The IRS Appeals Division, which adjudicates administrative appeals from examinations, began piloting a new, web-based virtual conference option for taxpayers and their representatives on Aug. 1.
This virtual option is intended to provide face-to-face interaction with an appeals officer. An appeal before the Appeals Division may be conducted in person, over the phone, or virtually through videoconference. Current videoconference capability is limited at the IRS and is available at only certain IRS offices.
In August of 2016, the IRS updated its appeals procedures to encourage more telephone conferences with taxpayers. Appeals officials indicated that taxpayers often requested face-to-face hearings in order to transfer their case from the IRS’s campus function to the field appeals function, which taxpayers believed to result in a more favorable hearing given the field appeals function’s tendency to address more complex cases.
The new, virtual option is intended to help taxpayers located in rural areas far from an Appeals office. Nevertheless, it remains likely that taxpayers with complex tax issues under examination will continue to demand an in-person hearing, as opposed to a virtual, web-based conference option.
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