Appealing an IRS or state tax authority decision

There is no denying that paying taxes is part of life. It doesn't matter where you live or how much money you earn; it's almost guaranteed that you're required to pay your fair share.

In addition to paying federal taxes to the IRS, you'll do the same on the state level. In Maryland, the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation is the tax agency in charge.

Both the IRS and state tax authorities have plenty of resources to enforce the collection of tax debts. In fact, they often go overboard with regard to the people they target and the debt they attempt to collect.

Is an appeal necessary?

Nobody wants to run into trouble with a taxing authority, as this can take a lot of time from your day-to-day life. More importantly, it can have a big impact on your financial situation.

With all this in mind, it's good to know that you have the right to appeal an adverse IRS decision.

If you find that you have no other option, step one is to file an administrative appeal internally with the IRS or your state tax agency.

If you aren't satisfied with the progress you make, the next step is to file an appeal in federal district court (or your state).

You can appeal many decisions, including trust fund recovery penalties, employment tax adjustments, offers in compromise, denial of an installment agreement, levies, liens, seizures and collection due process notices.

What to expect

It can be intimidating to file a tax appeal. This is particularly true if you're accused of doing something wrong.

An appeals conference, either face to face or by phone, is informal. Even so, this doesn't mean you should go into it without being fully prepared.

Although you have the right to represent yourself at an appeals conference, you're better off consulting with a tax attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law.

If you don't reach a resolution with the appeals officer, you'll need to take action through the court.

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