IRS Independent Office of Appeals and In-Person Conferences

 

As previously reported, on March 25, 2020, the IRS issued News Release IR-2020-59, advising that certain activities would be suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and in-person contact with taxpayers would be avoided to the maximum extent possible. In-person Appeals conferences were one type of contact that was suspended. The Independent Office of Appeals believes that the safety of taxpayers, tax practitioners, and Appeals employees is best protected by continuing to suspend in-person Appeals conferences until further notice. Appeals will monitor the COVID-19 situation, both local and national conditions, and reassess when it is appropriate to restart in-person conferences. In the meantime, Appeals will conduct conferences by telephone or virtually using videoconference technology. Appeals has worked hard over the last several years to provide in-person conferences to taxpayers who want them. We know that this continued limitation is temporary, and we look forward to restarting in-person conferences when we are certain it is safe to do so for all parties. 

During 2020, Appeals placed in suspense cases of taxpayers who requested an in-person conference.  For docketed cases (petitioned by the taxpayer to the U.S. Tax Court) that are in Appeals' jurisdiction, the U.S. Tax Court began scheduling virtual trials, and in July 2020, Appeals began 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. For nondocketed cases (those not docketed before the U.S. Tax Court), Appeals will no longer suspend cases due to a taxpayer’s request for an in-person conference. In the interests of providing a timely Appeals conference, Appeals will now begin contacting taxpayers and scheduling a conference, either over the telephone or using virtual conference technology such as WebEx or ZoomGov. Taxpayers with questions about their case should contact the Appeals employee assigned to their case.