I calmly explained to my IRS revenue officer that paying off my back payroll taxes in-full would put me out of business and throw my 50 employees out onto the street. He wasn’t impressed. How can I make my point more forcefully?

You can make your point as forcefully as you like—even using charts and graphs to back up your presentation—but it won’t do you much good. The sole job of your IRS revenue officer is to collect as much of your back-tax debt as he can; that is the bottom line by which he is judged by his superiors. If collecting 100 percent of your illegally-withheld payroll taxes puts you out of business, he won’t care, because that’s not his department. (The situation would be different if the agent’s prospect for a promotion depended on collecting the most amount of money while leaving the highest number of people employed, but that’s not the formula the IRS uses!)

That doesn’t mean it will be impossible to make your case. It simply is unlikely you can win this argument the way you have presented it. If you tell your revenue officer you don’t have the money on-hand, and dissolving your business won’t help you pay your debt, then he may be more inclined to consider an alternative solution to your tax problem—say, paying your payroll taxes in installments. This may require you to downscale your business, but you only may have to take a steep pay cut and lay off half your employees—still a dismal outcome, but not nearly as bad as total liquidation.

One thing is for sure: if your business is at stake, you should never negotiate with an IRS revenue officer without having an experienced tax expert at your side. If you are a struggling business owner in Oklahoma, call the law firm of Travis W. Watkins, PC today (800-721-7054) to find out what we can do for you!