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Resolving A Dispute With The IRS Through The Appeals Process


Taxpayers don’t always agree with the IRS’ decisions, often because the agency made a mistake. Fortunately, taxpayers don’t have to accept an IRS decision without question. Instead, taxpayers can work with the agency to settle their tax dispute through an administrative appeals process, thereby avoiding court proceedings and lengthy litigation. To learn more about this process and your own rights when it comes to appealing an IRS decision, please call our experienced U.S. tax court appearances attorney today.

Initiating the Administrative Appeals Process

When it makes a decision regarding a taxpayer’s return, the IRS notifies that taxpayer by sending him or her a letter explaining the proposed adjustments or collection action in question. Upon receipt of this notice, taxpayers can request a conference with an Appeals or Settlement Officer. Initial appeals conferences are usually relatively informal and a taxpayer can either represent him or herself or retain an attorney. At this conference, the taxpayer will need to provide records and documentation in support of his or her position to the Appeals Officer, who will make an independent review of the tax dispute and consider both parties’ positions before issuing a decision.

Fortunately, examination adjustments aren’t the only thing that can be appealed by taxpayers. Rather, taxpayers have the right to appeal a wide range of decisions, including those related to:

  • Whether or not a taxpayer owes a penalty;
  • A denial of a taxpayer’s request for penalty abatement;
  • A denial of a claim for credits, deductions, or refunds;
  • A denial of a taxpayer’s request for innocent spouse relief;
  • The assignment of a lien or levy;
  • A rejected Offer in Compromise; and
  • Eligibility for tax-exempt status.

If the Appeals Officer sides with the taxpayer after assessing the evidence, then that individual can expect the IRS to revise its decision. If, on the other hand, the Appeals Officer confirms the IRS’ decision, then the taxpayer will need to file a claim in tax court to continue the appeals process.

Taking a Case to Court

Most tax disputes are settled during the administrative appeals process. Taxpayers who are unhappy with the decision of the judge who oversaw their proceedings can, however, still file a petition with the U.S. Tax Court, an endeavor that must typically be accomplished within 90 days of receiving one of the following:

  • A notice of certification;
  • A notice of deficiency; or
  • A notice of determination.

When filing a petition to the appeals court, taxpayers must attach a copy of their notice, as well as the IRS Appeals Officer’s report from the administrative proceedings. Other documents, including tax returns, receipts, and other types of evidence don’t need to be submitted at this time. This kind of evidence will, however, be required at a later date, when the petitioner is presenting his or her arguments at trial.

Do You Need Help Appealing an IRS Decision?

Appealing an IRS decision can feel daunting. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone. Please call experienced U.S. tax court appearances lawyer Ronald Cutler, P.A. for help asserting your own right to appeal. You can set up a free consultation by calling 386-490-9949 today.