“Agent Smith” flash badge “Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.”
There is no punchline.
Agents of taxing authorities are often required to do site visits to verify what you may have alleged in your return or in papers filed in response to an audit request. Sometimes – and I only have this sense from anecdotal evidence – they do it to intimidate a person who is being a little more staunch in their position or seems to escape full payment.
We’re all human (most of us) and we all get annoyed when we are asked to do our jobs.
If they come, and you are represented by counsel, just do the following:
1. Don’t Panic.
Like Frank Herbert said, “Fear is the mindkiller.” Don’t let the surprise visit rattle your cage. You know you have a tax problem, and, hopefully, you know this is the necessary action resulting from that tax problem.
That’s why you hired a tax professional.
2. Don’t Talk.
Nothing you say is going to help you, so, on behalf of all tax professionals and attorneys everywhere except in the government, please, for the ever-loving hope of all things that are holy and good in this world, stop talking. Every minute you talk is an hour you have spend with me to unwind what you said.
Nothing good will come of talking to the tax agent – send him or her to counsel.
3. Give them your counsel’s name.
If you have a business card, that is best. Otherwise, without letting them in, or further on to your property, give the IRS your tax representative’s name and phone number.
4. Be Polite.
Always be nice. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that?
Mine didn’t, mine would quote Alice Roosevelt Longworth: “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.”
5. End the Conversation.
Don’t panic, but don’t talk.
Give them counsel’s name, and be polite about it.
Thank them for their time and their service to us, the public.
Close the door.
Call your counsel.