Understanding the Tax Relief Process

Understanding the IRS tax relief process is no easy task. There are so many deadlines, processes, and procedures that you need to understand if you want to get a fair shot at a deal. That’s why the government has given taxpayers the fundamental right of IRS representation by a licensed professional. 

Updated February 13, 2022 | 5 Min Read

The tax relief process is straightforward, but far from easy. A good tax pro will follow these best practices to get you to a final resolution.

In this article we will discuss:

Inital Tax Relief Consultation

Whether you use our highly rated free service to find a tax relief pro or find one on your own, the process will most likely begin with a free case consultation.

During the initial consultation you will speak with a licensed tax pro about your unique circumstances. The appointments generally last 30-60 minutes, and if the tax pro determines that they will be able to help you, they will layout the road map to resolution.

Important Tip 1: Make sure the person you’re talking to is licensed (CPA, EA, Tax Attorney). Some large national firms will often use sales people to conduct consultations. Since this person is not trained in how to do the work they can often find themselves making promises the real professionals cannot keep.

Important Tip 2: You should be wary of anyone selling you a final solution prior to the completion of the investigation phase. How could someone sell you a solution when they don’t have a complete picture of the problem?

How does billing work?

Most tax resolution professionals bill by retainer. Generally, they will quote you a fee to conduct the investigation and get you into compliance (for example filing any back tax returns).

Once you are back into compliance, they will quote another fee for the final resolution (for example an offer in compromise or installment agreement).

Case Investigation

Depending on the individual situation your engagement will start with an 8821 or a 2848 (Power of Attorney). Once you sign the form your tax pro will now be able to represent you before the IRS.

The first thing they will do is pull your transcripts records to find out where you stand officially with the IRS. They will look to see if you have any unfiled returns, penalty abatement opportunities, or tax balances.

Additionally, they will figure out exactly where you are in the collections process. Do you have any deadlines coming up? Have any of your rights expired? Do you have a lien on your property or a levy on your bank account? Finally, if applicable, they will also introduce themselves to the Revenue Officer on your case.

They may request information from you to get catch up any unfiled returns and work with you to make sure you have proper withholding or are making sufficient estimated payments to the IRS so you will not continue to have future tax issues.

Most importantly, they will request information from you and prepare a financial analysis as part of the investigation stage. During this process, they review all the potential resolutions that may be available for your case based upon what you owe, how long the IRS can collect from you, and your current financial position.

Once a thorough investigation has been completed and an evaluation of alternatives has been done, they will be ready to get to work.


At this time your professional will likely call you for another meeting to go over the findings. After reviewing the IRS balances, and the findings from their financial analysis, they will go over the strategic options there are available to resolve your case. From there they will work with the IRS to get you into whichever program is best for your situation such as:

  • Offer in Compromise
  • Installment Agreement
  • Partial Pay Installment Agreement
  • Currently Not Collectable
  • Penalty Abatement
  • Innocent Spouse Relief

How long does it take to solve a tax problem?

The short answer is – it depends. To get anything done with the IRS in the post covid world you need patience. When you’re going through the tax relief process you need to think in terms of weeks and months – not days. Depending upon the resolutions, some cases may be resolved in under a month, but other options take a lot of time for the IRS to review and approve. An offer in compromise, for example, could take anywhere from 6-18 months to complete.

Start Your Tax Relief Journey

You don’t need to do this on your own. Let the team at TaxpayerBillofRights.com help you find a qualified Certified Tax Resolution Specialist!

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IRS Fresh Start Program

Do I Need a Tax Attorney?

Navigating the IRS on your own is a real challenge. Find a trustworthy practitioner to help with your tax problem.

We specialize in connecting taxpayers struggling with IRS issues and trusted tax professionals that can help them get back on track!

Our partnership with the American Society of Tax Problems Solvers (ASTPS) gives us access to the top tax resolution experts across the country. There is no way for a practitioner to buy their way in, they can only apply after they have met our rigorous requirements.

Click the button below to see if you qualify for tax relief and to start the tax resolution process right now! You have absolutely nothing to lose - this is a completely free service for taxpayers!

On a similar note...

I got a letter from the IRS – Now What?

IRS Fresh Start Program

Do I Need a Tax Attorney?

You don't have to do this on your own.

We've worked hard to create a network of the best IRS tax relief experts in the country! Each one has been fully vetted and have met our rigorous experience, education, and training standards.

Your first step to IRS tax relief is to click the button below and fill out our tax relief evaluation. After you finish you will be able to set up a 100% free consultation with a licensed tax pro in our network. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and worst case you'll gain insight into your options!