In the past, it was difficult to get into tax resolution. You pretty much had to be an expert of the intimidatingly thick IRS manual. However, now that tax resolution services are growing in popularity, there are tons of resources available that make breaking into the business easier than ever.
Tax resolution includes many services and goes by different names (IRS representation, tax relief, tax problem recovery, tax resolution, tax controversy) but in summary, tax resolution is a service in which you help a client resolve their open debt with the IRS in a way that minimizes the debt as much as possible.
Tax resolution services include:
More and more tax professionals are offering tax resolution as a way to supplement tax preparation work because tax resolution cases can be extremely lucrative, and they have more flexibility in deadlines with the IRS, making it a great service to offer year-round, not just during tax season.
In order to qualify to offer tax resolution, you must be an Enrolled Agent, CPA, or tax attorney.
To become an EA, you can take one of two paths.
The first option is:
The second option is:
To become a CPA you must do the following:
Once you’ve become certified as an EA, CPA, or tax attorney, you should obtain a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number. A CAF is a nine-digit number assigned to you by the IRS that they use to track your requests for client information, such as transcripts.
To obtain a CAF number, write “none” in the space designated for a CAF the first time you file a Power of Attorney (Form 2848) of Tax Information Authorization (Form 8821). The IRS will send you a letter with your CAF number and you’ll use that number for each case going forward.
One of the most helpful things you can do to learn tax resolution is to take a course or attend a webinar taught by professionals in the field. The good news is, you have options.
Canopy offers high-quality tax resolution CPE courses taught by qualified and respected instructors like Tanya Baber and TaxMama®. The courses cover a range of topics, from how to get started as an EA and basic tax resolution tips and tricks, to advanced technical courses on Penalty Abatement and Offer in Compromise.
In addition, the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) offers various resources for continuing your education in tax resolution including webinars and a schedule of conferences to attend. Groups like the ASTPS also offers Tax Resolution Boot Camp if you prefer learning in-person.
To further your qualifications in tax resolution you can become a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist (CTRS). Certified Tax Resolution Specialists are often identified as experts in the industry. If that’s the route you’re looking to take, here’s a brief summary of requirements (as outlined by the ASTPS):
Here you can find the ASTPS Certification Program in more detail.
After you’ve gained a good foundation of what tax resolution entails and you start practicing tax resolution, there are more resources out there designed to help you do the actual tax resolution work — you’re not left on your own.
For starters, Canopy has an entire library of ebooks that cover subjects such as Offer in Compromise, liens and levies, and Penalty Abatement.
If you’d like tips on Tax Resolution strategies, read books like Jassen Bowman’s Tax Resolution Secrets, available as an ebook or hard copy. The book includes instructions for how to employ proven methods of tax resolution.
Another helpful resource is modern tax resolution software. For example, if you use Canopy, there’s no need for you to memorize every complicated IRS code, because the software will automate data gathering, auto-populate the appropriate IRS forms for your clients’ cases, solve collection cases, and more. Canopy can save you 5-10 hours per case. With the help of Canopy, you could start offering tax resolution today, growing your practice, client base, and income.
If you want to read more about how to start offering tax resolution services, check out our free ebook. You’ll learn more about adding tax resolution services to your practice, pricing those services, and more.