The IRS Appeals Division: A Thing Of Beauty

by Bruce Givner on September 30, 2011

Taxpayers seem to understand the IRS audit process, whether through personal experience or by what they have read in the newspapers about the IRS audit of a celebrity. However, few taxpayers understand the IRS Appeals Process and the important difference of the IRS Appeals Division from the IRS audit division.

The IRS Appeals Division is strongly independent from the rest of the Internal Revenue Service. Unlike auditors, IRS Appeals Officers are almost exclusively lawyers, and they have, on average, 20 years of experience. The auditor’s job is to analyze the facts and apply the law. By contrast, the IRS Appeals Officer’s job is to resolve disputes. To do so, IRS Appeals Officers can take into account the “hazards of litigation,” and they readily do so. So if an IRS Appeals Officer believes the taxpayer’s case has some merit, he or she may give the taxpayer a 20% or 40% “deal.” If the taxpayer’s case is strong, the IRS Appeals Officer may give the taxpayer an 80% deal – and may even concede the case entirely.

The critical point for taxpayers is to know when to stop an IRS audit so that they can take a strong case to the IRS Appeals Division. The taxpayer must get the case to the Appeals Division with NEW FACTS, and NEW ARGUMENTS. Without new facts and new arguments, the IRS Appeals Officer will have a tough time reaching a more favorable result than what was reached at audit. In a future blog we will discuss how to determine that it is time to stop your efforts in an IRS audit and prepare the case for Appeals.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Walker October 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Will our CPA know when to stop an audit? Does the CPA or a tax attorney form the new arguments for appeal?


Elizabeth October 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Thanks for the info.


Lorene October 27, 2011 at 5:15 am

Got it! Thanks a lot again for heplnig me out!


Charlee October 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm

If time is money you’ve made me a wealthier woman.


Bruce Givner October 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

A sophisticated CPA might know when to stop an audit. But even most sophisticated CPAs will try to make the matter go away at audit rather than go to IRS Appeals. So, in virtually every case you will need a tax lawyer skilled in tax procedure.


Wood October 27, 2011 at 8:36 am

I feel so much hpapier now I understand all this. Thanks!


Priest October 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

No complaints on this end, simply a good piece.


admin October 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Did you have any questions?


Bruce October 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Nice of you to comment, Elizabeth. Thanks.


Smiley October 28, 2011 at 3:51 am

Thank you so much for this aritlce, it saved me time!


Tibbie October 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

A wondefrul job. Super helpful information.


Morrie October 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Superb information here, ol’e chap; keep burning the midnight oil.


Dong Warzybok November 3, 2011 at 8:22 am

Very good written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – i will definitely read more posts.


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