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Appeals Considers Risk of Going to Court (Hazards of Litigation)

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Station Overview

Compliance employees are responsible for determining the correct tax liability, collecting delinquent taxes and securing delinquent tax returns through the fair and equitable application of the tax laws as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code.

What does this mean to me?

Unlike Compliance, Appeals Officers may consider the hazards of litigation in attempting to reach a settlement. A hazards settlement is an intermediate resolution of an issue based upon the fact that there is uncertainty in the event of litigation as to how the courts would interpret and apply the law or as to what facts the court would find.

While a few cases are sure winners for the Government, there is some risk almost every time the Government goes before a judge or jury. Further, the Court tends to decide some issues on an all or nothing basis. Even though the Government seems to have a strong case, it could still lose. Many factors, both legal and factual, can create hazards of litigation in any case. Certain intangibles and unpredictable aspects must be considered.

How did I get here?

The IRS didn’t accept your tax return as originally filed or the documentation you submitted to support a deduction or credit you claimed. Therefore, the IRS proposed changes. Subsequently, you requested a conference with the IRS Office of Appeals.

What are my next steps?

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It is your responsibility to:

  • Let Appeals know the best time and method to contact you
  • Listen to the explanation of your appeal rights and the Appeals process
  • Submit a statement that includes a list of all IRS positions with which you disagree and how you understand the facts and law for each issue
  • Tell Appeals Technical Employee how you think your case should be resolved
  • Assist Appeals in promptly and accurately resolving your case by attending meetings and conferences when scheduled and promptly responding to any requests for additional information or documentation

Where can I get additional help?

Online Videos and Podcasts

Self-Help Tools

Publications about Your Appeal Rights.

Get Help Topics

Browse common tax issues and situations at Get Help

Wait I still need help

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayers’ rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a financial difficulty, you’ve tried and been unable to resolve your issue with the IRS, or you believe an IRS system, process, or procedure just isn’t working as it should. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you.

Visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are independent from the IRS and TAS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page on the TAS website or Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Taxpayer Rights

The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

Taxpayer Rights

Where am I in the tax system?

Appeals Considers Risk of Going to Court (Hazards of Litigation)