The Internal Revenue Service may have a significant amount of power when it comes to collecting taxes, but that does not mean it is always right. If you disagree with an assessment, you may be able to appeal the decision.
Perhaps more importantly, you may be able to resolve your dispute without ending up in a courtroom going through an expensive and time-consuming trial.
Is fast track mediation an option for you?
The IRS has a mediation program that greatly reduces the time you will expend on your dispute. However, before going forward, you may want to know that the following issues do not qualify for fast track mediation:
- Cases considered by an IRS campus site
- Collection appeal program cases
- Issues the IRS considers frivolous, see Notice 2010-33
The IRS has another publication that lists other issues that may not be eligible for this type of mediation. It’s called the Revenue Procedure 2003-41. Before applying, you may want to make sure that your issue qualifies.
Making your way toward fast track mediation
Before you can even apply to take advantage of this option, you must attempt a resolution with the IRS first. If efforts fail to go well with the revenue officer, you may then move up to the officer’s manager. Only after going through these two steps can you consider mediation. After you exhaust the other required options, you may apply for fast track mediation if your situation qualifies. You receive the following benefits if you go this route:
- Reduced risk when compared to a trial
- Reduced time since most resolutions are expected within 40 days
- Reduced costs when compared to a trial
- More personal control and flexibility over the process and outcome
Another benefit you receive is that you do not give up your right to an appeal or to litigation by engaging in fast track mediation. Even though the IRS provides you with assistance in setting up this mediation, it does not mean that you would not benefit from experienced representation. You will need to take numerous steps prior to mediation and be appropriately prepared for it when it happens.
No one can deny you the right to protect your rights throughout the process. Before embarking on any negotiations with the IRS, whether in mediation or otherwise, it may be worthwhile to gain a thorough understanding of your rights and options in order to help avoid making an error that could cost you in the long run.