IRS Settlement Days program to resolve tax disputes during COVID-19 pandemic; The Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel announces that the IRS retools Settlement Days program in response to Coronavirus pandemic in order to allow unrepresented taxpayers for settlement of their cases virtually and reach finality. The agency further says that the Settlement Days program will continue remotely so as to enable unrepresented taxpayers to work towards resolving their pending United States Tax Court case despite “stay-at-home” orders in many jurisdictions.¬†Moreover, the initial couple of cases are for docketed cases with place of trial in Detroit or Atlanta. IRS Settlement Days program to resolve tax disputes during COVID-19 pandemic will schedule further events in other cities throughout the United States in near future.

IRS Settlement Days Program To Resolve Tax Disputes During COVID-19 Pandemic

Virtual Settlement Days is a coordinated endeavor by the IRS for the resolution of Tax Court cases of those taxpayers who are not represented by the counsel. Such taxpayers can now get the opportunity to obtain free tax advice and possible representation from Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) or other pro bono organizations. All this is possible because of S Settlement Days program for unrepresented taxpayers to settle their cases. Taxpayers can hold meetings with the members of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, Appeals and Collections regarding their Tax Court case and other related federal tax issues.

IRS Settlement Days program to resolve tax disputes during COVID-19 pandemic is designed to help unrepresented taxpayers for receiving free assistance in order to discuss an impending fair settlement of their tax disputes. The entire process undergoes in an informal setting with no need for supplementary litigation or a trial in Tax Court. It is evident that a large number of taxpayers have resolved their cases by participating in the previous IRS Settlement Days programs. Not only this, the taxpayers who ended up with a liability have been eligible to enter into an installment payment arrangement.

In a progression of Orders issued on March 11, 13 and 23, 2020, the Tax Court canceled scheduled trial sessions for Settlement Days programs. According to the Tax Court Orders, the parties are expected to continue working together for exchanging information and addressing pending issues. The goals of Tax Court are achieved in the Settlement Days events as it allows the parties to work forward for settling case on a remote basis.

For cases docketed on the Detroit and Atlanta Tax Court trial sessions, the Chief Counsel has scheduled Virtual Settlement Days events for May 2020. Above 100 unrepresented taxpayers are invited by the Chief Counsel for meeting with Chief Counsel attorneys or paralegals through WebEx for the two events. Prior to the WebEx meetings, the taxpayers will be able to speak with LITC representatives. Furthermore, the LITC representatives will join the WebEx meetings later on if the taxpayer needs.

First Case: Detroit Event for tax disputes during COVID-19

In collaboration with the University of Michigan Law School LITC, the Detroit Office of Chief Counsel will host 1st event for the Detroit trial session cases on Saturday, May 9, 2020. More than 100 Tax Court petitioners are also invited by the IRS. From the lately canceled Tax Court calendars along with further docketed cases not yet set for trial, the cases are selected for the event. In order to fulfill requirements of taxpayers, the event may be extended further.

Second Case: Atlanta Event for tax disputes during COVID-19

In collaboration with the North Georgia Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, the Atlanta Office of Chief Counsel will host 2nd event for the cancelled Atlanta trial session cases and other docketed cases on Thursday, May 21, 2020. For the accommodation of the schedules of the participants, the events may extend for more than several days. In the progress, the IRS will pay attention to invite those unrepresented taxpayers whose cases sessions have been delayed because of Tax Court cancellations.

Further Details of IRS Settlement Days Program

IRS Settlement Days program to resolve tax disputes during COVID-19 pandemic for unrepresented taxpayers is soon beginning remotely to reach finality. For now, docket taxpayers with cases presently under consideration by the IRS Independent Office of Appeals have not been invited to the Detroit and Atlanta events. However, these petitioners are encouraged by the IRS for discussing their case resolution to the Appeals Officer specifically assigned to their case. Together with the use of virtual conferences, appeals carry on to work cases. The IRS will continue its effort for the resolution of issues of those unrepresented taxpayers who are working with an Appeals Officer and also receive an invitation to the event.

Virtual Settlement Days Best Practice Guide

A Virtual Settlement Days Best Practice Guide is prepared by the IRS Chief Counsel for external use. The guide will be released ahead of the Virtual Settlement Days events. Chief Counsel expects that even after the end of this crisis, Virtual Settlement Days will be a foundation of its Settlement Day efforts. In January 2020, an initial Settlement Days Best Practices Guide was released by the Chief Counsel that outlines a remote model for the program.

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