Toph Sheldon, CPA for the Self-Employed August 2019

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 6

T O P H ’ S TAX RESOLUT ION T I M E S

513-342-4000 WWW.TOPHCPA.COM

Lessons Learned as a CPA for the Self-Employed®

4. You don’t want to represent yourself in front of the IRS. There are some cases in which you may be required to speak to the IRS in person.

As a tax problem-solver for the self-employed, I’ve learned a number of lessons from working with my clients and protecting them from the IRS, which is a behemoth of an organization. They have people and tools working year-round to make sure taxpayers are doing what they are supposed to: paying their taxes in the “right” amounts, as determined by the IRS. We all know working with the IRS can be a headache. But as we enter the back- to-school season, a time of learning, I want to share a few discoveries I have made working as a CPA for the Self-Employed®. 1. Don’t assume the IRS is correct. I’ve seen firsthand that many times, the IRS in the wrong. So many IRS employees don’t know their own rules and guidelines. As a result, they make mistakes, ones that result in taxpayers paying more than they should or even being audited. Often, people who call the IRS looking for answers know more about tax law than the IRS employees themselves. 2. The IRS is an impersonal machine. The IRS is not interested in your story, your family’s story, or the story of your business. Many of the people I work with are self-employed, and they rely heavily on their business to support their families. They have their hopes, dreams, and livelihood tied up in their business. But the IRS does not care about this. They are just there to try and assess or collect tax revenue, and if they can get away with taxing you unfairly, they may. Your family has the right to protect your wealth and your income. 3. You have the right to challenge the IRS. If you think something isn’t correct with your tax bill, you have every right to say something. You never have to accept what you’re expected to pay at face value. You may have done your due diligence and found something the IRS missed. Or you hired a tax professional who caught some miscalculations on the part of the IRS. If you see a discrepancy, challenge it. Pay what you know you owe, not what you assume you owe.

Representing yourself can be disastrous. It’s like going to court and representing yourself regarding a matter you know very little about, if anything. You will be put on the defensive and risk

the possibility of incriminating yourself despite your innocence, all in a high-pressure situation.

The IRS would love it if you represented yourself. It would be you against a team of highly trained legal and tax professionals, not your average IRS employees. Their goal will be to get you to say something to incriminate yourself. While they are not targeting you personally, the IRS may be targeting your money and assets. And like speaking with representatives of any other government agency, you have the right to remain silent and the right to representation. Of course, I am here to make sure you don’t have to worry about these issues. If you have questions about your tax situation or about the IRS in general, give me a call at (513) 342-4000, and let’s get it figured out.

–Toph Sheldon

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