How to Dispute Your Tax Treatment

Contrary to popular belief, it’s legal for you to disagree with the IRS. In fact, you have the right to appeal any notice they send to you under the 1988 Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

You can dispute your tax treatment in Tax Court, but figuring out how to file a petition can be confusing. Luckily for you, this post outlines all the steps. Keep reading to learn how to contest your income tax return and get the help you need to win.

When Can You Dispute Your Tax Treatment in Tax Court?

The IRS notice will usually specify how many days you have to file a petition in Tax Court, starting from the day the IRS mails its notice. The tax laws strictly enforce filing deadlines and do not allow petitioners to file after the due date. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your right to contest your tax transactions.

If you expect to miss the deadline for submitting a petition, send it via email instead.

How to File Your Petition in Tax Court?

If you want to file a petition with the Tax Court, you can do so by mail. You can also choose to hand deliver your petition between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm at the Tax Court in Washington. Online filing is also available through DAWSON, the IRS’s electronic filing system.

Regardless of the filing method you choose, the filing fee is $60 per case.

If you choose this route, make sure that all the required information is included in your filing. A tax attorney can help with this.

What Happens Once You File?

Once you’ve filed your petition with the Tax Court, the court will give the IRS time to file an Answer. An Answer is a response to your petition. It contains facts and arguments that support the IRS’s position on your income tax.

Once both parties have filed their answers, the case is set for trial. The court clerk will choose the trial date, not either of you.

IRS Appeals

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your tax dispute, you can try to settle it through IRS Appeals. In fact, taxpayers resolve most cases at IRS Appeals because litigation in Tax Court can be quite expensive.

IRS Appeals is the informal mechanism you can use to challenge an IRS determination. Their job is to:

  • Consider each case fairly and impartially
  • Resolve tax disputes without litigation where possible
  • Improve public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the IRS
  • Help ensure compliance with federal tax laws

Prepare to Meet With an IRS Representative

If you disagree with your tax treatment, Tax Court is an option to consider. It’s possible to have your case heard in Tax Court, but it can be a lengthy process. Taxpayers who want to go this route should be prepared with documentation that supports their position.

For more tips on how to prepare to meet the IRS, browse our business and lifestyle articles. There are income tax tips and other resources available to help you understand the tax process and file solid petitions.


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