IRS Appeals: The Small Case Protest

In the interests of due process, the Internal Revenue Service has a procedure for taxpayers to protest certain tax matters. This option is often triggered by taxpayers to protest the findings of a tax examiner or IRS audit. After you have received some type of notice from the IRS regarding your tax situation, you may follow the instructions on the form to request a conference with the IRS Office of Appeals. Generally, taxpayers must file a formal written protest to receive a conference with the Office of Appeals. In some situations, though, a “Small Case Request” may be appropriate. 

After an Audit

If an IRS auditor determines that your tax liability should be adjusted based on his or her findings, you will receive a report explaining the auditor’s findings. This letter should break down adjustments in the areas of back taxes, penalties, and interest. If that report doesn’t give you information on how you can appeal the auditor’s findings, you should receive a letter shortly after which explains your options. You must respond within 30 days of receiving the second letter or have a good reason for not responding in that time frame. 

You will likely have less work to request an appeal if the amount of additional taxes and penalties you were asked to pay totals less than $25,000 per tax period. This is the Small Case Request. Instead of having to file a formal written protest in addition to other forms (like Form 12203-A), you generally only have to fill out and submit Form 12203 to request an appeal of a small case. There are slightly different calculations involved when determining your eligibility for this procedure in connection with an Offer in Compromise. 

Form 12203: Request for Appeals Review

This IRS form asks you for basic information, like your name, address, and tax periods associated with your appeal. Below the first section, you will have space to list disagreed items and address the reasons you disagree. If you have a power-of-attorney agent fill out the form, he or she must put down the best telephone number to reach him or her. The IRS will not entertain objections based on religious, political, or moral grounds in Form 12203. 

If the appeal does not go your way, you can escalate your dispute to U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, or U.S. District Court. Throughout the appeals process, you should have competent legal representation to make sure your rights and interests are protected. In fact, the best way to position yourself for success is to hire an attorney as soon as you suspect an IRS audit is imminent. 

Weisberg Kainen Mark is focused on resolving complex tax matters for those unfortunate enough to become entangled with the IRS. Our team stands ready to help you tackle a stressful situation; call our office at (305) 374-5544 to set up an appointment with us today.

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