According to experts Thomas Greenaway of KPMG LLP and Kathy Petronchak of alliantgroup, Exam and IRS Counsel are becoming more involved in the Appeals process. Speaking at an American Law Institute conference in Washington D.C. on October 8th, Greenway and Petronchak discussed the increasing role Exam is playing at the Appeals level. While Appeals is an independent function of the IRS, it has been sending issues back to Exam or allowing Exam to comment on cases. Appeals has the ability to send entire cases back to Exam, or, as it has been doing lately, allowing Exam and Counsel to play a greater role in the process.

Increased participation by Counsel and Exam results in cases being more fully developed by the time Appeals makes its decision. However, it can also lengthen the time a case spends in Appeals. Budget cuts and this new approach have had the overall effect of lengthening the Appeals process for many taxpayers. It can now take months for a case to get assigned and then even longer to have the conference scheduled. In many cases, taxpayers have to wait at least a year before they can be heard at an Appeals conference. Whether the process will become quicker in the near future remains in serious doubt; however it is apparent that Appeals will continue the trend of increasingly involving Exam and Counsel in the process.

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