Wooden drawer is open.

There is a wealth of information available from the IRS that is not generally made available to the public.  Most of this information can be obtained by asking.  This information includes files the IRS assembles about a taxpayer, and various training manuals used by the IRS to train its employees.  In addition to training given to its employees, the IRS, like most professional organizations, conducts continuing education on an annual basis for its various divisions.  Most of the training manuals and annual training materials are available to the practitioner pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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Give and Take Compromise text on paper with pencilMany people end up owing the IRS for many reasons and there are various options to resolve your tax debt.  Some of the options include an offer in compromise, installment agreement, or currently non-collectible status.

What is an Offer in Compromise?

An offer is when a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service settle a taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed.
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Tax forms, close up

Once a taxpayer overpays a tax, it is necessary to file a claim for refund before any action can be undertaken to seek a refund of such tax from the government. The purpose of the claim for refund is to place the IRS on notice of an alleged overpayment.  A taxpayer cannot require the IRS to make a credit or refund without filing the claim.  In addition, a claim for refund is a prerequisite for suing in the U.S. District Court or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  It also protects the overpayment of taxes if the statute of limitations expires.  Claims for refund take many forms, but most typically are Forms 1040X and 1120X, amended returns for individual and corporate income taxes.  Refund of other taxes requires regular forms which should be marked “amended” and show an overpayment.  The courts have recognized many forms of claims for refund, including informal letters from taxpayers to the IRS.  Form 843 should be used when filing claims for refunds for any taxes other than income taxes.

The preparing and filing of a claim for refund should be handled with care.  Only one taxable period and one type of tax should be set forth on any claim. The claim may cover several different issues for the same taxable period and type of tax.  The claim must be in writing under the penalties of perjury, and each and every ground upon which the taxpayer relies must be set forth in detail, plus sufficient facts to place the IRS on notice as to the taxpayer’s claim.  The claim should demand the dollar amount sought as a refund, plus any other amounts which are legally refundable – including interest.  In addition, the claim must be signed by the person who signed the return or, if a corporate return, by an officer of the corporation.  To file a claim for refund there must have been an overpayment of tax, which could include:
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Safely mailing an application for ballot for 2020 election at a  drive-up mailbox at the US Post OfficeDeadlines are important in legal matters, especially when it relates to tax issues.  There are estimated tax deadlines, tax return filing deadlines, and a host of deadlines if a return is audited and any adjustments are challenged. Once you get to court in a tax dispute – more deadlines. Anytime a taxpayer misses a deadline they usually lose some portion, if not all, of the rights associated with that deadline. Imagine, however, that a taxpayer attempts to meet the deadline by mailing a document that the IRS claims they never received.
Continue Reading The Dangers of Improper Mailing to the IRS

silhouette of young designer team standing with a white blank screen laptop and notebook in hands while discussing/talking about them new project with the modern office as background.While dealing with the IRS generally involves submitting documents or legal authority to support a client’s position, in most cases the element of negotiating is present.  Negotiating becomes particularly important in dealing with the IRS where documentation may not exist, or the law is in the gray area.  Most practitioners will find that when dealing with the Examination Division, Appeals Office, and Collection Division, negotiating skills and techniques are helpful in resolving issues in favor of the client.

Almost everything is negotiable–even when dealing with the IRS.  Negotiating face to face with someone is generally more effective than negotiating over the telephone.  Accordingly, it is good policy to always arrange a meeting with the representative of the IRS.

In all levels of negotiations there is no substitute for preparation.  This includes knowing the facts of your case, the Internal Revenue Code, the Regulations, Internal Revenue Rulings and Procedures, the Internal Revenue Manual, Circular 230 and other ethical requirements.  Also, you should have a network of other professionals with whom you can discuss your case.

The following are general negotiating tips which, if followed, should give you a greater chance of success in dealing with the IRS:
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USA patriotic American flag muscular arm flex adorned in red, white and blue stars and stripes, huge bicep, very cool symbol of fitness, pride, strength and motivation. Isolated vector illustration for easy editing.The battle outside ragin’

Will soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’

-Bob Dylan

A change in presidential administrations brings with it the uncertainty of what the political, legal and tax landscape will look like in the future. Statements from the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and the President of the United States are starting to provide clarity of what things will look like going forward.  Here’s what we know and what you, as a taxpayer, should be thinking about as you adjust your financial planning.
Continue Reading IRS Commissioner and President Biden Draw Battle Lines

Overview of the Appeals Process

The goal of the Appeals Office is to settle as many cases as possible within the broad guidelines of its Mission Statement:

The Appeals mission is to resolve tax controversies, without litigation, on a basis which is fair and impartial to both the Government and the taxpayer and in a manner that will enhance voluntary compliance and public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the Service.

Even though much of the work of Appeals comes from examinations, its jurisdiction has expanded over the last few years.  In examination cases, the taxpayer receives the 30-day letter.  This letter is accompanied by the Revenue Agent Report and gives the taxpayer 30 days to request an Appeals conference.  In most cases, the taxpayer is required to file a protest describing the taxpayer’s position.  If the taxpayer does not request an Appeals conference, then the IRS will send the taxpayer a notice of deficiency.  If the taxpayer files a petition with the Tax Court, and has not had an Appeals conference, the IRS will send the case to Appeals to investigate a possible settlement.  In other types of cases, the IRS will send the taxpayer a letter advising the taxpayer of his right to an Appeals and giving the taxpayer a time limit in which to request an Appeals conference. You file the protest as stated in the letter from the IRS and within the 30-day period.


Continue Reading Going to Appeals – Preparing the Protest

Old axe standing against a piled pieces of firewood in wood“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

― Abraham Lincoln

The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015 and fundamentally changed the way partnerships are audited. Under the BBA, the IRS generally assesses and collects any understatement of tax (called an imputed underpayment) at the partnership level. The new rules were applicable to all entities starting on January 1, 2018, unless they are eligible to elect out. A significant uptick in BBA audits hasn’t, for the most part, occurred because of other demands on the IRS. However, a ramp up in BBA audits in 2021 is expected given IRS plans to increase audits on small businesses, usually operating as partnerships, by 50 percent.  Preparation prior to any audit is a good idea, but it is imperative for partnerships navigating new audit rules under BBA.  Here are some ways to sharpen your axe before the audit notice arrives.
Continue Reading Is Your Partnership IRS Audit Ready?

Midsection of tax auditor examining documents with magnifying glass at table in officeIf you haven’t read Part 1 of this blogpost, you might appreciate the background in that post.  That post dealt primarily with the concepts of communication during the audit. However, the concepts below should be helpful even without the benefit of Part 1. This post focuses on the concepts of preparation and presentation during the audit.   
Continue Reading Tips for Working with IRS Revenue Agents During an Audit – Part 2