Tax Tip: How to Deal With the IRS

Here are some words of advice when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.

ByRICHARD DAVIES and ANDREW EVANS
February 23, 2015, 5:13 AM
PHOTO: Tax Tip: Choosing the Right Tax Preparer
Tax Tip: Choosing the Right Tax Preparer
Getty Images

— -- If you've ever had to deal with the Internal Revenue Service directly, you know it can be a bit intimidating.

"The IRS can be a really scary agency to interact with, especially under the stress of an audit, so it's the kind of thing that you really don't want to go it alone," said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block.

Pickering advises taxpayers not to communicate directly with the IRS unless they have to. Instead, have your tax preparer do it. Many of them can help you if you get audited.

IRS spokesman Eric Smith notes that there’s a Taxpayer Bill of Rights with ten provisions, including, "The right to appeal a decision made by the IRS."

He says taxpayers should know their rights: "The good thing to know is that if you think that we're wrong, you have an opportunity to appeal that," Smith says.

Also good to know: only one percent of tax returns get audited. This year, that number could be even less because of budget cuts.

If you do owe the IRS money, paying it back has never been easier.

The agency offers "Direct Pay," which allows you to pay your tax bill for free online, using your checking or savings account. You can find the service on IRS.gov.

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