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5 Stages of Grief Over an IRS Tax Audit

Tax Resolution Software

A guy, let’s call him Mike, could be having a perfectly wonderful day – blue sky, no traffic. When he gets home, he opens the mailbox and thumbs through the mail. WHAM! Those big, black letters stand right out:

IRS

Well, it could be good news, right?

No, it’s probably not good news.

Mike’s heart sinks and he wipes the sweat from his brow. One of two things happens next. Option One: He calls his tax pro immediately, or Option Two: he stuffs the unopened letter in the top drawer of his desk with all the other notices he’s ignored.

 

Stage One: Denial

If he chooses Option Two, the first of the 5 Stages of Grief over an IRS Audit presents itself: Denial.

Mike thinks if he doesn’t open the letter and then puts the envelope somewhere he can’t see it, the problem will go away. It doesn’t.

Denial is actually a coping mechanism that allows us to come to terms with a life-altering situation. It works for a while. Does it solve the problem? No. To the contrary, in the case of an IRS tax audit, it usually makes things worse. At best it offers temporary relief.

The IRS cranks up the volume and Mike is forced to face his situation. He will have to deal with the IRS on his own or call someone for help.

 

Stage Two: Bargaining

Bargaining sets off a series of “if only” and “what if” fantasies. What if Mike can think of a way out of this mess? If only he had not fudged on his exemptions. If only he had filed his taxes. Mike may promise to do anything if only life would spare him this experience. But he can’t go back in time.

 

Stage Three: Anger

So where does he go? He moves to Stage Three, of course. Mike gets mad. He is upset about the situation (and who wouldn’t be?) and he’s upset with himself for not being more careful in filing his taxes. That anger has to go somewhere so Mike either takes it out on others or he slides into Stage Four.

 

Stage Four: Depression

Depression quickly follows as Mike’s anger is turned inward. He will go in and out of the third and fourth stages until the problem is resolved, and sometimes for quite a while after. Every time he pays penalties and fees on top of taxes owed, he will vacillate between anger and depression, with a few what ifs thrown in for kicks.

 

Stage Five: Grief

Finally, the pain of loss dulls. Mike moves into acceptance – Stage Five. The grief over his audit has played itself out and he goes on with life.

Or … he goes with option one and calls his tax pro FIRST.

 

Will you know what to do when the Mikes of the world reach out for help with a tax audit? IRS Solutions can help. We have resources you can plug into your business immediately. Pick up your FREE Pricing Guide and let’s get started.

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