IRS Appeal Rights
The IRS has an administrative appeals process that works with taxpayers to try to settle tax disputes in an effort to avoid formal court hearings. The role of Appeals is to make an independent review of a tax dispute and to consider the positions taken by both the taxpayer and the IRS. The Appeals unit strives to resolve tax disputes in a fair way and remain impartial to both parties. The Appeals unit is staffed by IRS employees who call themselves “settlement officers.” Generally, they are more flexible and willing to listen than front line revenue officers.
The IRS will send you a report and/or letter that will explain the proposed adjustments or proposed or taken collection action. The letter also tells you of your right to request a conference with an Appeals or Settlement Officer, as well as how to make your request for a conference. In addition to examination adjustments, many other things can be appealed such as penalties, interest, trust fund recovery penalties, offers in compromise, liens, and levies.
Appeals conferences are informal meetings, but do not underestimate the importance of being prepared and the ability to “put on your case.” The appeals officers are experienced, and a taxpayer must be able to provide meaningful answers to their questions. An attorney, accountant, or an individual enrolled to practice before the IRS can represent the taxpayer. There is no substitute for experience in getting results on IRS Appeals.