IRS Audit Appeals - Federal Lawyer
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IRS Audit Appeals

Federal Tax Lawyers Representing Individual and Corporate Taxpayers in IRS Audit Appeals

Following an unfavorable tax audit, many taxpayers’ next step is to go to the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals (“Appeals”). Even when the outcome of a tax audit is justified, filing an appeal can lead to informal settlement negotiations that significantly reduce the amount the taxpayer owes.

As a result, taxpayers can benefit from filing IRS audit appeals in a wide range of circumstances. At Oberheiden P.C., we represent both individual and corporate taxpayers in the audit appeals process. If you disagree with the outcome of the IRS’s audit, or if you are facing unmanageable tax debt, we can go to the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals and work to reduce your tax bill (or your company’s tax bill) on your behalf.

IRS Audit Appeals: An Overview of the Process

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The IRS audit appeals process is somewhat unique in that it is not focused solely on reversing the outcome of the audit. While this is an option, in many cases these types of challenges will be better suited for the U.S. Tax Court. Taxpayers can choose whether to go to the U.S. Tax Court or the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals, and having grounds to institute litigation is not a prerequisite for filing an appeal. While the goal in litigation is generally reversal, the goal in an IRS audit appeal is more likely to be settlement.

As the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals explains:

“If your case qualifies for an appeal, we will review the issues of your case with a fresh, objective perspective and schedule a conference with you. . . . The IRS Independent Office of Appeals seeks to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the IRS without the need for litigation.”

Conferences with the Independent Office of Appeals may be conducted by correspondence, by telephone or video conference, or in person. During our clients’ conferences, we communicate with Appeals personnel on behalf of our clients, and we do so with a specific strategy and outcome in mind. We determine this strategy and outcome based on an assessment of our client’s audit, any issues with the audit process, our client’s ability to pay, and the remedies available to our client through the U.S. Tax Court. When a settlement is warranted, we will negotiate to mitigate our client’s tax liability to the greatest extent possible. When settlement is not warranted, we will work to convince Appeals personnel that this is the case, and we will pursue litigation if necessary.

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to see all pages in PDF.

While the IRS audit appeals process is relatively informal and generally focused on settlement, taxpayers and corporate executives must not allow this to lull them into a false sense of security. The IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals can—and does—reject taxpayers’ requests for relief. As a result, filing an appeal requires careful preparation and planning. It requires an informed and strategic approach, and it requires the ability to present valid arguments and communicate with Appeals personnel effectively.

With all of this said, both individual and corporate taxpayers can pursue IRS audit appeals on several grounds. Some examples of grounds for seeking relief or negotiating a settlement with the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals include:

  • Application of incorrect provisions of the Internal Revenue Code or the IRS’s regulations
  • Improper interpretation of provisions of the Internal Revenue Code or the IRS’s regulations
  • Improper interpretation of the taxpayer’s supporting documentation
  • Failure to consider relevant supporting documentation
  • Faulty calculation of the taxpayer’s tax liability

If efforts to negotiate with Appeals personnel do not result in a settlement, then the taxpayer’s case will be scheduled for a hearing. An appeals hearing is a more formal process, and the outcome of the hearing is subject to challenge in federal court.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Representation for Taxpayers Before the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals

We represent individual and corporate taxpayers in all aspects of IRS audit appeals. We have extensive experience handling federal tax controversies, and our team includes a former IRS tax attorney and former Special Agents with IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI). As your (or your company’s) federal tax counsel, we will take steps including:

  • Conducting a Comprehensive Tax Compliance Assessment – Before advising you regarding whether to pursue an appeal or litigation in the U.S. Tax Court, we will conduct a comprehensive tax compliance assessment so that we can evaluate the outcome of the audit and help you make informed decisions.
  • Thoroughly Examining the Audit Process and the Auditor’s Files – We will request the auditor’s files and then thoroughly examine each step in the audit process. This includes examining the auditor’s methodologies, assumptions, interpretations of the law, and conclusions.
  • Filing the Appropriate IRS Appeals Forms – If filing an appeal makes sense, we will file the appropriate forms on your (or your company’s) behalf. Different forms are required in different circumstances.
  • Clearly Outlining the Issues with Your (or Your Company’s) Audit Process and Outcome – As we pursue your (or your company’s) IRS audit appeal, we will clearly outline the issues with the audit process and outcome. We will focus on leaving no room for interpretation so that Appeals is forced to render a decision in your favor.
  • Working with You to Evaluate Settlement Options – If settling your (or your company’s) appeal makes sense, we will work with you to evaluate settlement options and help you decide when it makes sense to resolve the appeal.
  • Negotiating with Appeals Personnel as Warranted – Relying on their extensive experience, our attorneys will negotiate with Appeals personnel as warranted. We will focus our efforts on minimizing your (or your company’s) liability to the greatest extent possible while also maintaining a good working relationship with Appeals for the future.
  • Continuing to Pursue Relief at a Hearing and in the U.S. Tax Court if Necessary – If settling is not in your (or your company’s) best interests, we will continue to pursue relief at an Appeals Hearing. If necessary, we can also take your IRS audit appeal to the U.S. Tax Court.

FAQs: IRS Audit Appeals

What is the deadline for IRS audit appeals?

If you need to dispute the outcome of an IRS audit, it is best to file an appeal within 30 days of receiving the audit letter or Notice of Deficiency. While you may still have options after 30 days, filing within 30 days affords certain protections and helps to streamline the process. If you are approaching the 30-day deadline, our attorneys can file your appeal promptly to help ensure that you do not face unnecessary risks or consequences.

How do I obtain the auditor’s file when pursuing an IRS audit appeal?

When pursuing an IRS audit appeal, it is important to obtain a copy of the auditor’s file. Even if you played an active role in the audit process, this will provide additional insights into the auditor’s methodology and reasoning. However, you will not receive a copy of the auditor’s file automatically. To obtain a copy, you must submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IRS.

Once you submit a FOIA request, the IRS has the option of giving you access to review the files in person rather than sending you a copy. As a practical matter, however, the IRS will usually make copies, and offering to pay the IRS’s copying charges can help ensure that you receive copies without additional back-and-forth. We routinely submit FOIA requests on behalf of our clients, and we can seek to obtain a copy of your (or your company’s) audit file on your behalf.

What are the possible outcomes of an IRS audit appeal?

IRS audit appeals have three possible outcomes. First, the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals can uphold the auditor’s decision. In this case, your next step may be to seek redress in the U.S. Tax Court. Second, you can enter into settlement negotiations with the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals to reduce the amount you owe (or that your company owes). Third, if your tax counsel is able to convince Appeals personnel that the audit resulted in an unjustified determination of liability, then it may be possible to have the auditor’s decision reversed.

What are my options if the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals upholds the auditor’s decision?

If the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals upholds the auditor’s decision, then you have the right to challenge the decision in the U.S. Tax Court. This is an entirely separate judicial process, the outcome of which is also subject to appeal.

Do I need legal counsel for an IRS audit appeal?

If you need to appeal the outcome of an IRS audit, it is in your best interests to retain experienced federal tax counsel. Your counsel will be able to assess all possible grounds for filing an appeal, handle the appeal on your behalf, and help you make informed decisions about when (and if) to settle or pursue litigation in the U.S. Tax Court.


Speak with a Senior IRS Audit Appeals Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.

To speak with a senior IRS audit appeals lawyer at Oberheiden P.C., please call 888-680-1745 or contact us online. We will arrange for a complimentary initial consultation as soon as possible.

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