Chief Counsel


This section of the Data Book provides an overview of the IRS Chief Counsel’s workload and activities. The IRS Chief Counsel is appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, and serves as the chief legal advisor to the IRS Commissioner on all matters pertaining to the interpretation, administration, and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as all other legal matters. Under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Chief Counsel reports to both the IRS Commissioner and the Treasury General Counsel.

Attorneys in the Chief Counsel’s Office serve as lawyers for the IRS. They provide the IRS and taxpayers with guidance on interpreting Federal tax laws correctly, represent the IRS in litigation, and provide all other legal support required to carry out the IRS mission.

Graphic on the left shows the number of tax litigation cases closed by type of case in fiscal year 2023. Chief Counsel closed 34,907 Tax Court cases, 1,916 nondocketed cases, and 217 refund cases.  Graphic on the right shows the amount of tax and penalty by type of case in fiscal year 2023. Tax court cases closed in fiscal year 2023 resulted in $1.8 billion in taxes and penalty. Refund cases closed in fiscal year 2023 protected almost $1.4 billion in taxes and penalty.

View chart detailsXLSX. For additional graphs from this section, download the PDF of this year’s Data BookPDF.

Highlights of the data

  • In Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, Chief Counsel received 54,979 cases and closed 65,603 cases, including those received in prior years (Table 30XLSX).
  • Of the cases closed in FY 2022, 68.8 percent were from the Small Business/Self-Employed Division (Table 30XLSX).
  • Of the 65,603 cases closed, Chief Counsel closed 7.2 percent through guidance and assistance. This includes published guidance, advanced case resolution, treaties, legislation, congressional and execu­tive correspondence, training and public outreach, and prefiling legal advice to the IRS (Table 30XLSX).
  • More than 82.2 percent of new cases received and about 86.2 percent of cases closed were related to tax law enforcement and litigation, includ­ing Tax Court litigation; collection, bankruptcy, and summons advice and litigation; Appellate Court litiga­tion; criminal tax; and enforcement advice and assistance (Table 30XLSX).
  • In FY 2023, Chief Counsel received 22,211 Tax Court cases involving a taxpayer contesting an IRS determi­nation that they owed additional tax. During the fiscal year, Chief Counsel closed 34,907 cases involving $5.5 billion in disputed taxes and penalties (Table 31XLSX).

Index of Data Book Tables

Chief Counsel: Tables 30 & 31


Table 30: Chief Counsel Workload: All Cases, by Office and Type of Case, Fiscal Year 2023XLSX
Table 31: Chief Counsel Workload: Tax Litigation Cases, by Type of Case, Fiscal Year 2023XLSX

Data for all years

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