The IRS Office of Appeals: Ways to Resolve a Tax Dispute
If you receive a ruling or change to your tax return from the IRS that you disagree with, take a deep breath and remember one thing: you can appeal. The IRS has developed a process for taxpayers to appeal a decision made by the IRS and resolve disagreements regarding a tax return. It’s a checks and balances system that helps keep the process fair and just.
Function of the IRS Office of Appeals
If you decide to pursue this avenue, keep in mind that there are (as you might expect) procedures to follow so that your appeal is reviewed and responded to. The IRS has an impartial Appeals Office that reviews these disputes and serves as sort of a “judge” in a court case between a plaintiff and defendant. If you disagree with a ruling the IRS made regarding your return, you have the right to what’s known as an appeals conference. In this conference, you or your delegate (you are allowed to hire a tax professional for assistance) presents your “case” and the impartial Appeals Office representative renders a decision on the appeal. Even if this decision is not in your favor, you can still file your dispute in court.
Format for Appeal
The first step to appeal a decision from the IRS is a written protest. It must include the following:
- Your personal contact information
- A clear statement that you are exercising your right to an appeal
- A copy of the documentation that you received from the IRS (that you are appealing)
- Timeframe of the dispute
- A statement that clearly outlines your view and supports your appeal
- If the amount of tax debt in question (including interest and penalties) is less than $25,000, you may not need to submit this formal protest document. Instead, you may be able to submit a more informal appeal called a small case request.
Keep in mind that if the Office of Appeals does not rule in your favor and you continue the appeals process, the IRS can start the collections process for the amount of money they say you owe. This can include a tax levy or lien, which can negatively impact your credit score and affect your entire financial situation.
Seeking Help With an Appeal
Appealing a ruling from the IRS is well within your rights as a taxpayer, but you must pay attention to the details of the process and make sure that you them closely so that your appeal is considered in a reasonable timeframe. You may decide that it would be helpful to have help navigating this somewhat complicated and high stakes process. If so, you can seek the help of a tax attorney, a CPA or a reputable tax firm who can review your return and supporting documentation and give you the best possible chance at a successful appeal.
For over 30 years, Success Tax Relief has been helping people like you stand up to the IRS. If you think you have a tax dispute you’d like resolved, contact us today for a free consultation.