Between the Great Recession in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic in the past couple of years, taxpayers have really been put through the financial wringer. And that financial pain has spread to the IRS as people find they are unable to pay the taxes they owe. Maybe they miscalculated what they owed, or maybe they had a real drop in income that made them choose between food and estimated taxes. Whatever the cause, now they owe money to the IRS.

If you're one of these people, paying back the IRS can be a long process, especially if you can't afford the type of payments they want. You may turn to tax resolution services, especially if the notices from the IRS become scary. If you do work with these services you want the interactions to be as smooth as possible, which means finding out a lot of detailed information before you agree to let them help you.

How Involved Will You Be in the Process? 

Whenever you deal with the IRS, you want to be involved. It's tempting to leave everything up to the tax resolution company and never check-in. However, that can actually be worse in the end because you could miss important communication or find that the deal reached still isn't something you can handle if the company you chose isn't working out well. A good tax resolution company will keep you informed every step of the way and discuss all options with you to ensure you have a path that leads toward paying off the debt.

What Fees Will You Have to Pay?

Tax resolution companies usually work for a fee, which makes sense because they need to make money, too. But, how much will that fee be, how many fees will there be, and when are you expected to pay those fees? You want to be sure that the fees you pay are reasonable and don't eat into your ability to pay the resulting IRS agreement.

Why Use Tax Resolution for Less-Alarming Issues Like New IRS Debt?

Tax resolution companies can help walk you through the more severe IRS issues such as offers-in-compromise. But for less-alarming situations, such as new tax debt you just incurred this year, why go with the company rather than just calling the IRS yourself? The IRS can set up installment agreements quickly, but their computers choose the minimum payment amount for each month. If that amount is too big for you to handle, you need to negotiate. Unfortunately, the IRS reps who set up the installment agreements aren't given the necessary permissions to override the computer-generated payment amount at your request. A tax resolution company can help negotiate those installment agreements for you.