must be protected.

For example, if a person receives a notice saying that he or she owes the IRS money for unpaid taxes, it can be crucial to remember that every person can first speak with an attorney about a questionable bill before responding. Too many people get scared and try to ignore the whole situation or assume they have no choice but to pay the bill.

But there are situations where a bill has been issued in error or is for an inaccurate amount, and paying the bill could only complicate matters further. In the event that someone wants to dispute a bill from the IRS, it is necessary to remember that this must be done in a specific manner. There can be significant amounts of paperwork, letters and phone calls involved, and this can prove to be overwhelming.

However, just because it can be complicated to file a challenge with IRS does not mean that people should just avoid it. Individuals can prepare for these situations by working with an attorney who is very familiar with the tax laws and codes in Minnesota and the U.S. as well as the workings of the IRS. Legal representation can be a valuable ally in a legal battle with a government agency.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Receiving a Tax Bill from the IRS," accessed on Oct. 9, 2014

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