The IRS Office of Appeals

Nov 12, 2023 By Triston Martin

The IRS recognizes that many taxpayers will not agree with the conclusions of its auditors. This is why it has set up an additional branch of its service named The Office of Appeals, which is comprised of around 22,000 employees across the country. Most of these were auditors at one point but now are top employees within the IRS system. They generally have accounting or legal knowledge.


Their primary role as people is to read completed examination reports and offer an impartial opportunity for taxpayers to present their case to an authority higher up inside the IRS. They try to prevent the possibility of litigation by resolving tax disputes within the IRS by encouraging the future compliance of taxpayers with tax law.


Appeals officers are more competent and flexible when making decisions than auditors. Their credibility is assessed by the frequency with which they can find a compromise acceptable to taxpayers and not by their ability to accept an auditor's conclusions. The Office of Appeals will listen to every reason you have to do not agree with an audit apart from moral, religious, or political convictions.


How to Appeal Your Audit


The IRS provides a comprehensive exam report once your audit is completed. It lists all proposed assessments and modifications in detail, broken up into penalties, interest, and taxes.


Initiating Your Appeal


The initial step of the appeals process is not to return and sign your copy of the report. This typically will result in creating a 30-day letter explaining how you can appeal the audit. It is mandatory to file your objection within 30 days of the document's date. You might want to consider appealing to the auditor's manager; however, this won't delay the 30-day deadline.


Missed the Deadline?


Suppose, for whatever reason, you are unable to file your appeal within the stipulated timeframe, and you are unable to file your protest. In that case, you can ask for a 30- or 60-day extension, typically granted. There are three options for moving an audit through an office of appeals.


Didn't Get a Response?


In most instances, an appeals officer will reply to your complaint in 90 days or less; however, the timeframe can vary based on the case's particulars. If you do not hear within 120 days, check with the department where you made your request to receive an update on the status of your case.


Suppose you cannot get an update regarding the state of your case attempt to determine when the office will call you. If you cannot get an appointment, contact the AARS at (559) 231-267. The AARS will likely give you information regarding the person to whom the account was assigned and the best way to reach the responsible individual.



Preparing for Your Hearing


Taxpayers typically have at least 60 days to plan for the appeals process after submitting their appeals request. This is a good time to prepare your arguments and the details you plan to present during the appeal. Make sure to ask for a copy of the auditor's report. According to the Federal Freedom of Information Act, it is legally required to request this. The request for a second letter must be delivered to the FOIA agent in the neighborhood IRS office.


Be sure to mention the tax years included in the audit and also offer to pay for the cost of all required copies. Send the letter by certified mail, and ask for a return receipt. It could take about a month or more before you receive your approval but don't hesitate to contact the person should it take longer. In the meantime, you should get all your papers and documents prepared and organized.


Make copies of all the necessary receipts or statements and any other forms you will need to support your claim. The information should be broken down into spreadsheets that appeals officers can easily comprehend. Visual presentations, even made by hand, can be useful if the circumstance requires them. Make a separate folder for each item to be contested to facilitate the officer's use.


Presenting Your Case


Appeal court hearings tend to be informal, and you may take notes of the proceedings if you want. It is recommended to write at least a sketch of what you would like to convey to the officer, and it is also advisable to review your arguments before the hearing. When you're before the officer, make clear the errors you think the auditor has made in the auditing course. Do not criticize the auditor or the IRS regardless of what you want.


Prepare to hear the officer request additional documents or time to investigate an issue. If this occurs, you should not be afraid to request more time than you're entitled to, particularly in cases where the situation calls for your involvement. Make sure to keep a careful record of what the officer has to say during the hearing if you're not (or cannot) recording the meeting.


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