4

The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.

What This Means for You

  • If you submit documentation or raise objections during an examination, and the IRS does not agree with your position, it will issue a statutory notice of deficiency explaining why it is increasing your tax, which gives you the right to petition the U.S. Tax Court prior to paying the tax. IRC § 6212

  • If you are an individual taxpayer eligible for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) assistance (generally your income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level), the IRS may provide information to you about your eligibility for assistance from an LITC. IRC § 7526

    For more information, see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. Or find an LITC near you.

  • If you are notified by the IRS that it has adjusted your return because of a mathematical or clerical error, you have 60 days to tell the IRS that you disagree. If the IRS is not persuaded, it will issue you a Statutory Notice of Deficiency proposing a tax adjustment. This notice provides you with a right to challenge the proposed adjustment in Tax Court by filing a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to a person outside the United States), without first paying the proposed adjustment. IRC § 6213(b)

    For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.

  • Immediately after the IRS files a notice of federal tax lien in the appropriate state filing location, the IRS must generally provide you with an opportunity for a hearing before an independent IRS Appeals/Settlement Officer. At that hearing, you can raise alternatives to the IRS’s collection action and may even be able to challenge whether you actually owe the tax. If you disagree with Appeals’ determination, you can go to Tax Court. IRC § 6320

    For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.

  • Before the IRS takes its first enforcement action to collect a tax debt by levying, for example, your bank account, the IRS must generally provide you with an opportunity for a hearing before an independent IRS Appeals/Settlement Officer. At that hearing, you can raise alternatives to the IRS’s collection action and may even be able to challenge whether you actually owe the tax. If you disagree with Appeals’ determination, you can go to Tax Court. IRC § 6330

    For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.