Every year, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers resolve their tax disputes with the IRS without going to Tax Court. This is done through the IRS Office of Appeals, an independent organization from the examination department whose mission is to help taxpayers and the government resolve tax disagreements. The Office of Appeals is not allowed to always take the side of the auditor or collection agent in a dispute; rather the Appeals unit strives to resolve tax disputes in a fair way by remaining impartial.
Learn more about IRS appeals and how a tax lawyer can help you by calling Pearson Butler at (800) 265-2314. Pearson Butler is prepared to fight for your interests.
Understanding the IRS Appeals Process
If your tax return is selected by the IRS to be audited, you will receive a letter explaining the proposed adjustments to your tax return or proposed (or taken) collection action. If you disagree with the proposed changes or collection actions, you have a right to request a conference with an Appeals or Settlement Officer. In addition to audit adjustments, many other things can be appealed, such as penalties, interest, trust fund recovery penalties, offers in compromise, liens, and levies. If you request an Appeals conference, you must be prepared with records and documentation to support your position.
The 30-Day Letter
Within a few weeks after your closing conference with the auditor and/or supervisor, you will receive a package that includes:
- A letter (known as a 30-day letter) notifying you of your right to appeal the proposed changes within 30 days;
- A copy of the examination report explaining the examiner’s proposed changes; and
- An agreement or waiver form.
You generally have 30 days from the date of the 30-day letter to tell the IRS whether you will accept or appeal the proposed changes. The letter will explain what steps you should take, depending on which action you choose.
If you do not respond to the 30-day letter, or if you later do not reach an agreement with an Appeals Officer, the IRS will send you a 90-day letter, which is also known as a notice of deficiency.
The Protest Letter
If you disagree with the proposed changes outlined in the 30-day letter, your tax attorney can advise you as to whether a former written protest is necessary and what information to include in that letter. If a formal written protest is necessary, the amount of information and detail you should include represents a strategic decision, as this letter will be used in later negotiations between your attorney and the Appeals Officer. Your tax attorney can guide you as to the best approach to your protest letter based on your specific circumstances.
Negotiating a Settlement with an Appeal
An Appeals Officer has flexibility to determine whether to accept a taxpayer’s settlement offer. The officer may examine and resolve each issue individually by weighing the merits of the taxpayer’s position against the hazards of litigation. Or the officer may be able to reach an overall settlement based on concessions by both parties. The Utah tax appeal lawyers at Pearson Butler are skilled and experienced in this negotiation process and work tirelessly in their preparations to secure the best possible outcome for taxpayers.
Contact the tax attorneys of Pearson Butler today for a free consultation online or by calling (800) 265-2314. Pearson Butler serves all of Utah.