IRS Independent Office of Appeals and In-Person Conferences

 

On March 25, 2020, the IRS issued News Release IR-2020-59, advising that certain compliance 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, at least through July 15, 2020. 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 at this time. Accordingly, Appeals will not conduct any in-person 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 Webex 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. 

Over the past several months Appeals has 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 has begun scheduling virtual trials, and Appeals in July 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 through WebEx. Taxpayers with questions about their case should contact the Appeals employee assigned to their case.