All taxpayers have the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum and be heard

Published 7:30 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

Taxpayers have the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. This is not just one of ten basic rights — known collectively as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights — it’s the law. All taxpayers should know and understand their rights in the event they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter.

The IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals that handles a taxpayer’s case must be separate from the IRS office that initially reviewed that case. Generally, Appeals will not discuss a case with the IRS to the extent that those communications appear to compromise the independence of Appeals.

Here are some important details about this right:

  • A statutory notice of deficiency is an IRS letter proposing additional tax. Taxpayers who receive this notice and then timely file a petition with the United States Tax Court may dispute the proposed adjustment before they must pay the tax.
  • Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including many penalties.
  • Taxpayers have the right to receive a written response regarding a decision from the Office of Appeals.
  • When taxpayers don’t agree with the IRS’s decisions, they can refer to Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest if You Don’t Agree, for details on how to appeal.
  • Generally, taxpayers may file a refund suit in a United States District Court or the United States Court of Federal Claims if:
    • They have fully paid the tax and the IRS has denied their tax refund claim.
    • No action is taken on the refund claim within six months.
    • It’s been less than two years since the IRS mailed them a notice denying the refund.

More Information:
Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer
Taxpayer Advocate
United States Tax Court
Online Videos and Podcasts of the Appeals Process