IR-2023-233, Dec. 8, 2023 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service's Independent Office of Appeals today released its Focus GuidePDF for fiscal year 2024. The guide highlights where Appeals will be improving taxpayer service in its mission to resolve tax disputes in a fair and impartial manner without the need for litigation. "Appeals' participation in IRS transformation and modernization efforts is critical to effectively and efficiently serving taxpayers," said Deputy Chief of Appeals Liz Askey. "By leveraging technology, we can reduce cycle time and improve both the taxpayer and employee experience." The Appeals' Focus Guide, which aligns with the objectives of the IRS Strategic Operating Plan (SOP), outlines the service initiatives taxpayers can expect over the coming year, including: Promoting digital platforms to improve how taxpayers communicate with Appeals. Promoting paperless processes and other modernization efforts. Helping taxpayers achieve tax certainty earlier in the dispute resolution process. Expanding access to in-person conferences and promoting video conferences for taxpayers who don't live near an Appeals office. Collaborating with the tax practitioner community on continuing education opportunities for the Appeals workforce. In line with the IRS' recently announced paperless processing achievements, Appeals is working to make it easier for taxpayers to communicate digitally. Appeals now includes information about secure messaging in letters to taxpayers and will continue efforts to ensure taxpayers can conveniently communicate about their cases. At its 2023 Practitioner Perspective series, tax practitioners shared insights with Appeals employees through panels focused on issues of mutual interest. Recordings of the common penalties and international information reporting penalties discussions are now available online. Appeals will continue these discussions to help ensure the best experience for taxpayers who have cases heard in Appeals. Appeals also is leading an effort focused on resolving cases at the earliest stage possible. In fiscal year 2023 IRS sought public input to improve dispute resolution programs. "The IRS is focused on transforming the agency to resolve taxpayer disputes with legal certainty at the earliest possible stage," said Chief of Appeals Andy Keyso. "We're looking forward to restructuring the alternative dispute resolution process this year to help achieve that objective, and we look forward to continuing to provide taxpayers an impartial administrative forum for resolving tax disputes without litigation." Achieving these initiatives requires providing the Appeals workforce with the right tools including training, technology and new processes. Recruiting and investing in training and technology for its workforce will help Appeals meet the goals outlined in its focus guide. Appeals is hiring and will continue to focus on employee training and manager development to strengthen its foundation of impartial, quality decision making.