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Who should I hire

This may be the most difficult question you face. After all, you are in a very vulnerable position. You owe taxes, you’re scared of the IRS, you don’t know what to do and now, someone wants your money to resolve your tax problem. The question is, how do you decide who to hire? Better yet, should you hire anyone at all or should you take care of the matter yourself?

If you follow these steps, you’ll be in a better position to decide how to make the right choice:

1) Make certain that the person who are speaking with is the person that will actually be representing you. That person MUST be an EA (Enrolled Agent), CPA or attorney. No one else is legally able to represent taxpayers before the IRS;

2) Don’t sign a contract or pay a retainer until and unless you have thoroughly discussed the matter with the tax pro. It is my policy to give free consultations (by phone or e-mail) to anyone with a tax problem. While other tax pros may not do that, be certain that they have a complete understanding of your case and your financial status before giving them money;

3) Check around on the Internet. Sites like,,, and and many others have great information on bad tax firms;

3) Find out whether they specialize in IRS collection division problems and if they have actually had Offers in Compromise accepted. I do NOT handle audits or complicated returns. I only handle IRS collection division problems. The vast majority of tax pros do NOT handle IRS collection division matters. Over 85% of my clients Offers have been accepted. You wouldn’t see a dermatologist for a heart problem. Hire someone that specializes in IRS collection division problems;

4) Several firms help you complete forms, but do not take Power of Attorney and CANNOT talk to the IRS on your behalf. In fact, most of them are not even licensed to talk to the IRS! While a few taxpayers may benefit from a service like that, if you have a serious IRS problem, hire a licensed tax pro only;

5) Don’t listen to promises that “we’ll get all the penalties and interest wiped out” or “we guarantee we’ll get all levys and liens released”. Anyone can say anything and often will to separate you from your money.

Be careful. There are many shady tax practitioners operating over the web. So, what’s the truth? Penalties can be abated, but only if you have “reasonable cause” as defined by the IRS. I have been successful in getting penalties wiped out only because I submit those requests only when it is appropriate. Interest is virtually never abated. Liens are released only after the tax liability is satisfied, although new procedures just enacted into the law allow you to appeal a lien filing. Levys are usually released after you give the IRS what they are asking for such as a financial statement or delinquent return. But, I never guarantee a levy release until I know the details of your case.

For your own sake, only do business with a licensed tax practitioner that is in compliance with IRS regulations. Be skeptical. Ask questions and if you don’t like what you hear or if the promises sound too good to be true, keep searching. Finally, you can hire someone anywhere in the country. Any licensed tax professional can represent you in a Federal tax
matter regardless of where you live.

Why Should I Hire Steve Kassel, EA
to solve my IRS tax problem?

Maybe you should and maybe you shouldn’t. But, take a look at who The National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service called when they wanted to know the real story on the power of the IRS collection division. More on that in a moment.

The most important factor should be trust. If you are local to the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ll have a chance to meet face to face so that you understand my philosophy of working with the IRS and how I plan to solve your tax problem. If you are further away, we’ll be communicating by phone, fax and e-mail. You’ll still understand the way I handle cases and what I believe we can and can’t accomplish. In addition to me, we have two other EA’s and an attorney on staff to meet all of your tax needs.

I NEVER make promises I can’t keep. That just isn’t the way I work. What I will do is fully analyze your case and if I can’t be of real service to you, I’ll tell you just that. I would rather lose you as a client than see you disappointed in poor results down the road. I turn away far, far more clients than I take on. I average around 100 calls and e-mails each month from prospective clients. In most instances, I spend 15-30 minutes with them on the phone, give some free advice and never take a penny from them.

The only time I will advise you to hire someone is when the problem is either too complicated or when my expertise will likely serve you better than you handling the case yourself. If you do choose to hire me, we will sign an IRS Power of Attorney and a Contract for Services. The Contract will clearly lay out what I will and won’t do and all fees. I work 99% of my cases on a flat fee basis. The fee covers the case in its entirety. The only time you will be responsible for additional fees is if when not originally expected must be performed.

In 1997, I was invited to appear in Washington on Capitol Hill before The National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service. Only a handful of tax practitioners testified before The Commission and even fewer were brought to Washington at government expense. I was one of those.

My testimony focused solely on the abuse perpetrated by the IRS Collection Division. Unlike the more hyped Senate Finance Committee hearings, The Restructuring Commission was of an academic nature. In fact, the historic IRS Restructuring & Reform Act of 1998 was based on the recommendations of The Restructuring Commission.

On October 10, 1999 I was prominently quoted in the New York Times and on October 11, 1999 was interviewed by Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America.  The October, 1999 issue of Worth magazine carried an article on the IRS. I was the only tax professional quoted in that article. On August 4, 1999, I was quoted by in an article on tax negotiation.

Hopefully, I’ve given you enough information to help you make this very important decision. Remember, to never hire anyone until and unless you know what they plan to do to solve your tax problem.