You just finished a grueling audit that seemed to go on for months. As of yet, the IRS has not notified you of an adjusted tax liability, but you want to be prepared in case it happens. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare for the meeting with the agent.
As with any audit, there is always a chance that you could be facing a significantly increased tax bill depending on how the agent interprets the tax law. You trust that your accountant prepared the return conservatively and that you paid the correct amount of taxes on all of your sources of income. Fortunately, if the IRS concludes that you owe additional taxes, you have the right to appeal the decision. A Washington attorney experienced with tax law can help you with your appeal.
Read below for some quick facts on appealing an IRS action.
Reasons for an appeal
Usually, an IRS employee will explain your right to appeal during an interview. However, before you begin an official appeals process, you can request a meeting with a supervisor if you do not agree with the agent's assessment. If you are unable to reach an agreement, then the IRS will send you a letter that explains the reason for the adjustment to your tax liability. The letter will also explain how to request a meeting with an appeals officer. During the appeals process, you can appeal not only the adjusted tax liability, but also any interest and penalties that have been included in the amount.
The first part of the process consists of informal meetings between you and an appeals officer. You could be having in-person meetings or you could be corresponding by telephone. While you have the option to represent yourself during the process, it is advisable to have an attorney represent your interests.
The IRS prefers to begin with an administrative process to settle disagreements between taxpayers and the IRS. The officer assigned your case will fully assess the disputed audits. However, you cannot rely solely on the officer's assessment. How the officer interprets the tax law as it applies to your particular circumstances is going to depend on practical knowledge and level of experience. It is very possible that the agent's and the officer's assessments are incorrect.
If you are still unable to come to agreement after meeting with the appeals officer, you can pursue your appeal in court. Reaching a settlement with the IRS can be a lengthy and complex process that you should not attempt without proper counsel. Working with an experienced tax appeals attorney is the best strategy to ensure that your inte rests are protected.