The Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Appeals has improved its handling of collection due process cases, but there are still instances where taxpayers were not provided with their right to a hearing, according to a new report.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS’s Appeals Office has generally been improving its procedures since the last time it was inspected. The office has been classifying taxpayer requests properly and ensuring that the expiration dates for the statute of limitations on tax collections are no longer being improperly extended.

Nevertheless, there are still some remaining problems. “TIGTA identified a few instances in which taxpayers were not provided with their right to a hearing because Appeals employees did not make sufficient attempts to contact the taxpayers before closing their cases,” said the report. “Additionally, correspondence to some taxpayers was not accurate or clear, or did not fully address all issues raised by the taxpayers. As a result, taxpayers could experience increased burden if they have to contact the IRS for additional assistance.”

TIGTA also identified a small portion of cases in which the hearing officers did not include “impartiality statements.”

TIGTA recommended that the Appeals Office chief re-emphasize to employees the requirements for contacting taxpayers or their authorized representatives, and ensure that the right procedures are being followed before approving case closings. The office should also ensure that the required documentation is included in the Appeals files, such as the taxpayers’ hearing request and correspondence with the taxpayer. The letters should be accurate and understandable to taxpayers, and all taxpayer issues should be addressed before the taxpayer’s case is closed, said TIGTA.

In response to the report, IRS Appeals management agreed with TIGTA’s findings and recommendations, and plans to re-emphasize the requirements to employees.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access