Understanding Your Rights to an IRS Appeal

July 29th, 2010 by Filed under: Filing Taxes, Tax Tips

It is a common misconception that when it comes to the IRS, you have little or no rights concerning tax issues. With thousands of tax codes to contend with, it is not unusual for taxpayers to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the entire tax process. While it is true that the IRS is a powerful and sometimes unforgiving collection machine, the taxpayer still has rights that must be acknowledged. If you feel that the IRS has made a mistake which has affected you in a negative manner, you can appeal if you understand your rights and how the system works.

IRS Appeals System

  • There may be an occasion when the IRS makes adjustments to a taxpayers tax return. When this occurs, the filer will receive a notice explaining an adjustments that the IRS proposes, as well as information as to how you can request a conference with the Appeals office.
  • The Appeals office does not only deal with tax return adjustments but any number of other situations. If you disagree with a tax lien, levy, offers in compromise result, trust fund recovery penaltiescertain penalties they may all be presented to the Appeals office.
  • Before meeting with a representative from the Appeals office, it is important that you gather all of your relevant information to the case in question. You have the right to represent yourself or have an attorney speak on your behalf. It is imperative that you have any records or documentation that support your position, otherwise you might be wasting everyone’s time. Understand the appeal’s process is not designed for anyone who simply doesn’t not want to pay tax liabilities but rather for those who have a legitimate reason for disagreeing with an IRS ruling.
  • The Appeals office is the only administration within the agency that allows you take action against an IRS ruling.
  • Some actions may be appealed through a court of law, versus the Appeals system. This may be necessary for those who do not wish to deal with the Appeals office or those who have gone through the Appeals office without the desired results.

Not all rulings are eligible for an appeal. Carefully read any correspondence you have received from the IRS to determine whether or not the ruling in question is eligible for an appeal. This information will be noted somewhere within the documentation the IRS sends to you regarding the ruling.

It’s important to note that the Appeals office is independent of other IRS departments; specifically the departments that make the rulings which may be subject to dispute. As a neutral party, the Appeals office can review the ruling and help the taxpayer and the government as an impartial mediator. This is beneficial to all parties as they try to reach an decision with which everyone is in agreement.  If you have received a notification from the IRS that a determination has been made which is eligible for appeal, and you feel that determination was made in error, know your rights and contact an Appeals office representative to further discuss the matter.

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