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Collection Appeal Rights
You can appeal an IRS collection action to the IRS Office of Appeals. The Office of Appeals is separate from and independent of the IRS Collection offices that initiate collection actions. The IRS ensures the independence of the Appeals office through a strict policy prohibiting ex parte communication with the IRS Collection office about the accuracy of the facts or merits of each case. One of the main ways you can appeal an IRS collection action via a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing.
Collection Due Process Hearings (CDP)
If you want to protest an IRS collection notice, you can complete Form 12153, Request for a Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing, and submit it to the address listed on the IRS notice. A CDP hearing is a viable option if you’ve received one of the following notices:
- Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing
- Final Notice: Notice of Intent to Levy
- Notice of Jeopardy Levy and Right of Appeal
- Notice of Levy on a State Tax Refund
- Post Levy Collection Due Process (CDP) Notice
If you receive one of the above notices, the most important thing for you to know is that you’re on the clock. You have 30 days from the date of a notice to request a CDP hearing. Ignoring these notices is the worst thing a taxpayer can do – once that 30 day deadline passes, the IRS will begin the collection process and it will be too late for you to request an appeal.
Replying in a timely manner provides the additional option of resolving the issue directly with the collections office that sent you the notice. If the issue cannot be resolved, the case is then forwarded to Appeals for you to schedule a conference with an Appeals officer. The conference may be by telephone, correspondence, or face-to-face for taxpayers who qualify. Most importantly, filing a timely CDP hearing will formally stop all collection activity on your account until a final determination is made. Topics that may be discussed during a Collection Due Process hearing include:
- Whether or not the taxpayer paid all the tax owed
- Whether the IRS assessed tax and sent the levy notice when the taxpayer was in bankruptcy
- Whether or not the IRS made a procedural error in the assessment
- Whether the time to collect the tax (statute of limitations) has expired
- Whether the taxpayer wishes to discuss collection options
- Whether the taxpayer wishes to make a spousal defense (innocent spouse relief)
During a CDP hearing, you can request specific action regarding a lien against your property. For example, requesting a lien withdrawal on the premise that the IRS filed the Notice of Federal Tax lien prematurely or did not follow established procedures is an acceptable request during the hearing.
After the CDP hearing, the Appeals officer will issue a written determination letter. If the outcome is disagreeable, you can request judicial review by petitioning the U.S. Tax Court. However, your petition must be made within the time period specified in the Appeals’ determination letter.