No one really enjoys paying taxes. However, most of us accept that we are expected to pay taxes. Some of us disagree with the IRS about how much we owe. One of the most common issues is a tax bill adjustment as the result of an audit. The IRS might say that you owe more money than you paid – and you might disagree.
But what can you do if the IRS tells you that you owe more money? Well, if you feel as though you are in the right, you can actually appeal an IRS decision.
What Items Are You Allowed to Appeal?
It’s not just the results of an audit that you are allowed to appeal. You can also appeal liens, levies, seizures and the termination of installment agreements. It’s also possible to appeal when the IRS rejects your offer in compromise, or when you are assessed penalties.
When the IRS engages in actions against that you feel are unwarranted and unfair, you can appeal to the IRS Appeals Office. It’s important to note that the Appeals Office in your area is independent. You have the right to conduct your appeal over the phone, in person or via correspondence.
The IRS Decision Appeals Process
As you consider your next step, you need to prepare your appeal. You will need to make sure you understand what the problem is, and why you think that the IRS made a mistake. You can decide to go through the “regular” appeals conference, or you can use Fast Track Mediation, which is streamlined. It’s worth noting that if you don’t like how the Fast Track Mediation is going, you can withdraw at any time and request an appeals conference.
Here are some points of preparation as you prepare to appeal the IRS decision:
- Refer to the specific decision. You can find citations on your examination notice, and in other correspondence from the IRS.
- Get help if you aren’t sure what to do next. Consider the help of a tax professional who can help you determine exactly where the IRS went wrong.
- Gather support for your position. Just arguing isn’t productive. You need to back up your assertion that the IRS is mistaken.
- Most of the appeals process is rather informal. It’s about presenting your side, and supporting it. There is no set formula to follow, and there aren’t a lot of procedural items to worry about.
If you aren’t happy with the solution worked out at the Appeals Office, you can take your case to the independent Taxpayer Advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate can help work through the situation and help you determine if you really do have a reason to request the appeal. Finally, if you still feel as though the situation hasn’t been properly resolved, it’s possible to take the issue to federal court.
As you can see, you have options if you disagree with the IRS. In many cases, it’s possible to resolve issues in a way that both parties can be satisfied with. If you are still upset, you have the right to take the IRS to court – but you need to weigh the costs at that point. Sometimes, it’s less expensive to just pay what the IRS says you owe and then move forward.