Simplifying IRS representation services by partnering with the right technology.
Lisa Richards has been in the tax and accounting game for many years, so she is more than aware of the time investment and frustration that can come with working with the IRS.“Handling IRS issues for clients has traditionally been difficult and time consuming. The process can be slow and complex, and that does not go over well with clients who are anxiously waiting for a resolution, and want it now. It has been hard for clients to wait, and understand how long it sometimes takes to get the notice resolved,” stated Richards.
Adding to the issue, this year the IRS is stepping up efforts to collect. Due to the growing tax gap (an estimated $345 billion), firms can expect far more client IRS notices coming through the door. To give accounting professionals a clear picture of what is to come, consider that since 2001 notice volume has increased 670%—and it is projected to rise in 2012.
“Once a client receives an IRS notice for whatever reason, the subsequent notices are coming in every 30 days like clockwork. The IRS has escalated the turnaround timeframe across the board, resulting in the ‘crossing in the mail’ syndrome if you do not answer the notice immediately upon receipt,” Richards stated. “Almost always, the notice requires research, which makes it more difficult to answer it immediately and stay within the window for response before the next letter is kicked out of the IRS system.” Richards is not surprised by the increase in notices. Having been in the IRS representation business for 26 years, she’s followed the trend carefully. Her main concern has always been focused on resolution for the client, as well as creating an internal process to make IRS work easier. To accomplish both, she researched and implemented an advanced IRS response application—Beyond415.“Dealing with the IRS is time-consuming. There is so much information to dig through to ensure that you understand the issue; have the right client information, documentation, forms, worksheets, and addresses; draft the response letter correctly; and everything else that goes along with resolving a notice,” stated Richards. “Until recently, there were no IRS-specific issue management applications to simplify the process of working with the IRS. However, within the last few months, I discovered Beyond415, and it’s been a true game changer.”
Building a Lucrative New Revenue Stream
With the rise in IRS notices, Lisa Richards fully expects more clients coming through her door. She also knows every client will want their issue resolved in a timely manner. Until recently this has always been a major concern because handling IRS notices took so much time. But today, with the right technology in place, Richard’s vision is to increase her firm’s IRS representation workload and solve client IRS issues timely and effectively.
“I currently have 25 IRS cases in progress,” Richards stated. “And I welcome many more, because I now have the technology in place to streamline the workflow. The process within the application [Beyond415] is so organized and comprehensive. I can find any type worksheet I need, get regular IRS updates, and access a tremendous amount of IRS practice and procedure ‘functioning’ related research all in the same app. It’s never been this easy to deal with IRS issues, which means I can handle more cases in less time.”
Richards’ goal is to significantly grow her IRS representation client base. “This will become a major new revenue stream for my firm. I can easily triple the number of cases I have now, process them efficiently and cost effectively, and most importantly have all the proper documentation at my fingertips. I can accomplish this with minimal additional staff and tech outlay.”
Since implementing the IRS response system in December 2011, the process for completing and documenting IRS work has vastly improved. Richards spends far less time on trying to stay organized, follow up, and research, which translates into higher realization rates.