Well, here’s a bit of an irony and slippery slope that is presented immediately for any taxpayer in Minnesota or elsewhere who is seeking to take purposeful action regarding a tax matter.

On the one hand, an IRS primer on back taxes and paying past-due amounts states that taxpayers with questions or concerns regarding past-due returns should call the agency for assistance.

On the other hand, well, see our blog post dated January 6. That entry describes the sad and almost unbelievable experience awaiting many American taxpayers who in good faith do seek to communicate with an IRS representative.

We noted comments from Nina Olson, the nation’s taxpayer advocate, in that entry stressing the outcome that taxpayers picking up the phone and calling the IRS can reasonably expect.

To wit, that is this: dead air. Olson says that the phone won’t even be picked up — ever — in about half of all calls incoming to the IRS.

That can make an already angst-ridden experience — namely, trying to deal responsibly with a past-due return — even more harrowing.

The bottom line in any case, though, and notwithstanding the hit-or-miss nature of a call to the IRS, is that any taxpayer with issues regarding back taxes or tax debt should seek to communicate without delay with the IRS, preferably in writing.

As the IRS notes, unpaid back taxes bring interest charges and other penalties that, in some cases, can be sobering and even stringent in the extreme. Those can include property seizures and criminal investigations.

A proven tax attorney commanding in-depth knowledge of federal tax law can answer questions and provide rigorous client representation in any matter involving the IRS.