‘Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’
Negotiating With the IRS Really Pays Off
A $100,000 Tax Debt is Eliminated!
By the time I met with Greg Spindle (this is a pseudonym), Greg owed a total of $100,000 to the IRS. He also had a tax lien filed against him. To make matters worse, Greg had been visited by a revenue officer, an IRS agent whose job is to go to people’s homes and businesses in an attempt to solicit the information they need to collect owed back taxes. However, before we took the case, Greg was trying to negotiate for himself, but it wasn’t going very well. The IRS gave him an offer: Pay the IRS $4,000 a month until the $100,000 tax bill is paid. $4,000 is a lot to ask of anyone, especially when they have other bills to pay. Seeing the mountain ahead, we took on Greg’s case. The first thing we suggested was for Greg to get current on his taxes. Then, with that out of the way, we went to the IRS with a counteroffer: Greg would pay back $18,000 over the next 24 months, at a rate of $750 per month. After six months in negotiations, we heard back from an IRS examiner, a person who looks at these types of counteroffer cases. The examiner told him it was unlikely the IRS would accept the counteroffer of $18,000. As Greg and I discussed the situation, I asked Greg if there had been any changes to his financial situation over the past six months since they initially sent the counteroffer to the IRS. There had—Greg had been laid off from his engineering job and was about a month into collecting unemployment, but he was actively looking for a new job. We took this information back to the IRS. We told them Greg could barely pay his bills, so paying $4,000 made no sense. We knew to convince the IRS that Greg was experiencing a hardship that we needed to give them a new, lower counter offer. So we reduced our offer from $18,000 to $5,000. And we couldn’t believe it when the IRS said YES! We took this exciting news back to Greg! All he needed to do was pay the IRS $5,000 TOTAL and it would all go away. Needless to say, Greg was on cloud nine. Even better, within the next month, Greg had found a new engineering job that paid even better than the last. Everything had turned around!
How Patagonia’s Founder Set a New Standard for Environmental Responsibility From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur. As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors. “Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts. The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from backpacks to jackets. It tracks the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing”was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you’re a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”
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