First and foremost, don’t ignore notices from the IRS. Even if you can’t pay the taxes you owe, responding to a notice before the due date could prevent further enforcement action. For example, the IRS can issue a and take your property or assets.
If you are able to full pay the balance owed, see Payments for the various ways you can pay your IRS debt. If you can’t pay the full amount by that date, you can explore payment options that might work for your situation. You can contact the IRS at the phone number located at the top right-hand corner of your notice to set up a payment plan or discuss other ways to address your balance.
If you disagree with the proposed action in the notice and/or the balance owing, this Notice is your right to request a CDP hearing. You’ll have until the date shown on the notice to request a CDP hearing with Appeals. If you wish to appeal the filing of the NFTL, proposed levy action, and/or levy action, you need to timely complete and mail Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing. If you do not file Form 12153 by the due date on the notice and send it to the correct mailing address, you will lose the ability to contest Appeals’ decision in the U.S. Tax Court.
If you do not submit a request for CDP hearing timely, you can request an equivalent hearing. To receive an equivalent hearing, your request must be postmarked on or before the end of the one-year period from the date of the notice. You will not have the right to petition U.S. Tax Court if you disagree with Appeals’ equivalent hearing decision.
Once your CDP or equivalent hearing request is submitted, you can expect to hear from the IRS Independent Office of Appeals following the receipt and review of your case. If it has been more than 120 days since you filed your protest requesting an appeal and you have not heard from the IRS, contact the IRS office to which you sent your appeal request. If you do not know which IRS employee or office last worked your case, call the IRS taxpayer assistance line at 1-800-829-1040. If the IRS office responds that it has sent your case to Appeals, call the Appeals Account Resolution Specialist (AARS) function at 559-233-1267 and provide the requested information with your message. AARS will generally respond within 48 hours, telling you if your case has been assigned and how to contact that employee directly. If Appeals hasn’t received your case yet, you will not receive a call back.
Once you are assigned to an Appeals Officer (AO), the AO will be able to address the liability itself, and is able to establish a payment option based on your financial situation. If you believe you have an acceptable reason for interest or a penalty to be removed or reduced, you can also discuss potential options for abatement with the AO.
If you are outside of the timeframe for CDP and/or equivalent hearing, you can still request a hearing with Appeals either before or after the IRS levies your property or files the Notice of Federal Tax Lien. You can contact the IRS at the number listed on your notice and request a manager conference. If the manager sustains the employee’s decision, you can submit a request for appeal through the Collection Appeals Program (CAP).
You may represent yourself in your Appeals proceedings, or you may be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant, or a person enrolled to practice before the IRS. Also, you may be represented by a member of your immediate family, or in the case of a business, by regular full-time employees, general partners, or bona fide officers. If you want your representative to contact us or appear without you and to receive and inspect confidential material, you must file a properly completed Form 2848 (no earlier than 10/2011 revision), Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. You may also authorize an individual to receive or inspect confidential material but not represent you before the IRS, by filing a Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization. These forms are available at your local IRS office, by calling 1-800-829-3676, or from IRS.gov.
See Publication 594 and Publication 1660 for a full explanation of the IRS collection process and appeal rights.