T he IRS collects an estimated $2.3 trillion in tax debt every year. At the same time, 8 out of 10 Americans receive an annual tax refund so there is a constant ebb and flow of funds running through the IRS accounting department. The IRS is often overworked and short staffed and it can take years to resolve IRS tax problems on your own even if you are taking all the right steps. Repeated calls will connect you to a different IRS agent each time and it is nearly impossible to sort out complicated tax issues over the phone when you don’t have a dedicated agent devoted to your case. When you encounter a tax problem and need assistance, there are several options available to help. Let’s take a look at where you can go to get help fast.

Your first stop should always be the IRS website. This is a valuable resource where you can familiarize yourself with tax laws, learn about your rights as a taxpayer, and inquire for information on the status of your returns. Most common questions related to the IRS can be answered quickly by visiting their website to do a little research.

You can also visit a local IRS office and speak to an agent in person. This is a wonderful resource for those that are dealing with IRS tax problems and want to sit down face-to-face with a representative to get to the bottom of the issue. Most of the time, IRS agents are made available to tax payers on a first come, first serve basis. Try to arrive early in the day so you can speak with an agent before the office is overrun with people competing for attention.

Some states also offer taxpayer clinics for people who fall in low-income brackets. These clinics can walk you through the process of filing your tax returns, amending old returns, or correcting information stored in the IRS database. If you can’t afford an accountant to help you, these clinics are a smart alternative.

If you can’t resolve the problem by using any of these methods, your next step is to call a tax attorney. Sometimes professional legal counsel is necessary, especially to sort out more complicated IRS issues. If you are dealing with serious problems like an IRS audit, bank levy, property lien, or other aggressive collections tactics, it is imperative that you contact a tax attorney right away. In these high risk situations, you should never try to navigate things on your own. A tax attorney has the knowledge and experience to fight on your behalf and get you the best possible outcome.

Whether you are setting up an installment agreement or want to negotiate an offer in compromise, an IRS tax attorney will insure that you are treated fairly and that you don’t get taken advantage of by federal agents that oftentimes don’t properly inform tax payers of their legal rights. Don’t let IRS tax problems get you down. Contact a tax attorney today to get on the path to resolution.