Your Right To Appeal an IRS Decision

Your Right To Appeal an IRS DecisionAs an American taxpayer, you’re entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions. This includes many IRS-related penalties. Essentially, it is within your rights to expect and receive a written response regarding the decision from the IRS Independent Office of Appeals.

The Independent Office of Appeals is separate from the IRS office that will review your case. Also, the Independent Office of Appeals will not discuss a case with the IRS if the communication appears to compromise the independence of an appeal.

What to know about your right to appeal

Here are a few specifics to keep in mind regarding your right to appeal the IRS’ decision:

  • You can dispute a proposed adjustment before you pay tax from an IRS statutory notice of deficiency letter that proposes additional tax. However, once you receive the notice, you need to file a petition to the U.S. Tax Court disputing the adjustment as soon as possible. Thankfully the Tax Court is open to the public, so it should be easily accessible to you.
  • If the IRS makes a decision that you disagree with, you should refer to Publication 5, which is a document titled Your Appeal Rights and How to Protest If You Don’t Agree. It can be found as a PDF on the official IRS website, and it contains a plethora of details regarding how you can appeal the IRS’ decision.
  • Another option is to file a refund suit in either a U.S. District Court or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. That said, in order to do so, you must meet at least one of these three requirements:
    • You’ve fully paid your tax due, and the IRS denied your tax refund claim.
    • No action has been taken in terms of your refund claim within six months.
    • Two years have passed since the IRS mailed you a notice of its decision to deny your refund.

Know your rights when appealing decisions made by the IRS

For an exact copy of your rights when appealing IRS decisions, visit the official IRS website and refer to Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer. This document will explain your rights as a taxpayer as well as the processes you can expect when it comes to examination, appeals, collections, and refunds. The publication is available in various languages, so you should be able to easily find a version of the document that you can understand.

If you learn that you are responsible for paying a tax penalty to the IRS, you might be wondering what you are supposed to do about it. If that’s the case, take a moment to reference the Taxpayer Advocate Service. In simple terms, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is essentially your voice at the IRS.

As an independent organization within the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service ensures that all taxpayers are treated fairly while making it possible for individuals to understand their rights as taxpayers. The organization is home to many IRS advocates who can help you out if you have tax problems that you’re not sure how to resolve on your own.

Also, if you are of the understanding that either your spouse or your former spouse is either partially or fully responsible for the unpaid tax, then you should file Form 8857 via the official IRS website. This is a document that will request relief from tax liability on your behalf. It also seeks to relieve you of related penalties and interest that you owe to the IRS.

As always, you can also access IRS forms, instructions, publications, and notices pertaining to prior years. And you can seek professional guidance from certified and experienced tax advisers for additional insight into your rights when appealing an IRS decision.