DEALING WITH DIFFICULT TAXPAYERS
This session is designed to have a workable strategy and quick sketch of a particular situation. No matter how bright a person is, disappointments block his good judgement. It is important for a Revenue Officer to opt for logical action instead of emotional reaction.
This session aims to help a Revenue Officer turn a bad situation into his advantage. Start by identifying at what is upsetting you or the taxpayer, then try to find time to cool off. Other tried and tested tactics are discussed in this session.
A new competitive reality is putting everyone at a premium in the workplace. The BIR, as a service oriented agency, must have its personnel go through emotional transformation to cope with the task.
Being skilled in basic emotional competencies means being attuned to the feelings of taxpayers, being able to handle disagreements so they do not escalate and enjoying the work process. Recognising one’s deepest feelings and adapting necessary changes can truly make work satisfying.
Bringing together mind and heart in the workplace provides better management of emotional life. Appropriateness of emotional expression in dealing with hostile and angry taxpayer enables us to handle situations positively. As Aristotle put it, cultivating the rare skill “to be angry with the right person to the right degree at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way.”
Difficult taxpayers abound in the workplace. While you have every right to feel affronted, you are not their prime target. You just happen to be on their way. You can caught in their web and it is up to you to free yourself.
OBJECTIVE OF THE SESSION
At the end of the session, the participants should be able to:
Develop emotional intelligence in managing self and others;
Recognise taxpayer emotions and deal with them accordingly; and
Learn techniques on how to deal with difficult taxpayers.
The effectiveness of handling situation depends on how tell you manage yourself. To manage yourself well is to know yourself.
Self awareness is the highest form of maturity. It means being aware of both your mood and your thoughts about that mood.
Self-aware people are in tune with their moods. These people understandably have some sophistication about their emotional lives. Their emotional clarity enables them to understand other personality traits. They are autonomous and sure of their own boundaries, are in good psychological health, and tend to have a positive outlook on life. When they get into a bad blood, they do not ruminate and obsess about it. They are able to get out of it sooner. Their mindfulness helps them manage their emotions.
The Key Ingredients in Effective Emotional Skills Development Program are:
Identifying and labeling feelings
Assessing the intensity of feelings
Removing the difference between feelings and actions.
Other Key Ingredients in Effective Emotional Skills Development Program:
Self Talk - conducting an “inner dialogue” as a way to cope with a topic to challenge or reinforce one’s own behaviour;
Reading and interpreting social cues- for example, recognising social influences on behaviour and seeing oneself in the perspective of the larger community;
Using steps in problem solving an decision making, like, controlling impulses, setting goals, identifying alternative actions, anticipating consequences;
Understanding the perspective of others;
Understanding behavioural norms (what is and is not acceptable behaviour);
Positive attitude towards life;
Self-awareness - for example, developing realistic expectations about oneself.
Types of Difficult Taxpayers
the angry taxpayer
the nasty or obnoxious person
the seething, but silent individual
the demanding client
the constant critic
the non stop talker
the indecisive person
the intoxicated one
Why are these people difficult?
Most difficult people are INSECURE. Like all of us, they too, have a need to be understood, welcome and be put an ease. Difficult people are often merely expressing a need, although they often choose inappropriate and impolite ways to communicate this need.
Hand Out 1:
Common Reasons Why Taxpayers are Difficult
Here are some common reasons why taxpayers may be difficult. Check the ones that may apply to you and your situation.
They are tired or frustrated.
They are confused or
They are defending their ego or self-esteem.
They have never been in a similar situation before,.
They feel ignored. Nobody has listened to them.
They may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
They don’t speak or understand the language very well.
They have been treated poorly in similar circumstances in the past.
They are in a bad mood and take it out on you.
They are in a hurry or have waited an extended period of time for service.
Steps in Handling Taxpayers Complaints
LISTEN carefully to the complaint.
REPEAT the complaint and secure acknowledgement from the taxpayer that you heard him correctly.
customer or guest’s feelings - anger, frustration, disappointment, etc.
EXPLAIN what action you will take to correct the problem.
THANK the customer for bringing the problem to your attention.
Pair the participants. Read to them the situation below:
A taxpayer approaches the front desk of your office and is visibly upset. He informs you that he just received a notice as a stop filer for failure to file a return pertaining to monthly withholding taxes on compensation which he diligently file and pay ahead of time. He informs you that he feels so indignant because a service agency like the BIR, should have an accurate record of its taxpayers. He demands immediate action.
Applying the steps in handling difficult taxpayer, Ask 2 or 3 volunteer pairs to role play and present. Allow 5 minutes for preparation and another 5 minutes for presentation. Process the results of the presentation.
What to DO and What to SAY when Faced with a Difficult Taxpayer
WRITE the two (2) columns on the board or white board. ASK the participants to use any of the spaces hereof to list most common taxpayer complaints they can anticipate on their job. For each complaint that they list on the left, indicate on the right, how they should handle the complaint. (1) what they would do and (2) what they would say.
Getting Difficult Taxpayers on Your Side
Step One: Don’t take it personally. This is one of the hardest customer-service skills to learn. Remember, they are not attacking you personally (even though it may seem they are).
Step Two: Remain calm, listen carefully.
This is easy to say here, but difficult to do. Take a deep breath and plan your words carefully. Paraphrase what they have said to make sure you have
heard them correctly.
Step Three: Focus on the problem, not the person.
Go to a quiet area. Sit down. Be a problem solver. Try to figure out what this person needs and satisfy this need in someway, if you can. Let them know what you CAN DO.
Step Four: Reward yourself for turning a difficult customer into a happy one
Pair the participants. Read to them the situation below:
A middle-aged woman approaches the Taxpayer Assistance Counter and demands to see the Regional Director. She asks if you can help her since the director is not available. She immediately asserts that the Bureau’s personnel are incompetent in giving tax refund. She explains that she traveled all the way from Binan, Laguna. She had approached several BIR personnel in the office and each one offered different instructions on how to claim her refund. She is confused, hopping from one table to another.
Tell the pairs to write a plan of action on how to deal with this situation. Ask 2 or 3 volunteer pairs to role play and present. Allow 5 minutes for preparation and another 5 minutes for presentation. Wrap-up the session by processing the results of the workshop.