If you do not agree with a tax return examination or with other adjustments to your income tax liability, the IRS provides an appeals system. Find out more about the appeals process, important tips and your rights.
If you do not agree with a tax return examination or with other adjustments to your income tax liability, the IRS provides an appeals system. Here are some important tips to know when it comes to the process and your rights:
You will receive an initial letter outlining the proposed adjustments in your tax liability. This letter will also explain how to request a meeting with an appeals office if you do not agree.
Taxpayers have the right to appeal the following IRS actions:
Trust fund recovery penalties;
Offers in compromise; or
Liens and levies.
Be prepared to state your opposition supported by records and documentation as evidence of a position counter to the IRS’.
Note that appeals conferences are informal: you may represent yourself, or you may have someone else represent you (the only professionals allowed to represent taxpayers before the IRS are attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, or enrolled agents). You may choose to have your appeal via correspondence, teleconference, or in person.
You may also choose to have what’s called a “Small Case Request” if you owe less than $25,000. In this instance, file a written protest, computing the total amount of taxes owed, and include a proposed decrease in taxes (including any penalties). You must send the letter to your local appeals office, and indicate the reasons you do not agree with the IRS’ actions(s).
The IRS Appeals Office is separate and independent of the IRS office taking the action, and the only administrative appeal-level office within the IRS.
If an agreement is not reached with IRS Appeals, or if you seek to appeal outside of the IRS, certain actions are appealable through the federal courts. See the information under “courts” on page 2 of IRS Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree (PDF 36K) for more detailed instructions on how to do this.
Source: IRS Tax Tip 2010-65
Appeals… Resolving Tax Disputes
Tax Topic 151 – Your Appeal Rights
Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer
Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree (PDF 36K) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5.pdf
Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights and Claims for Refunds
Publication 3605, Fast Track Mediation (PDF 15K)
Identity theft secrets, guest writer, Sami K. Hartsfield, ACP, is a paralegal in Houston with experience in commercial litigation and tax law. She holds a degree in paralegal studies and a bachelor of science degree in political science. After interning with Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals under Chief Justice Adele Hedges and completed the University of Houston Law Center’s Summer 2008 Prelaw Institute, she is preparing to enter law school this fall. Sami holds a national advanced paralegal certification, and four specialty certifications: Discovery; Trial Practice; Contracts Management; and Social Security Disability Law. More helpful tax information can be found at her National Tax Law Examiner page.