Even if you decide you still need help from a tax professional, do some homework to learn about the IRS collection process. If you have a good working knowledge of your own, you'll get better help, Smith said.
The IRS has a series of videos at IRSVideos.gov/OweTaxes that provide a lot of information on the collection process, including tips on hiring someone to represent you before the IRS. If you're low-income, you may be able to get help through the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program, which is run by the Taxpayer Advocate Service and provides free or low-cost assistance. During the first half of 2012, the program helped eliminate nearly $16.5 million in tax liabilities, penalties and interest. Go to www.irs.gov and search for "Contact a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic."
If you have tax debt, stop hoping for a savior and contact the IRS.
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