ASK THE EDD LAWYER – THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING REPRESENTED IN YOUR EDD MATTER
By Robert S. Schriebman
I enjoy receiving your calls. Sometimes I get calls for general EDD information, and other times I get calls from distressed employers who are frustrated and overwhelmed. This week I received a call from a lady from the Los Angeles area seeking help. She had closed her business several years ago but was facing an EDD assessment as well as collection issues. Her husband had suffered from cancer for a long time and passed away during the audit. She was unfamiliar with the business but she was more unfamiliar with the procedures necessary to protect her rights to challenge the assessment before having to pay it. I am familiar with effectively representing clients in her type of situation. I was trying to tell her what to do when she interrupted me to inform me that she was contemplating hiring a “tax representation firm” in Colorado. A representative of that firm told her they handle all types of tax matters. She did not specifically ask what the firm had in mind to help her. The firm requested a substantial upfront cash retainer but left future charges open. In other words, she was not told specifically what would be done for her, or what the total costs were going to be.
In this article I am going to discuss why you should keep professional representation local, i.e. California. I am also going to discuss why it is important to have professional representation in an EDD matter.
Keeping It Local
In the interest of full disclosure, let me tell you that I never heard of the Colorado folks offering to help this overwhelmed widow. She told me that she saw a commercial on TV and contacted them. This did not set well with me. She did not know if they were lawyers, CPAs, or what their professional qualifications were. All too often I hear about companies that advertise nationally offering to help people solve their IRS problems if they owe more than $10,000. That is all very good and well, but IRS matters and issues are not EDD matters and issues.
In order to effectively represent an employer dealing with the EDD a potential representative should be questioned on his/her professional credentials, experience, and knowledge of California EDD laws and regulations as well as Labor Code laws and regulations. How long has the practitioner been in business? How many EDD audits has he/she had? What is his/her experience before the CUIAB? I was willing to bet that the Colorado company probably knew quite a bit about the IRS but did not know what “EDD” stood for. Yet, they demanded a stiff fee.
Sadly, my experience with several of these types of “TV advertisers” has been negative. They are quick to take your money but deliver very little if anything at all. As soon as they get their money is as soon as they forget about you. Just try getting your money back. Are you really going to sue them in federal court? Many of these firms are not law firms or CPA firms and are not bound by the ethics of their particular profession. They are instead businesses that are not required to have ethical standards nor do they answer to any state sponsored professional regulators.
You eventually wind up going to a California practitioner and starting all over again with new fees and new hopes. Expect to pay a proper fee for proper representation.
The Importance of Professional Representation
On April 18, 2018 the IRS published a small article dealing with the right to retain representation under the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Right. The points made are not only relevant to dealing with the IRS, they can apply equally to dealing with the EDD. The EDD has its own version of the Employers’ Bill of Rights and it has similar provisions of the IRS counterpart.
Let’s look at a few of these rights:
- You have a right to retain an authorized representative of your choice when dealing with the EDD.
- If you are heading to an interview with the EDD, you may select someone to represent you.
- You do not have to attend any interview or conference unless the EDD issues you a summons or subpoena. It is extremely rare for the EDD to take such action.
- If you retain representation, you don’t have to attend any EDD conference or be directly questioned by the EDD. Your representative speaks for you – that representative IS the taxpayer.
- The EDD must suspend or continue any interview or conference if you tell them you want to first consult with a professional.
My best advice when facing an EDD auditor or an EDD collector is to first consider contacting a professional representation – even if it is for just one conference. Make sure your representative is professional qualified and specializes in EDD matters. My best advice – Keep it in California. EDD auditors and collectors are not your friends. They are there to increase the size of the State Treasury. They are not there to see things your way.
Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.
Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
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