Enrolled Agent Course Yields Knowledge to Represent Taxpayer Appeals

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

The IRS Appeals office is an independent operation providing an informal avenue for taxpayers to obtain fair resolutions to their tax disputes. A government representative referred to as an appeals officer or settlement officer reviews the arguments of both a taxpayer and the government. A professional with enrolled agent certification often represents a taxpayer in an Appeals case.

Some matters handled by IRS Appeals are conducted by correspondence or telephone rather than at conferences in person. Typical matters that are resolved by the Appeals office entail application of tax law to individual circumstances. An explanation of taxpayer specifics is usually clearer from someone with EA training acting as an advocate. The Appeals function resolves these disputes with open presentation of the facts.

The Appeals office is a sound option for taxpayers who disagree with IRS notices. One example of when this occurs is a case of inability by the IRS to identify a tax return item corresponding to a third party 1099 report. In addition, the IRS can fail to accurately recognize tax items from a pass through entity that are reported on a K-1. The full range of tax knowledge from an enrolled agent course covers how to match reporting documents with entries on a tax return. However, IRS Appeals is not the correct forum for investors receiving a demand for payment from the IRS that does not mention Appeals.

The enrolled agent preparation for an Appeals conference or hearing requires developing an explanation of a taxpayer’s disagreement with an IRS notice. An EA gathers facts from the taxpayer and develops a supportable position. Sections of IRS publications are the best substantiation for challenging an IRS decision with the Appeals office. Taxpayer records are also critical to support any contention during an Appeals process.

Requests to use Appeals are conducted in writing. They are submitted to any IRS office that sent a disputed decision. Two Appeals measures exist. The small case request is used if the total amount of tax due is $25,000 or less. These Appeals applications should specify the reason for disagreeing.

Formal protests are required when disputed amounts exceed $25,000 or the matter is related to a taxpayer interest in a partnership or S corporation. Written formal appeals must state the facts for a taxpayer position and cite the legal substantiation, such as a Tax Code section.

One common type of appeal is the Collection Appeals Program. This is usually fast and available for most collection actions. However, Appeals decisions under this program are final and not subject to reversal by a court. Another frequently deployed appeal is Collection Due Process, which is available for matters relating to tax liens and levies. Decisions under this procedure are eligible for further appeal to a court. Other appeals are related to Offers in Compromise and Trust Fund Recovery Penalties.

Anyone needing help in even deciding about the validity of using the Appeals office should check with an enrolled agent. If a misinterpretation by the IRS seems evident, a taxpayer must execute Form 2848 to appoint an EA as representative in the Appeals process.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure

Pursuant to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we inform you that, to the extent any advice relating to a Federal tax issue is contained in this communication, including in any attachments, it was not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of

(a) avoiding any tax related penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code, or
(b) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Fast Forward Academy is a leading publisher of education for enrolled agent certification and tax professionals. Access to free questions for the EA training is available on their website.

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