Publication 5: Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don't Agree

Publication 5, titled "Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don't Agree," is a resource published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to guide taxpayers through the process of appealing an IRS decision following an audit. It outlines your rights and the steps involved in filing a formal protest, also known as an IRS appeal.

What is a Protest?

A protest is a formal written document that outlines your disagreement with the IRS's proposed changes to your tax liability. It allows you to present your arguments and supporting evidence to the IRS's Independent Office of Appeals for review.

Why Use Publication 5?

Disagreements with the IRS can arise during audits. Publication 5 empowers you to understand your options if you disagree with the findings of your tax audit, particularly regarding proposed changes to your tax liability, penalties, or claimed refunds.

When to File a Protest?

You have the right to file a protest if the IRS proposes adjustments to your tax return that result in:

  • An increase in taxes owed (including penalties and interest) of more than $25,000 for any tax year.
  • A decrease in your claimed refund of more than $25,000.

How to File a Protest?

There are two main ways to initiate your appeal:

A. Using the included appeal request form: If the IRS letter proposing changes includes a designated appeal request form, you can complete and submit it to initiate the appeals process.

B. Form 12203, Request for Appeals Review: If no specific appeal form is included, you can use Form 12203.

Can I represent myself during the appeal process?

Yes, you have the right to represent yourself during your appeal. However, consulting with a qualified tax professional can be highly beneficial, especially for complex situations.

What happens after I file a protest?

The Appeals Office will review your protest and may schedule a conference to discuss the disputed issues.

What if I disagree with the Appeals Office decision?

If you are not satisfied with the Appeals Office decision, you may have the right to take your case to Tax Court or file a lawsuit in federal district court.