4 Factors an IRS Appeals Officer Considers During a Hearing

Owing money to the IRS can be a tough pill to swallow, but what can be even more challenging is the idea that they think you owe money when you actually don’t or when the IRS tries to collect the money from you unfairly without following its own administrative procedures.  If you’ve received a notification from the IRS that you have a debt to pay, or if the IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against you or has issued a levy to garnish your wages or bank accounts, you have the right to appeal their findings.  You can present your case to an Appeals officer in an Appeals hearing (to challenge the amount owed) or a Collection Due Process hearing (to challenge a collection action).

A hearing in Appeals hearing allows you to present your case to an Appeals officer who will then weigh all of the information to make a final decision. Sometimes you come out of the hearing with a win, and other times the officer does not agree with your position and you might find yourself headed to Tax Court. What kind of factors will they look at to determine the outcome of your case?


  • Credibility – A hearing in IRS Appeals is your time to explain your case and present evidence or witnesses that can testify on your behalf. You have the ability to describe the situation yourself or can have others help you with giving more details about how the IRS interpreted the information incorrectly during their first review. The Appeals officer will be assessing how credible all of this information is. Are your witnesses trustworthy? Is your evidence solid? These are huge factors that can play into your outcome.



  • Interpretation of the law – Your tax return may be incorrect in the eyes of the IRS based on the interpretation of tax law by the person who performed an audit. As tax laws are very complex, it could be possible that your situation was judged against a specific law that wasn’t entirely applicable. The Appeals officer will take this into consideration during your hearing.



  • Evidence – We’ve discussed the credibility of your evidence, but the Appeals officer also has to consider if your evidence actually pertains to your case. You might think you have a winning case and have collected every document possible that will support it, but ultimately the Appeals officer will determine if you can prove your position.



  • End goals – If the hearing results in a ruling against you, you have the option to disagree and bring your case to Tax Court. When making a determination, the Appeals officer will consider your chances of prevailing in Tax Court and if it would be worth it to make a judgment against you and tie up further resources in Tax Court. It becomes a situation of cutting their losses so to speak depending on each individual situation.


Have you filed an appeal with the IRS and are headed to a hearing with Appeals? Contact The Law Office of Robert Boeshaar for help with your case. We help individuals and small businesses resolve their disputes with the IRS to obtain the best possible outcome.