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IRS Appeals Division slowly reactivating

by | Jul 21, 2020 | Taxation

IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue (updated July 20, 2020)

The IRS has updated its website detailing what it calls its “mission-critical functions” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The update provides information about the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals, including how the Office is dealing with suspended cases of taxpayers who have requested in-person conferences with the office.

Background. The IRS has had to curtail some operations due to COVID-19 but its mission-critical functions, including accepting tax returns and sending refunds, continue. It has set up a website (the “mission-critical website”) detailing what functions are and are not currently running.

The function and duty of Independent Office of Appeals (Appeals) is to resolve tax controversies without litigation on a basis that:

  1. Is fair and impartial to both IRS and the taxpayer;
  2. Promotes a consistent application and interpretation of, and voluntary compliance with, federal tax laws; and
  3. Enhances public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of IRS. (Code Sec. 7803(e)(3))

Website updates. The July 20 version of the IRS mission-critical functions website says that Appeals will not conduct any in-person conferences at least through August 31, 2020.

In the meantime, Appeals will conduct conferences by telephone or virtually using WebEx videoconference technology.

Over the past several months, Appeals has placed in suspense cases of taxpayers who requested an in-person conference. With regards to those cases:

  • For nondocketed cases(i.e., cases not docketed in Tax Court), Appeals will continue to suspend these cases at this time. It will monitor statutes of limitations and request extensions when warranted. There may be some cases where extensions cannot be obtained or where other circumstances necessitate that Appeals works the case immediately; examples include estate tax and assessed FBAR cases. Appeals will notify taxpayers in these cases.
  • For docketed cases that are in Appeals’ jurisdiction, the Tax Court has begun scheduling virtual trials, and Appeals will begin scheduling telephone or virtual conferences with affected taxpayers to ensure that the taxpayer has an opportunity to attempt to settle the case with Appeals before trial.

This was reported by Thompson-Reuters and is on the IRS website