Do you tell clients that you will deliver what they need? Are you sure enough to back it up? Do you offer a guarantee? Tax problem resolution services require us to deal with the toughest government agency in the country. How could you possibly offer a guarantee to the troubled taxpayer?
You certainly can’t guarantee what others will do, much less the omnipotent IRS. You know IRS is often arbitrary and capricious with little regard for the taxpayer. They sometimes act without sound basis in law.
Such situations are generally the result of encountering certain individuals. Whether it’s the over-zealous Revenue Officer or the Everybody-Cheats-Auditor, you will be hard-pressed to make any promises or guarantees. So, what’s a representative to do?
How about guaranteeing the taxpayer that you will stick with them until a solution is
found. You can certainly guarantee what you will do. Include a guarantee in your engagement letter. Guarantee that you will apply for penalty relief, or you will apply for innocent spouse relief, or you will make an Offer in Compromise to the IRS.
You may be concerned (rightly) that the taxpayer has control over the information, records, and other data you may need to fulfill your guarantee. Your engagement letter
should require the taxpayer to agree that their failure to provide needed documents voids your guarantee. You can guarantee action, not results.
Include a paragraph that explains that their failure to provide information will result in your withdrawal from representation and a charge for services rendered prior to withdrawal and a refund of any prepaid amounts that exceed the aforementioned
This allows you to market with a guarantee, charge in advance, withdraw from uncooperative cases, and get paid for your time. The thought of a refund troubles some
practitioners, but it shouldn’t because if the fee was not earned you should do the right thing and refund it. Not only that, it’s a low price to pay to be rid of an uncooperative client . This is another of those trust your gut moments.