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Internal Revenue Service

As a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and as one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share. (Source: www.irs.gov)

This forum will allow you to share and ask job-related questions about this bureau. This is NOT the place to ask tax questions.

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71chevy454  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:26:28 AM(UTC)
71chevy454

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Any current or prior IRS Contact Representatives out there that can give an honest assessment of this position? How stressful are the calls and performance monitoring? Am I going to dread going to work everyday or will there be a sense of accomplishment? Are the calls back to back with no time to breathe? If hired seasonal, how good are the chances to apply for permanent representative position or move to a clerk / administrative assistant / secretary position? I don't want to set myself up to be miserable. But, I would like an opportunity to get my foot in the door. Thank you.
winter59  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:02:57 AM(UTC)
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Hi,

I was a contact rep. for nearly 4 years. It was interesting and unlike many jobs, when the call was over, it was truly over. Calls are generally taken one after the other. When you complete a call, you make final notations of actions taken, then put yourself back into an available status.

Depending on where you work, and who your manager is you can shine or fall flat on your face. I used my time there volunteering for anything, then used the position as a launch pad for a different job.

It can be stressful sometimes. But I really liked it. There is a lot to learn.
71chevy454  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:23:51 AM(UTC)
71chevy454

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Thanks for the feedback. During the paperwork / fingerprinting session the position was described as you are on the phone with no other tasks except 10 minute AM break, 45 minute lunch, and 15 minute PM break dealing with angry tax payers. Sounded really dudgeon. And there would not be much opportunity to move or advance as there are many current contact reps looking to advance and they would have better skills. As it is seasonal, I would really need to move to permanent to support the family, just wondering if that was possible without waiting 3-4 years.
winter59  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:30:44 AM(UTC)
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It's possible to move sooner than 3-4 years. I went back to school at night. I think that helped.
I started as a seasonal and found a permanent job.

If you are a contact rep dealing with only collections (ACS), I suppose the taxpayers might be angrier. My position was geared towards all callers from simple refund inquiries to collections issues. I very rarely had very angry people. Most were scared, some were crying.One was perverted. The first week after training, I set up an installment agreeement for a taxpayer. I asked if he had any questions. He said, "If I don't comply, will you come to my house and spank me?" Yuck! I replied that it wasn't in my job description. LOL!

Where would you be working...ACS? Accounts Management Toll Free?
71chevy454  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:38:40 AM(UTC)
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Collections calls only. 2 months training. I really enjoy administrative assistant work and don't wish to be a RO or RA. If anything, I would be happy with a permanent lateral transfer but don't know if they even exist in Pittsburgh PA.
winter59  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:47:00 AM(UTC)
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Your position runs from GS 5 to GS 8. Many of the other career choices you indicate would either be a lateral move or a lower grade. Management does not like to allow this, and they don't have to, except when certain circumstances occur such as a signigicant change in tour of duty (e.g. days to nights), or from seasonal to permanent.

In any case, it's a seasonal position now, so you can continue to look for your dream job while you earn some money, right?
71chevy454  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:42:30 PM(UTC)
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Many things to consider. I'm hoping to have an opportunity to speak directly with a department person before making a decision.
lilley10  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:09:35 AM(UTC)
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I'm working as a contact rep in collections. Truth, people use it as a foot in the door and the truth about the job stressful!!! The phone system that you sign in tracks your every move, excuse my language but even when you go to take a ****. the managers will follow you into the bathroom to make sure you are taking a ****. tou are tied to the phones. If I have to go to the bathroom I hold it, because I don't want a supervisor coming into the bathroom to listen if I am actually taking a ****, You are dealing with phones call and you are timed, if they feel you have been on a call to long the manager will come out and tell you to get off the phone. The taxpayers are stupid ( just the ones that are trying to take advantage of the system) They yell at you and one person called me a f@(&&*( B*&^^..I'm sick of it and i'm applying for other internal position. I live in Michigan and really wanted to work for IRS, so took temporary position in KCMO, wish I ahad stayed in KCMO till a job opened that i wanted in Michigan. If youcan do something else with the IRS-DO IT!! phone center sucks!!!! They have the highest turnover rate. Confused
71chevy454  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:44:15 AM(UTC)
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Gosh Emily, I was afraid of that. Is it just you or everyone? What do you think your chances are to move to another position? I can deal with alot short term if I know there is a better opportunity coming up.
71chevy454  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:30:49 PM(UTC)
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Has anyone started in this position and moved to another within the agency? How long did it take? Is this a common occurrence?
lilley10  
#11 Posted : Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:41:56 PM(UTC)
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Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you! But, I wanted to work for the IRS, and if this is what I had to do, I was going to do it. Plus, I travel to work 100 miles one way, stay in a hotel and travel from a small town with no traffic to a big city where I have to deal with traffic everyday! So, that doesn't help! Seems the people in this town can't drive and tied up in traffic everyday!!!

You do learn alot on the job!!!! Actually, the experience is good. I do want to get the RA or TCO. The job has made me firm in dealing with the taxpayers. At first, I felt bad for the taxpayers and had a hard time applying mandatory procedures. But, after dealing with taxpayers you learn the people who are trying to scam and the ones that have legitimate excuses. One thing I will say bout my manager we don't have to tolerate beligerant taxpayers. If the taxpayer gets obnoxious, starts swearing or just wants to continuoulsy argue we can tell the taxpayer if you continue that behavior I will disconnect the call.

Another thing that does get tiring is the calls come in one after the other.

But, the job has taught me alot. Managers want the calls to be kept short and they want you to keep the taxpayer on the issue. Taxpayers start talking about all their problems and you learn to interupt them and get them back on the issue. Regardless if their dog got hit by a car you can't listen to them discuss it for 1 hour. Can can say i'm sorry to hear that but you have to get them back on the issue of how there going to resolve their taxes. Because no where in the law does it state if your dog is run over, taxes can be waived.

Also, you get the people that don't agree with the tax laws, you cut them short by saying, I will not discuss that you need to go to your congressman and try to make changes to the tax laws. However, till the laws are changed you owe these taxes.

I know if I get the RA position or the TCO I will be a better worker. The IRS wants you to be firm with taxpayers!! Not rude, But firm and professional. We are told we work for the IRS and not the taxpayer, we are there to collect delinquent tax monies and to get it ASAP! Some taxpayers say they are paying our wages, (yes, these are the taxpayers that don't even pay their taxes) we tell them no, I work for the IRS!

If I had a choice between this job and something else, never would have chosen this, but the Experience has been great, I've always been an easy going person and give in easily. But, this job has hardened me and made me a better judge of people, So, I really think things worked out for the best!!

Yes, its easier to apply for a job if your internal! Just do a good job, learn it well. I hired in with a group of 36. 8 people got fired and 10 people transfeered to other jobs in the IRS. Yes, all before their one year probabtionary period.

The taxpayers get upset and argumentative, but really its their fault their in a collection status. Then you get people that are really nice!!! I applied for other jobs as soon as I started this job, but like I said, my personality is easy going, and looking back if I had started offas an Ro, ra, or tco, I think I would have had problems.

Also, once you leave training, at least in my group, we were more or less put out to the wolves! Whenever we asked questions, we were told to go look it up in the manual!Another good skill I learned. Making decisions on my own. The managers told us, if you make a mistake it can be corrected." Well my probationary period is up in 7weeks and it looks like a made it!!!!!!!

The one of my coworkers said, "the taxpayers are on the phone what can they really do to you! Thank God were not face to face with them!!!!

But, if this job gets you in the door, go for it! It's temporary. And, personally I worked for private industry and A CPA firm and didn't like any of them! The federal government has secure work, yearly pay increases. Good luck and any more questions, be glad to help you!!
lilley10  
#12 Posted : Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:57:37 PM(UTC)
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oh, forgot, another person wrote in, that once you hang up you are done with the call!!! Yes, that is an advantage!!!!!Because when your new you make mistakes, so you know that taxpayer will never get you back and yell at you!!! The next rep justs corrects the situation.

Then, in the beginning your given time to learn. You can always put the taxpayer on hold and research his issue, thank God, you just have to go back every 3 minute and tell him your still researching his issue. Then at the end of the call you do have time to document the case. If you can do all this while on the call with the taxpayer., then you can use the document time to gather yourself together for the next call!!!
71chevy454  
#13 Posted : Sunday, March 01, 2009 4:05:45 AM(UTC)
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Emily, I really appreciate your time and input. I expect to work hard and the callers are not my first concern, I do customer rep work now and like said, they are on the phone, not in your face. I'm concerned how difficult the material is and being able to maintain high performance standards to get a great annual review. Is there alot of difficult material to cover in the first year?
71chevy454  
#14 Posted : Monday, March 02, 2009 9:25:50 PM(UTC)
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Waiting to hear if I go to the next level and get invited to take the TAP. For anyone that has been invited, do they call you or do they direct you by email to the material and you call them?
lilley10  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, March 03, 2009 8:20:12 AM(UTC)
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I received notification to take the TAP by mail. Geez, I remember that seems so long ago! MSS was right depending on your manager you can shine or fall flat on your face! My probation is over in 6 weeks and looks like I made it! They did fire 8 people in my group.

At first, my manager said she didn't think I was going to make it, think she told everyone that! But, that stressed me out! I went in with the idea of keeping to myself. I was always friendly, but you have to watch yourself and not be noticed!Some of the work is difficult, each tp's situation is not the same. But there are certain things that are required on every phone call and if you meet these requirements you'll do OK. I also many times worked my lunches and breaks and even brought materials home to study. My manager noticed this and I'm sure this helped me. One guy in my group who got fired, somehow always timed it perfectly that he got off the phones right at break time and right at lunch time!

Good luck on your tap! And, remember, you work for the IRS, not the taxpayer and your job is to collect money in the quickest way posiible! And to educate the taxpayer of his duties as a tp.
71chevy454  
#16 Posted : Wednesday, March 04, 2009 3:54:16 AM(UTC)
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Emily, best of luck with your last few weeks of probation. Wow, they cut 8 more? Recently? That would be a heck of a thing to get so far and then be discharged. I got the TAP invite. Short of a brain freeze, I'm sure I'll do fine with it. It's the year probation and getting on permanent that has me hedging.
71chevy454  
#17 Posted : Monday, March 09, 2009 11:33:23 PM(UTC)
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What are the chances to move to a permanent status with this position? Do many permanent positions open annually? Are there alot of current Contact Representatives that are seasonal by choice or because no permanent available?
lilley10  
#18 Posted : Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:12:30 AM(UTC)
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Hi how are you, saw your post and wanted to respond but not on my computer and don't remember my password!

Yes, very good chances of becoming permanent! The IRS uses(used) a private debt collection agency to collect on delinquent accounts. Their contract was not renewed. Heard the IRS collections will need to fill 1000 positions. Then at work today with the budget passing we received an email that said they will be doing alot of hiring in the next few months. So, yes, you have an excellent chance. Keep your eyes open!! Actually, I started off as a temporary. I had applied for my current job and denied. So, I took a seasonal in Cincy, there for 7 weeks and applied for permanent job and came thru!!
grasshopperpete  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:07:53 PM(UTC)
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I worked several years in Collections and believe that the stress level of the job has a lot to do with the individual employee, their personality and how they approach the job. Some reps were very laid back (and had been there for years) and others were not (and jumped ship). There is a high turnover rate in this position for various reasons. I was hired with a group of about 30 (most of us did not know that the job was in Collections when we were hired) and I'd estimate that after 3 years, only 4 of us remained. All made it through training (8 weeks) but not all made it through the probationary period (about 6 were let go after the 1 year probation). I felt that everyone else in class was "getting it" and I was lost when we started taking our first calls and at first I found it difficult to ask the caller for personal information. But not for long.

You have to take control of the direction of the call immediately and everything is about multi-tasking. Callers can be polite, cooperative, grateful, resentful, suicidal, crying, yelling, cursing, or even threatening. I took a very professional approach and tried to treat people with respect and dignity but I admit that I wasn't always as successful as I wanted to be. You can disconnect a caller that is abusive after first giving warning. Now, here's what got to me: you never knew what you were going to get when you answered that next call. And...you disconnect one call and immediately another call comes through.

I learned a lot about time management, people, and listening. You have the opportunity to assist taxpayers who are feeling that there is no way out of a bad situation. Most people have lost a job or have major medical expenses. A lot were arrogant and thought compliance did not apply to them. The job is to collect and educate. You are following guidelines or laws which change constantly.

I found this to be a very challenging job. I felt isolated (there is no time to get up and chat) and I had to account for every second of my workday. There were also some very rewarding calls, though, and I had a particularly good manager.

I hoped to make a lateral move but left my job because of an injury (non-work related).

I needed the job and made it work.
71chevy454  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:58:46 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for the response Molly Mo. I'm not as concerned about the callers as I am about keeping the position. I'm concerned how difficult the material may be and being able to meet performance. With such a high turnover I wonder if it was due to inability to do the work or just not the right personality. Do you know why so many were fired? My computer and customer service skills are above average. Don't know how much technical material needs to be retained or if there are adequate resources for reference during the calls.
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