Fast forward a few decades; my law practice now centers on tax controversy. My hair is thinner and grayer, but robo-audits and zombie audits are now powerless to waste my or my clients’ time.
At the GLSA 2016 Spring Conference in May, I will be leading a session discussion on “Defending IRS Rob-Audits.” The key is not just defending, but doing so efficiently. We will walk through the IRS’s heavy robo-hitter, the Automated Under-Reporter (“AUR”) unit, and the Automated Under-Reporter notice. We will discuss what is, and is not, a reasonable expectation of resolution within the unit itself, and the “5½ bites at the apple” appeals plan. (6 bites, but one rarely succeeds so we count it as a ½ bite and move on).
We will also discuss the sometimes more frustrating “correspondence examination.” Despite appearances, correspondence exams are assigned NOT to a single examiner. The name on the letter is the center manager’s name. A different correspondence exam technician will be working the case each time it is picked up. The IRS correspondence examination unit is underfunded (at about 2009 funding levels) and understaffed. Workload-wise they are drinking from a firehose, and the taxpayer experience can reflect that. Many submissions and responses are never worked. It is easy to get drawn into a time hogging cycle of repetitive submissions and phone calls and “. . . but I sent you all that(s).” We will lay out what is, and is not, a reasonable expectation of resolution with correspondence exam unit, and the “5½ bites at the (settlement) apple.”
We will also discuss the IRS’s cut-to-the-chase “it’s just a math error, here’s your bill” notice. Sometimes a math error is just a math error, but other times is a robo-adjustment cloaked as a math error “correction.” It’s hard to appeal a math error correction directly—what do you do? You rotate the apple. The 5½ appeal rights and settlement opportunities are still there, you just have to go about it differently—we will discuss how.
If your practice includes IRS notices, I encourage you to attend “Defending IRS Robo-Audits.”