Appealing an IRS Action
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
The IRS has an appeals system for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or with other adjustments to their tax liability.
Why an Appeal May Be Necessary
If your examination or other adjustment was conducted through a personal interview with an IRS employee, the employee will explain your appeal rights to you. If you disagree with the findings, you may request a meeting with the interviewer's supervisor. If you still do not reach an agreement, or if the examination or other adjustment was conducted through correspondence, the IRS will send you a report and/or letter that explains the proposed adjustments. The letter also tells you of your right to request a conference with an Appeals officer, as well as how to make your request for a conference. If you request an Appeals conference, be prepared to support your position.
In addition to examinations, many other things can be appealed. Among them are certain penalties, including the trust fund recovery penalty, offers-in-compromise, employment tax adjustments, liens, levies, seizures, denials or terminations of installment agreements, collection due process notices, denials of abatement of interest and other claims.
How Appeals Work
Appeals conferences are informal meetings. Your conference may be face-to-face, or by telephone, or by correspondence. You may represent yourself at an Appeals conference; or, if you want, you may have an attorney, a certified public accountant, or an individual enrolled to practice before the IRS represent you. If you do not reach agreement with the Appeals or Settlement Officer, or you do not wish to appeal within the IRS, you may appeal certain actions through the courts.
For further information on the appeals process and information on how to stop interest from accruing on any anticipated liability, refer to IRS Publication 5 (PDF), Your Appeal Rights and How To Prepare A Protest If You Don't Agree, and IRS Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights and Claims for Refund. Also, IRS Publication 1660 (PDF), Collection Appeal Rights, discusses how you can appeal collection actions.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.