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A primer of the IRS examination and appeal

If the government believes that your tax returns are errant, they'll let you know. Often, this notice occurs via mail, but, in some circumstances, the IRS may want to conduct an in-person examination. This meeting may occur at your home, place of work, or at the IRS office. During the examination, pertinent financial records may be analyzed to determine what, if any, changes the IRS thinks needs to be made to your tax filing. This, in turn, could significantly increase the amount of taxes you owe.

Although you can certainly agree with the IRS's proposed changes, you also have the right to challenge them. In some cases, fast-tracked resolution methods like mediation can be utilized to settle the matter. This may include the negotiation of an offer in compromise or some sort of custom-tailored installment agreement. If mediation isn't an option, then you'll have 30 days to receive the examination report and file an appeal. If you don't file an appeal within that timeframe, then you'll receive a 90-day notice during which time you can file a claim in tax court.

When you appeal a case to tax court, the IRS typically bears the burden of proof, so long as you meet certain criteria. This means that you need to be prepared to show that you meet that criteria, such as demonstrating that you've substantially complied with the Internal Revenue Code. You might be able to win your case by merely showing that the government failed to abide by published guidance or case law.

It is of crucial importance to note that you have the right to be represented by an attorney throughout all the proceedings listed above. IRS tax law can be enormously complicated. Therefore, those who are facing issues with the IRS may want to consider seeking out competent legal guidance from a professional who is experienced and knowledgeable in this area of law.

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