Avoid Calling the IRS in December

December is by far the worst time to try to communicate with the IRS about your tax debt.

The Second-Stringers

I have not noticed that the telephone wait times are much different in December. Perhaps there are more IRS representatives taking vacation in December, but many practitioners and taxpayers do the same — so increased phone traffic is not normally an issue. The IRS does a fairly good job replacing the vacationers, but I have usually found the quality of their replacements to be lacking.  If you call the IRS in December (especially late December) then there is a good chance you will be dealing with a new, inexperienced IRS agent (a “second-stringer”). Of course, a tax relief attorney will know how to use that inexperience to the taxpayer’s advantage.

IRS Computer Maintenance

The IRS information technology staff takes advantage of the holidays to do routine maintenance on IRS computer systems. And they like to get a jump on things. So, if they tell you that everything is going to be shut down on Friday in observance of Christmas, then chances are they will be up and down all day on Wednesday and completely offline by early afternoon on Thursday.

If you get through to a representative who tells you their computers have been up and down, then it might be best to put off the call for another day if possible. The problem is that you will get partway through your call and everything the representative did will be lost when the computer goes down, and you’ll have to start over again.

If you have a tax issue that can’t wait until after the holidays, it is best to enlist the help of a qualified and experienced tax professional.


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