The IRS recently released a memorandum revising in-person conference procedures for Appeals Campus cases. In the memorandum, the IRS stated that taxpayers involved in Campus cases would have the ability to obtain in-person conference “when requested.”
In 2016, IRS updated the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 22.214.171.124 to make telephonic conferences the primary method for Appeals conferences. Taxpayers could still request in-person conferences, but an Appeals Manager, had to approve an in-person conference based on facts and circumstances of each case. After much criticism that the in-person conference approval process resulted in inconsistent treatment between requesting taxpayers, the IRS announced, in 2017, that it would be returning to in-person Appeals conferences. However, the IRS said that in-person conference would not be available for Campus cases. Campus cases include underreporter cases, correspondence exam cases and penalty appeals cases.
The new memorandum’s guidance reestablishes the ability for taxpayers involved in Campus cases to request in-person conferences. The memorandum will serve as interim guidance to IRS employees until the IRS updates all applicable IRM sections. It affects the following IRMs: 8.4.1, 8.4.2, 8.6.1, 8.11.1, 8.11.4, 8.22.5, 8.23.2, 8.24.1, 8.25.2 and 25.15.12. The guidance provides that if a taxpayer or taxpayer representative requests an in-person conference and the assigned Appeals office cannot accommodate the request, Appeals will send the case to another office. The guidance also states that Appeals will use its “best efforts” to schedule in-person conferences at a location that is “reasonably convenient” for both taxpayers and Appeals when the conference must take place at an office other than the assigned office. Additionally, the guidance eliminates, “case assistance procedures,” previously offered to taxpayers as a substitute for in-person conferences.
Taxpayers involved in Campus cases will now have multiple conference options including holding the conference by telephone, correspondence, in-person or virtually. Appeals still plans for most conferences to be held by phone. Taxpayers should contact their tax advisors for help navigating the Appeals process, and to discuss the best format for their Appeals conference.