How to Be More Appealing to the IRS: Appeals Representation
Robert E. McKenzie ©2011
1.10 While the process is not mandated by statute, the Service has, for over 60 years, provided taxpayers with an administrative alternative to litigating their tax disputes in court [Reg. § 601.106]. Now commonly referred to as Appeals, this administrative branch of the IRS generally has the final power and authority of the IRS to determine audit liabilities of taxpayers [Reg. § 601.106]. The fact that the Appeals has been able to settle as many as 86% of the cases brought to it in a given year attests to its importance and effectiveness.
1.20 Since its inception, the Appeals has been known by various names and has had differing levels of authority delegated to it. Its main mission, however, has never changed. As stated by itself, that mission is: “…to resolve tax controversies, without litigation, on a basis which is fair and impartial to both the Government and the taxpayer in a manner that will enhance voluntary compliance and public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the Service”. The mission, if you speak to an IRS employee at Appeals, is one they truly believe in. Aiding a client in his or her appeal of an audit may seem more simple than it actually is. While the Appeals route is often the most efficient and logical step, under certain circumstances it is not.
2. ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE OF APPEALS OFFICE
2.10 The national headquarters of the Appeals is located in Washington, D.C. and is supervised by the Director of Appeals who reports to the Commissioner’s office. There are two operating units: Wage & Investment (W&I)-Small Business/Self-Employed – Tax Exempt/Government Entities (SB/SE-TE/GE) and Large & Mid-Size Business (LMSB). W & I-SB/SE-TE/GE activities involve cases covering corporations with less than $10 million in assets, collection issues, estate and gift tax cases, self-employed cases, tax exempt entities, and government entities. This unit will also have responsibility for the current Records and Processing sections. Other program responsibilities include innocent spouse, Freedom of Information Act appeals, excise and employment tax, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) of bankruptcy, dyed diesel fuel and tax exempt bond cases. LMSB activities cover corporate and partnership cases with assets greater than $10 million with the most complex issues, particularly international issues. It includes such activities as the Industry Specialization Program, Large Case ADR, Joint Committee, international issues and competent authority. Appeals provides taxpayers with an independent impartial review of their cases after an audit is completed or collection action is proposed. It is the last opportunity for the IRS and the taxpayer to agree before a case goes to court. Appeals plays a critical role in ensuring that taxpayers have an opportunity to resolve their dispute. Keys to the success of the Appeals function include three factors: its independence, impartiality and fairness.
2.20 This organizational structure gives the Appeals a great deal of independence. Often, Appeals, considering the “hazards of litigation” and the costs involved, is willing to offer a settlement extremely favorable to the taxpayer unless it is an issue which, from a policy standpoint, must be litigated. This willingness to settle on favorable terms leads many local Area offices to refer to it as the “gift shop.” This derogatory reference derives from the belief of many agents and auditors that the Appeals is much too willing to settle cases with taxpayers.
2.30 Strategic Priorities. Appeals had set forth the following as its strategic priorities: ● Increase taxpayer awareness of the Appeals process and their rights within the process ● Increase taxpayer awareness of alternative dispute resolution programs ● Improve our processes to meet customer needs and expectations and to reduce the length of the Appeals process while spending the right amount of time with each taxpayer ● Promote employee productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.
3. APPEALS OFFICE JURISDICTION
3.10 Exclusive Authority. The authority of Appeals to determine liability for most taxes in cases which originate in an Area located within a region is both exclusive and final. The authority is exclusive because it is delegated directly from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and finally because there is no administrative appeal from Appeals decision. Again, the appeals function is independent of the examination process.
3.20 Types of Cases. The mission of Appeals is accomplished by considering taxpayer appeals, holding conferences and negotiating settlements in two broad categories of cases: docketed and non-docketed cases. Non-docketed cases are those in which the Taxpayer has filed a protest to a Area Office’s proposed action [Exhibit 1] involving additional taxes, a refund disallowance [Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(ii), (d)(2)(ii)], or a rejection of an offer in compromise [Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(ii)]. Docketed cases are those which a taxpayer has filed a petition for a redetermination in the United States Tax Court. In addition to the foregoing, Appeals also considers claims for refund and over-assessment cases involving income taxes, estate and gift taxes, excise and employment taxes and 100% penalties [IRM 8511 (June 16, 1993)].
3.30 Jurisdictional Amount. There is no monetary limit on jurisdiction. However, over-assessments which exceed $1,000,000 are subject to review by the Chief Counsel and the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation [IRC § 6405].
3.40 Pre-Assessment Jurisdiction. The types of pre-assessment cases over which Appeals Office may have jurisdiction involve: (1) Federal income, profits, estate, gift and miscellaneous excise tax (whether before or after a notice of deficiency has been issued); (2) Employment and certain excise tax liabilities; and (3) Additions to the tax, additional amounts and assessable penalties under IRC Chapter 68. However, the only way the Appeals Office gains authority over a case is if the taxpayer has requested Appeals Office consideration and in most cases, has filed a written protest. The Appeals Office is authorized to hear the taxpayer’s appeal in most cases when additional tax liabilities have been prepared, indirectly: (1) Federal income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax cases; (2) Employment and certain federal excise tax cases; and (3) Cases involving liability under IRC Chapter 68 for additions to the tax, additional amounts and assorted penalties [Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(ii)].
3.50 Post-Assessment Penalty Appeals. Appeals Offices also have jurisdiction over post-assessment cases involving penalties provided in IRC Chapter 68 [See Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(ii)(c), (iii)]. Most of the penalties set forth in Chapter 68 are imposed for a taxpayer’s failure to perform some act required by the Code (i.e., failure to file a return, or furnish a statement). These Chapter 68 penalty provisions generally state that the penalty will not be imposed where the taxpayer’s failure to act was due to reasonable cause and was not willfully neglectful. Where the taxpayer has such a defense to a Chapter 68 penalty, the taxpayer may have an administrative post-assessment appeal. In all post-assessment penalty appeals, written protests are required, and Technical Advice procedures are not available [Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(iv)].
3.60 Tax Exempt/Government Entities (TE/GE). Appeals also has jurisdiction over Tax Exempt/Government Entities (SB/SE-TE/GE) cases which involve initial or continuing tax exemption or foundation classification and initial or continuing employee plan qualification, unless the case is covered by a National Office ruling or Technical Advice where the organization or plan has either no appeal right or a limited National Office appeal right [Reg § 601.106(a)(1)(v)].
3.70 Waiver: Tax Court Cases. The Office may shift jurisdiction to the Area Manager if a statutory Notice of Deficiency (90-day letter) was issued by an Area Manager or the Director of Foreign Operations Area [See Exhibit 2]. But this waiver is only effective during the period for filing with the United States Tax Court.
3.80 Once a Tax Court petition is filed by the taxpayer, the Appeals Office retains jurisdiction to settle the case for a limited period of time. The interplay between the Area Counsel and the Appeals Office in these cases will be more fully discussed in the Appeals Procedure section of this material [See Section 6.70].
3.90 Fast Track Mediation. Fast Track Settlement (Large & Mid-Size Division Taxpayers) Fast Track Settlement (FTS) offers Large and Mid-Size Business Division (LMSB) taxpayers a way to resolve audit issues during the examination process in less than 120-days. Working with LMSB and Appeals, taxpayers can use the settlement authority and mediation skills of Appeals to shorten their overall experience with the Internal Revenue Service. FTS reduces the combined LMSB-Appeals process time by two years. Refer to the following for more information.
3.100 Fast Track Settlement (Small Business and Self-Employed Taxpayers). Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) and Appeals designed a alternative dispute resolution strategy for small business and self employed (SB/SE) taxpayers, called SB/SE Appeals Fast Track Settlement (FTS). This program offers a way to resolve audit issues during the examination process in less than 60-days, by using the settlement authority and mediation skills of Appeals. A two-year test of the program began on September 6, 2006, in Chicago, St. Paul, and Houston and then was expanded to include taxpayers in Philadelphia, San Diego, Laguna and Riverside. After reviewing the test city results, Appeals and SB/SE decided to extend the test for an additional period of up to two more years, beginning December 1, 2008, in order to gather additional information, evaluate the program, consider necessary adjustments, and determine whether to make the program permanent. If you are from these testing cities and you wish to take part, then use the Form 14017 “Application for Fast Track Settlement”.
3.110 Fast Track Settlement (Tax Exempt and Government Entities Taxpayers). On December 1, 2008, Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) and Appeals announced a Fast Track Settlement program for TE/GE taxpayers. The program gives TE/GE taxpayers under examination by any of the five business units within TE/GE an opportunity to resolve their disputes within 60 days of acceptance into the program. An Appeals officer trained in TE/GE issues will mediate the issues and, when necessary, utilize Appeals settlement authority to resolve the issues. Announcement 2008-105, 2008-48 IRB 1219 explains the eligibility requirements and types of cases excluded from the program.
3.120 Fast Track Mediation (Small Businesses and Self-Employed Taxpayers). Fast Track Mediation (FTM) gives Small Businesses, Self-Employed (SE/SE) taxpayers and the IRS the opportunity to mediate disputes through an IRS appeals officer, who acts as a neutral party. In this program, most tax disputes are resolved within 40 days compared to several months though the regular appeal process. IRS offers this new service designed to expedite case resolution on disputes that arise from examination or collection actions.
3.130 Early Referral. Taxpayers whose returns are under the jurisdiction of Examination or Collection may request the transfer of a developed but unagreed issue to Appeals. Examination or Collection will continue to develop those issues not referred to Appeals. The early resolution of a key issue may encourage taxpayers and the Service to agree on other issues in the case. Early referral can also be requested with respect to issues regarding an involuntary change in method of accounting, employment tax, employee plans and exempt organizations. Regular Appeals procedures apply, including taxpayer conferences.
3.140 Post Appeals Mediation. Mediation is available for certain cases that are already in the Appeals process only after Appeals settlement discussions are unsuccessful and, generally, when all other issues are resolved but for the issues for which mediation is being requested. Mediation is a non-binding process that uses the services of a mediator, as a neutral third party, to help Appeals and the taxpayer reach their own negotiated settlement. The mediator will act as a facilitator; assist in defining the issues; and promote settlement negotiations between Appeals and the taxpayer. The mediator will not have settlement authority in the mediation process and will not render a decision regarding any issue in dispute.
3.150 Arbitration. Arbitration is available for certain cases within Appeals jurisdiction that meet the operational requirements of the program. Generally, this program is available for cases in which a limited number of factual issues remain unresolved following settlement discussions in Appeals. Appeals and the taxpayer will be bound by the arbitrator’s findings. The arbitration procedure uses the services of an arbitrator either from Appeals or from an outside organization.
3.160 Simultaneous Appeals/Competent Authority. The simultaneous Appeals/competent authority procedure encourages taxpayers to request competent authority assistance and the participation of Appeals while a case is under the Examination Division’s jurisdiction. Revenue Procedure 2006-54 contains the competent jurisdiction. Revenue Procedure 2006-54 contains the competent authority procedures. Section 8 of Rev. Proc 2006-54 specifies the circumstances under which the simultaneous appeals/competent authority procedure may be requested.
4. LIMITATIONS ON APPEALS OFFICE JURISDICTION
4.10 Subject Matter Jurisdiction Limitations. While an appeal to Appeals may seem to be an attractive avenue for the client, the practitioner should be aware of the limits under which the Appeals Offices operate when considering pursuit of an administrative appeal.
4.20 Ruling Positions. The Appeals Office is bound to follow IRS Revenue Rulings. Therefore, if a settlement would conflict with a published Revenue Ruling, the probability of settlement is substantially reduced.
4.30 Joint Committee Cases. If a tax matter involves a refund or overpayment in excess of $1,000,000, a report must be made to the Joint Committee on Taxation of Congress before the refund or credit can be made [Reg § 601.106(g); IRC § 6405]. While the Joint Committee does not have explicit authority to overrule an administrative decision, as a practical matter the Service considers the Joint Committee to have that authority. (Remember that the IRS budget is determined each year by Congress and the Joint Committee.) Thus, no Appeals Office settlement will be effective until the Joint Committee has notified the Appeals Office that it has no objection to the proposed overpayment [IRC § 6405; Reg § 601.106(g)] or until the expiration of 30 days after the report is submitted [IRM 8910, MT 8-2].
4.40 Whipsaw Cases. Appeals Officers are required to protect the interest of the government in “Whipsaw Cases.” A whipsaw case (also referred to as an interrelated case) is one in which a settlement in one case could have a contrary tax effect in a different taxpayer’s case. Alimony is a common example. Alimony is taxable to the receiving spouse and deductible by the payor spouse; but a property settlement can be neither. Commonly, one spouse claims an alimony deduction while the receiving spouse excludes it from income as a property settlement. A settlement in such a situation will have a detrimental effect on one of the taxpayers. The Service will typically attempt to use the closing agreement to resolve the conflict; if this is not possible, the Appeals will take an inconsistent position to push the taxpayers into court. Both parties could then petition the Tax Court for a redetermination of the matter.
4.50 Fraud Penalties. Appeals must secure the consent of the Area Counsel before it may concede or eliminate the fraud penalty for a year in which a recommendation had been made to criminally prosecute the taxpayer [Reg § 601.106(a)(2)(v)]. This is true even where the taxpayer has been acquitted of the crime.
4.60 Criminal Cases. The Appeals Office has no jurisdiction at all in a case where a recommendation of criminal prosecution is pending, unless the Area Counsel agrees to such jurisdiction [Reg § 601.106(a)(2)(vi)].
4.70 Appeals Coordinated Issues. Appeals Coordinated issues generally involve issues of particular importance to tax administration on which there have been no definitive judicial conclusions. When a matter pending before Appeals is also pending in another court, settlement possibilities may be affected by the stance of the Department of Justice or other branches of the Service in those judicial forums. With consistency as the goal, the proposed dispositions of these issues in Appeals are arrived at with the assistance of the Area Director of the coordinating. area.
4.80 Docketed Cases. The settlement authority of Appeals Office does not extend to a docketed case if the Notice of Deficiency: (1) Was issued by Appeals; (2) Was issued by TE?GE after Appeals consideration of all petitioned issues; or (3) Was issued by the Area and was based on a ruling or Technical Advice with respect to an issue involving qualification of an employee plan or foundation status of an organization or if the case involves public inspection of a written determination or a declaratory judgment [Reg § 601.106(a)(2)].
4.90 Certain Excise Taxes. Appeals Office authority does not extend to excise taxes that are predominantly regulatory in nature. Cases involving alcohol, tobacco and firearms excise taxes are therefore not appealable to Appeals.
4.100 Tax Protesters. Taxpayers whose reasons for refusing to comply with the tax laws are based solely on moral, religious, political, constitutional, conscientious or similar grounds will not be afforded an administrative appeal. These “tax protesters” are commonly fined thousands of dollars for pursuing their cases before the Tax Court.
4.110 Geographic Jurisdiction. An Appeals Office has jurisdiction over cases which arise in an Area Office. If a taxpayer moves outside of a region or wishes to have his case transferred to a different Appeals Office, a transfer will be allowed in the following circumstances, providing the taxpayer is not attempting to transfer the case for strategic reasons: (1) Non-docketed cases (or those involving excise or employment taxes may be transferred by the current Appeals Office to the region or office locality where the taxpayer resides if his books and records are located or can be made available there; or (2) Docketed cases may be transferred to the region where the Tax Court case will be heard, if the taxpayer resides there and his books and records are located or can be made available there [Reg § 601.106(e)].
4.120 A taxpayer may also request a transfer of his case to a more convenient location (even if he resides in the locality with current jurisdiction) if: (1) The requested Appeals Office is closer to his residence or place of business (i.e., to where his books and records are currently maintained); or (2) Transfer of the case would relieve an undue hardship on the taxpayer created by the location of the Appeals Office currently having jurisdiction of the case. The undue hardship requirement is presumed to be met in small cases (less than $2500) if the taxpayer’s representative regularly practices in the requested locality and the taxpayer’s records can be made available in that locality.
5. WRITTEN PROTEST REQUIREMENT
5.10 30-Day Letters. The beginning of any tax appeal process, whether administrative or judicial, is triggered by the onset of what is commonly known as a “30-day letter”. These letters are generated by the Examination of the IRS, usually after the taxpayer has failed to agree with an agent or auditor regarding a deficiency.
5.20 After receipt of the 30-day letter, the taxpayer may do a number of things: (1) The taxpayer can bypass the Appeals process by paying the deficiency and subsequently contesting the determination in District Court or in the Claims Court; (2) The taxpayer can ignore the letter and file his case in the United States Tax Court following the issuance of a 90-day letter, or the taxpayer can simply request the issuance of a 90-day letter and after its issuance, file a petition. (3) The taxpayer can protest the 30-day letter and ask for further Administrative proceedings in the hope of settling the case with Appeals.
5.30 Option (3) above is the one which the Service encourages and which underlies Appeals’ mission. If the taxpayer elects to protest the 30-day letter or seeks Tax Court review following the issuance of a 90-day letter, he will have the ability to deal directly with Appeals. In the case of a protest, these dealings are the taxpayer’s goal, and therefore are mandatory if he wants to proceed. In the event the taxpayer seeks Tax Court review, he will also have the option to deal with Appeals. Clients should be aware of the fact that administrative appeals are entirely optional. If a client does choose to file a Tax Court petition, Appeals will automatically obtain jurisdiction for a period of time. The taxpayer, however, is not required to deal with Appeals in this situation.
5.40 Factors Which Influence Protest Decision. The main issue facing the client who has received a 30-day letter is whether to protest the 30-day letter and follow the protest procedure or bypass the protest procedure and file a Tax Court petition. As already mentioned, Appeals will retain jurisdiction even if the Tax Court petition is filed. However, a number of considerations may affect the decision to pursue an administrative appeal.
5.50 Factors in Favor of Filing Protest (1) A protest will avoid the expense of litigation through settlement procedures. Appeals Officers will weigh the “hazards of litigation” even when no case is actually pending. Hazards of litigation include costs involved both in financial terms and in manpower and the possibility of setting unfavorable precedent. (2) Appeals process allows the taxpayer to keep open the option of filing a petition in Tax Court or seeking district court or Claims Court review. This can prove advantageous to the taxpayer by allowing him to see how authority on the issue develops in the different forums. He may then be able to follow the most favorable avenue if settlement cannot be reached. (3) Protesting a 30-day letter allows for extended negotiations. When a case is docketed, and a trial status order has been issued by the Tax Court. Appeals cannot consider the case without Area Counsel’s consent. (4) Protesting allows the taxpayer to defer payment of the deficiency for more time and delays collection proceedings such as levy and lien. (5) The taxpayer may use the appeals process to “feel out” the IRS’ position on a matter. The taxpayer may be able to prove the Agent or Area was wrong, and avoid a court case entirely, so that for cost containment purposes this may be the preferred procedure. (6) An informal opportunity for discovery is inherent in the appeals process, which might not be available under the limited discovery rules of the Tax Court. (Remember that in tax cases, you control most information. Most discovery is done by the government against you!) (7) Protesting allows the taxpayer more time to prepare his case before the suit is started and provides him with an opportunity to judge the reactions of the Appeals Officer in order to evaluate which of his arguments are strongest. (8) In Whipsaw cases, there is more flexibility in resolving them before the Appeals Officer than if one of the taxpayers involved goes to court.
5.60 Factors in Favor of Bypassing Appeals Process (1) New issues and grounds are less likely to be raised if the taxpayer goes directly to Tax Court. Appeals Officers have more tax expertise then Revenue Agents, therefore the risk of new issues being raised by them upon their review is possible. (2) New issues raised by the Appeals Officer when the 90-day letter was issued by the Appeals Office (as opposed to the Area Office) places the burden of proof on the taxpayer to disprove these issues. (3) In Fraud Penalty cases where a criminal prosecution recommendation has been made, settlement must be approved by Area Counsel. In such a situation, therefore, it would be wiser and more efficient to file a Tax Court petition since Area Counsel must be present in all docketed cases. (4) In smaller cases, the fact that a taxpayer has filed in Tax Court may indicate to the Appeals Officer that the taxpayer is convinced he is right. Psychologically, this may facilitate settlement. In cases involving larger amounts, however, the validity of this proposal is more questionable. (5) The taxpayer may wish to speed up the disposition of the case. Service procedures seem to encourage more expedited case hearings for docketed cases. (6) Settlements in docketed cases have more finality than settlements in non-docketed cases. Docketed case agreements are reflected in Tax Court decisions, while non-docketed settlement agreements are by definition not binding where there is concealment, misrepresentation of material facts, fraud or malfeasance. (7) Clients should also be aware of possible trends that may arise by virtue of who is representing them in their appeal. Accountants usually settle with the least litigation costs to the taxpayer. Attorneys may be more prone to consider litigation if they are more sensitive to new issues that might be raised. (8) Where the Service is locked into a position on a particular matter which might preclude settlement, it might be more advantageous to fight the issue out in Tax Court if you believe the Service’s position is incorrect. (9) Appeals is generally a waste of time if the issue is coordinated against you (i.e., IRS is set on litigation and will not settle).
5.70 When Must Protest Be Filed. If the taxpayer desires to settle his case with the Appeals Office after receiving a 30-day letter, he is required to protest the Examination s determinations. Generally, this will be done in writing.
5.80 In the event the amount in dispute is less than $50,000, a formal protest is not necessary, but a brief statement of the disputed issues is required before the case can be forwarded to Appeals. A written protest conforming to IRS guidelines is required if: (1) The determination was the result of a field examination case; and (2) The total amount of the proposed additional tax (including penalties), proposed over-assessment or claimed refund is greater than $50,000 for any taxable period.
5.90 Formalities of Written Protest. There is no strict form this written protest must take, however it must contain the following information. (1) The name and address of the taxpayer; (2) The date and symbols on the 30-day letter; (3) The tax periods or years involved (note: a single protest is sufficient to cover all years and matters if they are covered on one 30-day letter); (4) A statement the taxpayer wishes to appeal the determinations of the Examination Division to the Appeals Office; (5) An itemized listing of the adjustments with which the taxpayer disagrees; (6) A statement of fact supporting the taxpayer’s position in any contested factual issue; (7) A statement outlining the law or other authority on which the taxpayer relies; and (8) A declaration under penalties of perjury that the statement of facts is true to the best knowledge of the taxpayer. The following language is acceptable for this purpose: “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that the facts presented in my written protest, which are set out in the accompanying statement of facts, schedules, and attached statements, are to the best of my knowledge and belief, true, correct and complete” [See also Exhibit 3].
5.100 If a representative of the taxpayer prepares or files the protest, a duly executed power of attorney must be attached to the protest, as well as a declaration indicating whether the representative prepared it and whether the representative knows of his own knowledge, that the information contained in the protest is true [See Exhibit 3].
5.110 Time Period for Filing; Number of Copies; Where to File. The protest must be filed in duplicate with the Area Manager within 30 days of the date of, NOT THE RECEIPT OF, the 30-day letter. Failure to file within 30 days without an extension referred to previously, will cause the matter to be processed for issuance of a statutory notice of deficiency, commonly called a “90-day letter” [See Exhibit 2]. As discussed previously, the taxpayer may request and will generally be allowed a 30-day extension for filing a protest initially. 5.120 Nature of Protest. The protest should be fact-oriented. Facts of the case should be developed and carefully presented, because they will form the foundation for the legal discussion of the issues.
5.130 Documents and affidavits in support of the stated facts should be attached to the protest. This may gain the taxpayer a psychological advantage by showing the Appeals Officer the taxpayer is ready for trial.
5.140 The presentation of facts and law should be aimed at showing the issue is either hazardous or inappropriate for the IRS to litigate. In effect, a wise approach is to show that the IRS stands a substantial chance of losing on the issue in court and/or that failure to settle might give other taxpayers the opportunity to obtain a windfall tax advantage. This can be done, for example, by showing that the Agent failed to consider or give appropriate weight to some fact or legal authority.
5.150 In preparing the protest, the preparer should be sensitive to defects and weaknesses in the examiner’s report. Omissions of information on the examiner’s report which are adverse to the government should be pointed out. The preparer should also highlight improperly framed issues and misstated facts.
5.160 All possible arguments in the taxpayer’s favor should be made, regardless of whether the preparer feels the argument is important or dispositive. The Appeals Officer may feel that such arguments have a cumulative effect in favor of the taxpayer.
5.170 Since the taxpayer bears the burden of undercutting the determinations of the examination division, a “skeleton” protest which contains very few legal and factual arguments should probably be avoided. Such a protest may cause the Appeals Officer to dig in his heels on certain matters, particularly in light of the fact that a flimsy protest robs the Appeals Officer of the opportunity to be fully prepared for the settlement conference.
5.180 The preparer of the protest may need to obtain Technical Advice to clarify the legal issues involved. This advice can be obtained by the preparer by requesting that the Appeals Officer request it from the National Office of the IRS. Obtaining Technical Advice is a very serious maneuver. The Appeals Officer will follow the Technical Advice once issued. Therefore, it should only be requested if you know the Appeals Officer is dead wrong and will not admit it.
6. BASIC APPEALS PROCEDURES
6.10 Representation. In an Appeals Office conference, the taxpayer may represent himself or may be represented by an attorney, CPA or an individual enrolled to practice before the IRS.
6.20 Review of Protest Letter By Area Office. The Area Manager’s Office reviews the protest before it is forwarded to Appeals with the case file. If the reviewer feels more facts are needed, he may ask the examiner to obtain them.
6.30 Preliminary Review of Non-Docketed Cases. The quality review staff of Appeals will review the file, the protest and any new facts, arguments or law contained in the protest within seven days of receiving it from the Area Office. This review is done with an eye toward determining if the case should be referred back to the Area Office. Appeals will return the protest to the taxpayer if it does not include the necessary information, and may return the case to the Area Office if further development is required to warrant appellate review
6.40 Return of Case to Area Office. Return of a non-docketed case to the Area Office by Appeals is being done more often, some examples of the occurrence of a return are when: (1) Additional information is needed to resolve an important issue in the case; (2) There are significant unresolved factual differences between the examination report and the protest; (3) The protest is seriously deficient in some way, (i.e., it fails to establish the taxpayer’s position or lacks sufficient substantive details); (4) The examining Agent has clearly misapplied the law, rendering an important issue indefensible; (5) The case re-opens a case previously closed; (6) The National Office has not completed its consideration of some aspect of the case; (7) Timely consent to extend the period of assessment has not been obtained; or (8) The parties are waiting for Technical Advice from the National Office.
6.50 Consents Extending Statutory Period of Assessment. Appeals is also concerned about the statutory period of assessment expiring on the case. For this reason, Area Offices are requested to send the case to Appeals at least 120 days before the statute of limitations will expire. Appeals wants to ensure that there is enough time to negotiate toward a settlement. If it appears, therefore, that the time for appellate review is inadequate (usually, less than 60 days remaining), the taxpayer will be asked to consent to an extension of the statutory period on assessments. This is accomplished by Form 872-A, which extends the statutory period of assessment for an indefinite period of time and may restrict the extension only to assessments arising out of particular matters. Or signing Form 872 instead extends the period only for a specified time. Practitioners faced with the question of whether to consent to such an extension must analyze the pros and cons of such an extension on a case by case basis. Signing Form 872 may also facilitate a settlement.
6.60 Area Verification of New Information. Appeals may return the case to the Area Office to verify or comment on it if there is new information which would have a serious impact on an important issue in the case, or if verification by an Appeals Officer would be too time-consuming.
6.70 Appeals Procedure in Docketed Cases. If a taxpayer does not file a protest to the 30-day letter, the Area Manager will issue a 90-day letter (statutory Notice of Deficiency). The taxpayer then has ninety days to file a Tax Court petition. If the taxpayer does file this petition, his case becomes “docketed,” and will be sent to the Area Counsel. The taxpayer at this point, however, may still wish to attempt to settle his case with Appeals.
6.80 Procedural Guidelines. The IRS has established guidelines to encourage disposition of docketed Tax Court cases, using the administrative appeals process. Therefore, if the taxpayer does wish to investigate a potential settlement, his case will enter a stage in which jurisdiction over his case can shift back and forth between the Area Counsel’s Office and Appeals flexibly, at the discretion of one or both of the Offices. The guidelines established by the IRS provide for the following: (1) Docketed cases are referred to Appeals. Initially, all docketed cases will be forwarded to Appeals by the Area Counsel in all cases unless Appeals issued the 90-day letter (for an explanation of when this may occur, see Section 5.20), or the Area Counsel feels there is little likelihood that the case can be settled. (2) Cases listed on trial calendars. When the case has been listed on a trial calendar, Appeals can return the case to Area Counsel. Appeals can keep the case, however, if the Area Counsel agrees to extend the period of consideration by Appeals. (3) Cases involving over $50,000. When the tax deficiency involved, including tax and penalties, is more than $50,000, the Appeals Officer can return the case to Area Counsel if it becomes clear that no progress toward a settlement is being made (or all or part of a case). (4) Cases involving under $50,000. When the deficiency is less than $50,000, the case will be referred by Area Counsel to Appeals: a) For six months; b) Until one month before the call of the trial calendar if the case is classified as a regular case by the Tax Court; or c) Until 15 days before the call of the trial calendar if the case is classified as an “S case” by the Tax Court. Once the above dates occur, the case will be returned to Area Counsel, unless both Appeals and Area Counsel agree Appeals consideration could continue. (5) Settlement Authority in Docketed Cases. Whichever Office is currently considering the taxpayer’s case has the sole authority to settle the case without interference from the other Office. However, if the Area Counsel requests the case file to prepare for trial in the Tax Court, Appeals can retain the authority to consider and settle the case if both Area Counsel and Appeals agree to it.
7. CONFERENCE PROCEDURE
7.10 Conference Proceedings. Appeals conferences are informal. They are conducted in a conference room at Appeals and normally only the Appeals Officer and the taxpayer’s representative attend, testimony is not taken under oath and discussions of the facts and law are not recorded by a stenographer. Facts which the taxpayer alleges, however, are generally required to be submitted in the form of an affidavit or declared to be true under penalties of perjury. It should be noted that the presentation of information at the Appeals Office which was withheld from the Area Office, or is newly discovered may cause the Appeals Officer to transfer the case back to the Area Office for reconsideration.
7.20 Request for Additional Information. The Appeals Officer may ask for additional information at the conference if it is needed. Complex cases may require more than one conference with Appeals, but at some point, settlement will be discussed if the Appeals Officer feels the case can be settled. Generally, the Appeals Officer will ask for a settlement offer from the taxpayer or his representative. If the Appeals Officer does not accept the taxpayer’s offer, he will generally propose a settlement amount that he would consider. If the taxpayer and the Appeals Officer do reach a settlement agreement, the Appeals Officer prepares a report which sets out the settlement amount, the issues and evidence involved, and the reasons supporting the settlement
7.30 Failure to Reach Agreement. If the parties cannot reach agreement, the Appeals Officer prepares a report (called an Action/Transmittal memorandum) which discusses the taxpayer’s settlement offer and sets out the settlement range the Appeals Officer considers acceptable. It is at this point that the report is processed and the Appeals Office requests issuance of a 90-day letter.
7.40 Presence of Area Manager or Area Counsel. When the case before Appeals is not docketed, a representative of the Area Manager may be present if both the Appeals Officer and the Area Manager feel his presence is advisable. Where the case involves a fraud penalty for which criminal prosecution has been recommended, the Area Counsel may be represented if he so desires. 8.
SETTLEMENT PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
8.10 Hazards of Litigation Standard. The mission of Appeals is to reach a “fair and impartial” resolution of a controversy. What this means in practice is that Appeals will work toward an outcome which takes into account what would probably happen if the case were litigated judicially. Thus, Appeals considers what are known as the “hazards of litigation” when attempting to resolve a case before it. A “hazards of litigation” analysis involves consideration of how an issue (or issues) would be resolved if litigated, and the making or seeking of concessions, taking into account the strength of the parties’ positions. More specifically, the Appeals Officer will review the entire file to determine what a court might find, given the proof available and the effect of testimony. Additionally, the Appeals Officer will take into account judicial interpretation of relevant Code provisions in light of similar cases already decided. As a result, the taxpayer who desires to settle his case must show there is substantial uncertainty as to how the law would be applied to their case as a whole.
8.20 Judicial Attitude of Appeals Officer. The Taxpayer and his representative must be aware of the difference between the Appeals Officer’s approach when he is evaluating a case for settlement and when he is hearing the taxpayer’s appeal. He is not an impartial judge at the hearing; instead he is arguing the IRS’ position. When evaluating for settlement purposes, on the other hand, the Appeals Officer engages in a more objective analysis and looks at the case the way a court might.
8.30 Evidential Considerations. The Appeals Officer will consider a number of factors to evaluate settlement possibilities. Considerations include: (1) how probative the evidence likely to be presented is; (2) how credible the witnesses will be; (3) whether the witnesses will be available; (4) how likely it is that the taxpayer will be able to prove his case; (5) whether conclusions of law are doubtful. A great deal of weight will therefore be given to the evidence which would be available at a trial. Hearsay evidence which might be excluded at trial, however, might be more influential to the Appeals Officer who is not comfortable applying rules of evidence.
8.40 Role of Legal Authority. The Appeals Officer may exercise independent judgment when settling cases, and may conclude that a court would decide a case differently than the IRS under one of its Revenue Rulings. The decision of a Tax Court on a particular issue will probably lead to agreement on that issue; however, the Appeals Officer can refuse to concede an issue if the Service wishes to re-litigate that issue in court. The law of the Circuit Court to which the taxpayer would appeal has greater weight for the Appeals Officer because the Tax Court must follow those precedents.
8.50 Settlement Offer. Practitioners who desire to settle their cases must make settlement offers which demonstrate a good faith effort to settle. Attempts to “bargain” with the Appeals Officer will be rejected. Therefore it will not be advantageous to point out the potential costs of litigation (also called the “nuisance value”) in tendering a settlement offer. The starting point for any settlement offer must be based on the hazards of litigation. An offer which the Appeals Officer believes is made in good faith may be rejected by the Appeals Officer. If that is the case, Appeals will either state an acceptable settlement amount or be asked for one by the representative.
8.60 Types of Settlements. The IRS and practitioners have identified a number of ways in which to resolve cases, which are explained in the following Sections.
8.70 Mutual Concession Settlements. Mutual Concession settlements are made when there is substantial uncertainty about how a court would interpret and apply the law or about what facts the court would find if the case were litigated. Thus, neither side will completely concede the issue and both make concessions to reach a settlement.
8.80 Split-Issue Settlements. Split-issue settlements are reached on issues that would result in a decision completely for one of the parties if the issue were litigated. This type of settlement, then, recognizes the relative merits of both parties’ positions resulting in an intermediate solution which could not be reached in court [IRM 8633, MT 8-17].
8.90 Nuisance Value Settlements. Nuisance value settlements are concessions which are unrelated to the merits and issues of the case and are made only to eliminate the inconvenience or cost which would ensue if further negotiations or litigation were to take place.
9. SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
9.10 Settlement of docketed Tax Court cases is reflected in a written stipulation of the parties, which then must be accepted by a Tax Court Judge. If it is signed and filed by the Judge, it becomes the judgment of the Tax Court. Non-docketed case settlements, however, must be reflected in one of two IRS forms which the taxpayer is asked to sign: Form 870 or 870-AD.
9.20 Form 870. Form 870 is a waiver of restrictions on assessment. It is also used to accept over-assessments [See Exhibit 4]. The intended effect of Form 870 is to allow the taxpayer to pay the deficiency, stop the running of interest, and give up the right to go to Tax Court. It is not, by definition, a binding Closing Agreement. As a result, the IRS can assert further deficiencies and/or the taxpayer can file a refund suit even when Form 870 is used. The language of Form 870 permits reopening of issues, by either the taxpayer or the IRS. Therefore, if a taxpayer requests to sign a Form 870, the IRS is on notice that finality is not contemplated. Form 870 is intended to be an informal settlement and is rarely reversed. It is really a “gentleman’s agreement” which lets the statute of limitations run out on refund claims or further deficiencies.
9.30 Form 870-AD. Form 870-AD is practically a closing agreement [See Exhibit 5]. The Regulations and Form 870-AD try to make settlement final by providing for the taxpayer’s prompt payment of the deficiency, and an agreement not to file suit for a refund or to make an offer in compromise. Additionally, Form 870-AD omits any statement that the government can assert further deficiencies. And while the Form 870 becomes effective when it is received, Form 870-AD must be accepted by or on behalf of the Commissioner before it becomes effective.
9.40 While it appears that the Form 870-AD is a final agreement., there is a split in the Courts on the matter. The Ninth Court in 1987 held that Form 870-AD is not a binding settlement agreement. The Third, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits, however, allow subsequent refund claims to be filed, even after Form 870-AD has been signed and accepted. The Second, Tenth and Federal Circuits take a different approach and only allow closing agreements for settlement of tax controversies.
10. CLOSING AGREEMENTS
10.10 Taxpayers seeking finality in their settlement agreements with the IRS should attempt to use a closing agreement. While both Form 870 and Form 870-AD are administrative devices, the closing agreement is expressly provided for by statute in IRC § 7121 [See Exhibits 6 and 7]. As such, closing agreements are the only agreements the Code recognizes as binding on the IRS, absent fraud or misrepresentation.
10.20 Characteristics of Closing Agreements; Finality. Basically, the closing agreement is a statutory agreement between the taxpayer (or a person acting for the taxpayer) and the IRS which fixes liability and prevents the re-opening of a settlement with respect to part or all of the liability in a particular matter. It is not governed by contract law. Even the parties themselves may not cancel or rescind it. Agreements on particular matters as to taxable years ending prior to or at the date of the closing agreement are not affected by subsequent retroactive legislation, if the legislation is silent as to the effect on closing agreements. The closing agreement only determines matters which are stated in it.
10.30 When Closing Agreements May Be Used. Taxpayers who insist on the finality of a closing agreement need to persuade the Appeals Officer that the government will sustain no disadvantage if a closing agreement is used and must show good and sufficient reasons for the agreement. Closing agreements may be requested by the IRS or the taxpayer in a ruling situation. Alternatively, they may be used to clear up a tax matter where a non-tax consideration hinges on the tax consequence of it (for example, a taxpayer wants to complete a sale of stock
10.40 Closing Agreement Forms. There are three closing agreement forms: Form 866, Form 906, and the combined agreement [See Exhibits 6 and 7]. Either the taxpayer and his representative or the IRS will draft the closing agreement.
10.50 Form 866. Form 866 is entitled “Agreement as to Final Determination of Tax Liability” [See Exhibit 6]. This form determines the tax and liability for each period and type of tax listed in the agreement.
10.60 Form 906. Form 906 is entitled “Closing Agreement on Final Determination Covering Specific Matters” [See Exhibit 7]. This form would be used, for example, where the parties are unable to agree on an unqualified liability figure and may want to resort to a determination of taxable income only.
10.70 Combined Agreement. When the parties seek to set forth their agreement on both liability and specific matters, they do so in a combined agreement.
11.10 Collection Appeals Program (CAP). If you choose to go through this CAP process then you cannot go to Court on the Appeals’ decision. CAP procedures are available to you if you’ve received any one of the following notices: · Notice of Federal Tax Lien · Notice of Levy · Notice of Seizure · Denial or Termination of Installment Agreement
11.20 CAP Procedures. If your only collection contact has been a notice or telephone call: · Call the IRS telephone number shown on your notice · Explain why you disagree and that you want to appeal the decision · Be prepared to offer a solution · Before you can come to Appeals you will need to first discuss your case with a Collections manager. If you have been contacted by a Revenue Officer: · Call the Revenue Office you’ve been dealing with · Explain why you disagree and that you want to appeal the decision · Be prepared to offer a solution · Before you can come to Appeals you will need to discuss your case with a Collections manager. · Complete Form 9423, Collection Appeals Request · You have 2 days from your conference with the Collections manager to submit Form 9423 to the Revenue Officer.
11.30 Collection Due Process (CDP). CDP procedures are available to you if you’ve received any one of the following notices: · Notice of Federal Tax Lien · Notice of Intent to Levy CDP Procedure · You have 30 days to request a hearing to preserve your right to go to Court. · Complete Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing · It is important you identify all your reasons for your disagreements. · The completed Form 12153 should be sent to the same address that is shown on your Lien or Levy Notice. · If your request is not received within 30 days, you are still entitled to an Appeals hearing. However, if you still disagree with the Appeals determination you cannot go to Court. For more information please refer to: · Publication 1660, Collection Appeals Rights
11.40 Offer in Compromise (OIC). If you received a letter notifying you that your offer was rejected you have 30 days to request an appeal of the decision. You can request an Appeals conference by preparing either a Form 13711, Request for Appeal of Offer in Compromise, or a separate letter with the following information included: · Name, address, SSN, and daytime telephone number · A statement that you want to appeal the IRS findings to the Appeals office · A copy of your rejected offer letter · Tax period or years involved · A list of the specific items you don’t agree with and a statement of why you don’t agree with each item · Any additional information you want Appeals to consider · The facts supporting your position on any issue that you do not agree with · The law or authority, if any, on which you are relying · Sign the written protest, stating this it is true under the penalties of perjury
11.50 Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP) – Preparing a Request for Appeals. Small Case Request You may prepare a small case request instead of a formal written protest if the total amount for any one tax period is $50,000 or less. · Send a letter requesting Appeals consideration to the contact at the address shown on the letter (Letter 1153). · Enclose a copy of the letter, or include your name, address, social security number, and daytime telephone number. · Indicate the amount and the reason you don’t agree. · Include a clear explanation of your duties and responsibilities. Formal Written Protest You prepare a formal written protest if the total amount for any one tax period is greater than $50,000. To prepare a formal written request for Appeals you must: · Send a letter requesting Appeals consideration to the contact at the address shown on the letter (Letter 1153). · Include your name, address, social security number, and daytime telephone number. · Enclose a copy of the Letter 1153. · Indicate the tax periods involved. · Indicate the amount and the reason you don’t agree. · Include a clear explanation of your duties and responsibilities. · Cite the law or authority, if any, on which you are relying. · Sign the written protest under the penalties of perjury.
Letters and Notices
Offering an Appeal Examination Letters Letter 525 – General 30 Day Letter This letter accompanies a report giving you a computation of the proposed adjustments to your tax return. It informs you of the courses of action to take if you do not agree with the proposed adjustments. The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustment, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publications explain how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 531 – Notice of Deficiency This letter is notice of the Commissioner’s determination that you owe additional tax or other amounts for the tax year(s) identified in the letter. The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the Commissioner to send this notice. The letter explains how to dispute the adjustments in the notice of deficiency if you do not agree. To dispute the adjustments without payment, you file a petition with the Tax Court within 90 days from the notice date.
Letter 692 – Request for Consideration of Additional Findings This letter accompanies a report giving you a computation of the proposed adjustments to your tax return. It informs you of the courses of action to take if you do not agree with the proposed adjustments. The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustment, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publications explain how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 15 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 1153 – Trust Funds Recovery Penalty Letter This letter explains that the IRS’s efforts to collect the federal employment or excise taxes due from the business named on the letter have not resulted in full payment of the liability. Therefore, the IRS proposes to assess a penalty against you. If you agree with this penalty for each tax period shown, you are asked to sign Part 1 of the enclosed Form 2751 and return it to the person/office that sent you the letter. If you do not agree you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publications explain how you file a protest. You need to file your protest within 60 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal this decision with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 1389 – 30 Day Letter, Tax Shelter Activity This letter accompanies a report giving you a computation of the proposed adjustments the IRS made to your tax return because of your tax shelter activity. It informs you of the courses of action to take if you do not agree with the proposed adjustments. The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustment, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publications explain how you file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 3016 – IRC Section 6015 Preliminary Determination Letter (30 Day) This is a preliminary letter giving you 30 days to appeal the determination for innocent spouse relief under IRC Section 6015. The letter explains that if you do not agree with the determination you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter explains how you file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 3391 – 30-Day Nonfiler Letter This letter advises you the IRS believes you are liable for filing tax returns for the periods identified in the letter. It includes a report giving you a computation of the proposed adjustments to your tax return and explains the adjustments. The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustments, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publications explain how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 3727 – 30-Day Letter Notifying Taxpayer No Change to Original Report Disallowing EIC Based on Failure to Meet Residency Test for Children Claimed This letter explains why the IRS will not allow your earned income credit (EIC). The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustment, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publication explains how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 3728 – 30-Day Letter Notifying Taxpayer No Change to Original Report Partially Disallowing EIC Based on Failure to Meet Residency Test for 1 Child This letter explains why the IRS can only give you part of your earned income credit (EIC). The letter explains that if you agree with the adjustment, you sign and return the agreement form. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter or referenced publication explains how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 11 – Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing This letter is to notify you of your unpaid taxes and that the Service intends to levy to collect the amount owed. The letter and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the proposed action with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 1058 – Final Notice Reply Within 30 Days This letter is to notify you of your unpaid taxes and that the Service intends to levy to collect the amount owed. The letter and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 1085 – 30-Day Letter Proposed 6020(b) Assessment This letter is to notify you of your unpaid taxes and that the Service intends to levy to collect the amount owed. The letter and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
Letter 3172 – Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing and Your Rights to a Hearing under IRC 6320 This letter is to notify you the IRS filed a notice of tax lien for the unpaid taxes. If you do not agree you can request appeals consideration within 30 days from the date of the letter. The letter and publications explain how to request a hearing from Appeals. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your lien notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
Notices CP 90 – Final Notice of Intent to Levy CP 90 notifies you of your unpaid taxes and that the IRS intends to levy to collect the amount owed. This notice and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
CP 92 – Notice of Levy upon Your State Tax Refund CP 92 notifies you that the IRS levied your state tax refund to pay your unpaid federal taxes. This notice and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
CP 242 – Notice of Levy upon Your State Tax Refund CP 242 notifies you that the IRS levied your state tax refund to pay your unpaid federal tax. This notice and referenced publications explain how to request an appeal if you do not agree. You need to file a Form 12153, Request for A Collection Due Process Hearing and send it to the address shown on your levy notice within 30 days from the date of the letter in order to appeal the action with the Office of Appeals.
CP 523 – IMF Installment Agreement Default Notice
CP 523 notifies you that the IRS intends to terminate your installment agreement in 30 days. You have the right to request an appeal if you do not agree by following the instructions in the notice.
CP 2000 You receive this letter when the IRS receives income, deduction or credit information that does not match your return. You are provided a computation of the proposed adjustments to your tax return based upon this information. If you agree, you sign and return the agreement forms. If you do not agree, you can submit a request for appeal/protest to the office/individual that sent you the letter. The letter explains how to file a protest. You need to file your protest within 30 days from the date of this letter in order to appeal the proposed adjustments with the Office of Appeals.[ad#Google Adsense]