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Many taxpayers are under the impression they can request a fair and impartial hearing before an independent judicial officer who will understand their problems, and thereby stop the Revenue Officer from seizing their wages, automobiles, bank accounts and other property.  Wrong!  Forget everything you have seen on Court TV this is the IRS.

The IRS definition of a fair and impartial hearing is as follows:

fair The IRS employee will listen to your complaints about the IRS and he will acknowledge your pitiful attempts to beg and plead for the release of your assets.
impartial The IRS employee will not call you names or twist your arm. However, he may provoke your anger as he gazes out the window, studies his watch, and quietly listens to your excuses.
hearing The IRS employee will conduct your "hearing" in a 6x9 grey cubicle with no witnesses and no recording of your testimony or the issues that were discussed.  The IRS employee is free to write whatever his manager wants him to write in your case file.

The IRS continues to state that taxpayers are guaranteed a fair and impartial hearing conducted by a disinterested party.  But, all you really get is a Revenue Officer who has been promoted to the Appeals Office.  There is no so-called independent person conducting a hearing to ensure fairness, accuracy, or anything else.  The Appeals Officer (i.e. Revenue Officer) is sitting in front of you with a 3-5 inch file that contains all of your violations and he wants you to pay the tax.  The burden is on you to show how you are going to resolve your tax problem(s). The Appeals Officer is under no obligation to research your case and help you find a way out of your mess!

If you believe you have a financial solution to resolve your tax problems, the Appeals Office is the right place to present your proposal. At a minimum, you will need to research and catalog all the facts and then select only the exact facts that affect your case. You must analyze and present both sides of your case. You must prepare your rebuttal with proper footnotes and exhibits. Finally you must prepare your summation of tax law that supports the solution to your problem. Generally speaking, a well-written proposal will be accepted by the IRS. But you have to do all the work!

Secret Confessions of a Former IRS Appeals Officer
(Deep Throat)

The title IRS Appeals Officer sounds great and we get a little more money, a nicer desk, and a little more respect. But the problem is ― 60% of our cases don't require the expertise of an Appeals Officer. Most of our cases should have been handled at the field agent/group manager level. And guess what? If you entered my office unprepared, without a well-written proposal, I would have rejected your frivolous appeal and would send your case right back to the field, where it belongs.

Federal tax law and Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) procedures are esoteric and mercurial by nature and most people refer to them as a foreign language. If your representative is not actively involved in "IRS Practice" you will have committed the fatal error of wasting my time and you will have achieved nothing more than a temporary delay in the seizure of your assets. The best-kept secret for all taxpayers is ― hire an accountant, lawyer or an enrolled agent that is actively involved in "IRS Practice" and, by all means, a preference should be given to former IRS Agents.

To make the Appeals Office work for you, your representative must prepare a proposal that clearly demonstrates how you plan to resolve your tax problems in accordance with IRM guidelines. Furthermore, all good proposals must anticipate and address the routine challenges that may be raised by me and the IRS review staff. The key element in successful negotiations with an Appeals Officer is your representative's noble effort to prevent the Appeals Officer from having to engage in any additional work. Mental or Physical!

*** Conclusion ***

The IRS Appeals Office is your last chance to present your plan of action to resolve your tax problems based on your evidence and your application of the law. If you treat this one-time opportunity lightly, you do so at your own peril.