Roderick H. Polston is the founder of the Law Offices of Roderick H. Polston, P.C. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with his Bachelors in Accounting in 1997 and graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2001. He has over 10 years of experience in representing clients before the IRS, and is focused 100% on helping individuals and businesses solve their IRS problems!
He is admitted to practice in U.S. Tax Court, all Oklahoma State Courts, and has extensively studied IRS procedure and practice. He has handled hundreds of IRS and other tax cases – helped hundreds with their IRS tax problems – and is a fantastic negotiator with proven experience and success before the IRS.
Rod Polston is a people person. In his line of work as a tax attorney, it’s a very important trait. By the time many of his clients come to him, they are facing significant issues with the IRS. They are often overwhelmed and frightened. Fortunately for them, Rod and his caring staff are looking out for their best interests.
“We care about solving clients’ problems and building long-term relationships,” says Rod. This is a very different mentality from many of the large, national chains that claim to solve IRS problems. “A lot of these national chains CLAIM to settle every case for pennies on the dollar, but quite frankly, they do a horrific job handling people. They take people’s money and don’t really do anything with it. Lots of our clients have gone this route first and haven’t had their problems solved so they come to us. When they come in, their radar is up, but we work really hard to provide a solution and turn things around for them.”
One of the biggest benefits of working with Rod and his staff is the fact that it’s a local firm. Clients are able to come into the office, sit down and meet face to face with their attorney. This is something that the national chains can’t offer— their customers will deal with a representative solely over the phone. More often than not, customers are not even dealing with the same representative each time they call. Another benefit that is exclusive to a local firm like Rod’s is that clients can hand deliver sensitive financial information and not have to worry about it being compromised.
A typical client of Rod’s is someone who has tax problems. They owe back taxes or have unfiled returns with either the IRS or the state of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the issues don’t stop there for most. According to Rod, “Unresolved tax problems create other problems like their income being taken or their house being levied. We develop solutions around the problem. No two clients are the same and the solutions aren’t one size fits all either. Sometimes there can be multiple solutions and our job is to find the best solution that fits that person and their life.”
In addition, the vast majority of people that Rod represents are self-employed. Rod says, “A lot of our clients have been self-employed their entire lives. They’re the last person on the payroll. These aren’t people who are getting a paycheck every two weeks. I’m self-employed myself so I understand how difficult it can be sometimes.”
After Rod and his staff find the best solution for a particular client, they continue to take care of them. He says, “Once a problem is solved and we get them out of the situation, we take measures to ensure that they don’t end up with another problem down the road. We create a structured plan to help them with their taxes and accounting on a monthly basis.”
After eighteen years in the tax business and over 10 years as a tax attorney, it’s no surprise that Rod has his fair share of stories about his clients. He says, “Very few people just wake up one day and decide not to pay their taxes. I had a grown man in my office crying one day because his wife had died of cancer and she took care of all of their finances. On top of his grief, he literally didn’t know what to do.”
Rod describes himself as being an empathetic person and having a natural ability to communicate well with people and see things through their eyes. He says, “I can pick up on things that others can’t. During an initial consultation with a client, I understand what their problems are very quickly. I know where they’re at and how to fix their financial issues.”
Empathy is a quality that he looks for in his employees as well. In fact, Rod and his staff of ten often go above and beyond their normal services to help their clients. Over the holidays this past year, Rod’s firm provided support for a pro bono client of his who is in a devastating situation. “I work with a woman whose husband committed suicide and her daughters are drug addicts so she’s taking care of her grandkids alone. For Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, my employees and I were thrilled to be able to provide dinner, presents and pay their bills for a few months,” says Rod.
His natural communication abilities also contribute to his productive relationship with local IRS and state of Oklahoma tax agency officers. Rod explains, “Although we live on different sides of the fence so to speak, we have a mutual responsibility to the people we work with. We each have a job to do. The agency representatives know when they deal with us that they’re going to be dealt with in an honest manner and I feel we get significantly better results because of it.”
The relationships with the IRS and Oklahoma tax agencies weren’t quite as easy for Rod in the early days of his firm. “The majority of firms do things that are not considered above board. From the beginning, I established that wasn’t how my firm was going to operate. I had to plow the ground a little, but over time they became more amicable and we now have a relatively friendly relationship with all of them. Once they realized we were different, we started getting treated differently,” says Rod. “I even had an IRS auditor tell me that he gets treated much better by our office than any other he deals with.”
The integrity that is now found in every aspect of his firm is something that Rod credits to the values his parents taught him growing up. His father was a high school football coach and his mother an elementary school teacher. Rod describes himself as a child, “I was very competitive and big into sports, especially football. This is Oklahoma after all. I was a good student and well-behaved. Not that I had a choice— the other teachers would tell my mom if I wasn’t.”
After graduating college, Rod worked for a tax lawyer who specialized in tax preparation and estate planning. “I was the low man on the totem pole and he gave me the cases he didn’t want, which were all of the people with tax problems. I’m so glad he did because that’s when I really started to love tax law. I love the people and love the fight. I knew this is what God created me to do and I’ve never looked back. I love it more now than I did then.”
Being raised in a football family is something that’s stuck with Rod throughout his life. “I was the captain of the NormanHigh School state champion football team. We’re coming up on our twenty year reunion this year and I still stay in contact with a lot of those guys. I learned more on that 100-yard field about life than I ever did in a classroom. It molded who I am.”
The competitive edge he learned on the field is now applied to his professional life. “My competitive nature was instilled in me as a kid and it’s what drives me the most. I’m very goal oriented. On New Year’s Day every year, I write down my goals for the year. My staff members write down their goals as well and we share them with each other. I guess you could say my competitive nature rubs off on people here,” says Rod.
When he’s not working to solve cases for his clients, you’ll most likely find Rod outdoors. “I’m big into bow hunting and fishing and that’s what I do in my free time during hunting season. When it’s not hunting season, I take my wife places to make her happy so she’ll let me hunt,” he says with a laugh.
This easygoing, friendly demeanor is interrupted only when Rod talks about what upsets him most— clients that have been wronged by other firms before turning to him. “When I think about my clients that were represented by people who didn’t care about them, didn’t solve their problems and just wanted their money, it literally makes me sick.”
Fortunately for these clients, they did turn to Rod’s firm. “Everyone on our staff has close ties to Oklahoma. We love this community. We love solving problems. Who doesn’t love being a hero for someone? The whole staff gets excited when we close cases and we’re excited a lot. We have client testimonials lining our hallways and conference room walls to remind ourselves why we do what we do. We’re really good at solving clients’ tax problems. I don’t say that arrogantly, I say that confidently”
“When it’s all said and done, I want my legacy to be that I was someone of high integrity that represented my business to the best of my possible ability,” says Rod.