It's funny how three simple letters can create such fear and loathing in your average citizen. But the IRS are people too. Keep this in mind and you'll find that dealing with the IRS will be easy and stress free.
What does the IRS want from me?
Normally a visit from the IRS may be about the most trivial thing. Maybe you just forgot to sign a tax declaration. Or maybe they want to audit your tax books. Whatever the case just keep in mind that they are people with a simple job to do. Be friendly, patient, and willing to help out to make their job easier. This will make it easier for you!
How can I look good for the IRS?
You may have a perfectly good excuse for not filing your tax return ("I don't have the money!"), but that's never a good excuse for the IRS. Even if you don't have the money, just file your tax return on time. If you do this, they'll like and respect you a lot more. And, most importantly, if you've filed on time, they can't file criminal charges. Yes, whether you have the money or not, it is a criminal offense to not do your taxes.
But what if I really don't have the money?
If you can't pay your taxes, you actually have another alternative. You can request a payment plan. There'll be a little interest charged, but that's nothing compared to the other consequences. The very worst thing in the world is to ignore the IRS and refuse to pay your taxes.
The IRS will follow up with telephone calls and letters. Never, never, ever, ignore the tax department. If you have a problem, talk about it. You'll find that the IRS are real people after all and have some alternatives to offer you when you are short of money at tax time.
Dylan Miles, journalist, and website builder, lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of http://www.todaystaxguide.com on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.