IR-2022-170, October 4, 2022 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service Independent Office of Appeals is taking important steps to improve how taxpayers interact and communicate with the IRS by revising their initial contact letters. "Appeals resolves federal tax disputes, without litigation, in a way that is fair and impartial to taxpayers and the government," said April Adams-Johnson, the Senior Level Advisor to the Chief of Appeals and Appeals' first Taxpayer Experience Officer. "Typically, at the start of the process, the Appeals Officer assigned the case sends a letter with some introductory information and invites the taxpayer or their representative to a conference. We want this letter to be clear and easy to understand for all taxpayers." Appeals has made two key revisions to these initial contact letters in response to feedback from taxpayers and practitioners. First, the revised initial contact letter will clarify that generally, taxpayers and representatives can choose how they meet with Appeals through conferences that can be held by telephone, video or in-person. In addition, Appeals can work with taxpayers and representatives through the mail or secure electronic messaging. Appeals employees can successfully resolve disputes in every type of conference and the type of conference does not impact Appeals' decision. Second, in addition to the Appeals Officer's contact information, the initial contact letter will now provide the name and phone number of the Appeals Officer's manager. While the Appeals Officer remains the primary contact for all their assigned cases, the addition of the manager's contact information will ensure an appeal stays on track in the rare instance additional help is needed. Going forward, taxpayers and representatives will see the new language providing manager contact information and clarifying conference choice in the initial contact letters sent for most cases received in Appeals, including cases relating to an IRS examination determination, penalties, an offer in compromise, a request for a Collection Due Process hearing or participation in IRS e-file. "We recognize that improving the taxpayer experience is a continuing process," said Adams-Johnson. "Appeals welcomes comments on additional ways we can help create a more positive experience for taxpayers and representatives, whether through revisions to our communications or through other process improvements." Individuals may submit their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 2, 2022.