Appeals Conference

The IRS’ Appeals Division is the administrative appeals office for the IRS. Taxpayers may appeal most IRS decisions with the local Office of Appeals. The Office of Appeals is independent of the IRS office that took the action that the taxpayer disagrees with.  A request for an appeals conference is sent with a protest if the IRS did not send the client a Statutory Notice of Deficiency. If a Statutory Notice of Deficiency has been sent,the appeals conference will be prompted by the petition filed by the taxpayer in Tax Court.

Conferences with the appeals officer are held in an informal manner by correspondence, by telephone or in person. Any conference with the IRS regarding your client will require the attendance/participation of the associate director. Therefore, you should confirm that the associate director is available before scheduling any conference. Also, please note that professional attire is required at all conferences conducted in-person.

Collection determinations may also be reviewed by the Office of Appeals. The Office of Appeals will determine if the collection procedures are reasonable, whether all avenues have been considered and whether the IRS has complied with required procedures. There are two methods in which collection determinations may be appealed: administratively or statutorily.

The Collections Appeals Procedure (CAP) is an administrative appeal that allows taxpayers who were subject to a lien, levy or seizure or who were defaulting on their installment agreements to request an appeals conference. The Collection Due Process (CDP) hearings were created by the 1998 Reform Act to give taxpayers a statutory right to appeal collection actions. If the appeal is denied, a petition can be filed in the Tax Court. See the links below for further explanation of these two procedures.

The Office of Appeals reviews the matters in controversy without any bias. It is the mission of the Office of Appeals to resolve these matters and avoid litigation. An appeals officer is allowed to take into account the hazards of litigation in reaching her decision. Approximately 85 percent of the cases reviewed by the Office of Appeals are settled.

Although taxpayers may request a conference upon receipt of an administrative 30-day letter, most of the appeals conferences involving the clinic clients stem from statutory notices. These statutory notices include a Notice of Deficiency, a Notice of Lien, a Notice Before Levy, and a determination denying innocent spouse relief.

Once the administrative file is assigned to an appeals officer. The student attorney twill be contacted to schedule a conference. The conference is an opportunity for the IRS and the taxpayer to try to settlement the case prior to a trial in the U.S. Tax Court.

After the appeals officer makes his or her decision, the student attorney may notify the client of the decision but should clarify to the client that the appeals officer’s decision is not final in docketed cases until a stipulation is filed with the Tax Court. Once the Tax Court receives the stipulation, we must still await a final decision from the Tax Court.

If the appeal results from filing a petition to receiving a decision from the Tax Court generally takes several months. If the client is entitled to a refund because of the appeal, he or she may not receive the refund until 10 to 12 weeks after the decision of the Tax Court is rendered. The student attorney needs to inform the client that the process takes several months.


Appeals Notebook
Collection Appeals Procedure (CAP)
Collection Due Process
Decision Tree