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When Should You File an Appeal with the IRS?

Offshore Account Update

Posted on May 31, 2022 |

Many taxpayers find themselves in the situation of disagreeing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about how much they owe. If you believe the IRS is asking you to pay more than you owe under the Internal Revenue Code, your next step may be to file an appeal. In this article, Boston tax lawyer Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, provides an overview of the IRS appeals process.

Your “Right” to File an Appeal When You Disagree with the IRS

As the IRS recently explained, “Taxpayers have the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. This is one of ten basic rights — known collectively as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights — that all taxpayers have when working with the IRS.” This “independent forum” is the IRS' Independent Office of Appeals.

In most cases, the need to file an appeal with the IRS’ Independent Office of Appeals arises out of a tax audit. If the IRS has audited your tax returns and determined that you underpaid your tax liability, you essentially have three options: (i) accept the IRS’ determination, (ii) seek partial relief (i.e., by attempting to settle your tax debt or applying for a penalty abatement), or (iii) file an appeal.

While some appeals must be filed in the U.S. Tax Court, the IRS’ Independent Office of Appeals handles the first stage of most taxpayer challenges to unfavorable audit determinations. In some cases, taxpayers have the option to file with the Independent Office of Appeals or file in court. Generally speaking, seeking relief through the Independent Office of Appeals is the more-efficient approach; although, if the Office affirms a taxpayer’s tax liability, then the taxpayer’s case may still end up in court.

Examples of issues that taxpayers can take to the IRS’ Independent Office of Appeals include:

  • Calculation of tax liability
  • Calculation of interest
  • Determination of tax status
  • Eligibility for credits, deductions or exemptions
  • Imposition of failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties

Prior to filing a protest with the IRS’ Independent Office of Appeals, taxpayers must generally exhaust their options at the audit level. As the IRS explains, “If you provide new information or raise new issues to Appeals that the IRS has not previously considered, it may first need to be considered by an IRS employee, which will likely delay the resolution of your case.” The IRS goes on to state that, “if you cannot reach an agreement with the IRS employee, you may request a discussion with the employee’s supervisor. If you still don’t agree after your attempts to resolve the matter with the IRS employee and/or supervisor, you may request Fast Track Settlement (FTS) if your case qualifies, or an administrative appeal with Appeals.”

Discuss Your Options with Boston Tax Lawyer Kevin E. Thorn

If you are dealing with the IRS and need to know more about your options for challenging the IRS’ determination of your tax or penalty liability, we encourage you to get in touch. To request a confidential consultation with Boston tax lawyer Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, call 617-692-2989, email ket@thornlawgroup.com or contact us confidentially online today.

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