Mediation – also known as alternative dispute resolution – can help taxpayers resolve tax issues early and efficiently.

The process provides taxpayers with a faster, more collaborative, and cost-effective approach to case resolution. The traditional appeal process is still available for taxpayers who choose it, according to an IRS news release.

Mediation might be right for a taxpayer if:

  • The taxpayer wants to resolve the dispute at the earliest possible stage of their audit.
  • The taxpayer doesn’t have many disputed issues.
  • The taxpayer gave the IRS information to support their position.
  • The IRS is still considering the taxpayer’s case and issues remain unresolved.

Mediation is:

  • Voluntary for both parties.
  • Nonbinding, meaning each party retains 100% control over whether to settle the case. No one can force either party to do something they don’t agree to do.
  • Effective when both parties have a desire to resolve the disputed issue.
  • Appropriate when all issues are fully resolved except the issue for which mediation is requested.
  • A chance to avoid a lengthy appeal process or costly litigation.

Mediation is not:

  • Required by either party.
  • A replacement for the audit or collection process.
  • A process in which the parties in the dispute offer arguments directly to the mediator hoping to “win.”
  • Effective if either party believes the only way the dispute will get resolved is if the other party concedes or gives up on its position.
  • A time to present new information or raise new issues.
  • An opportunity to try and get a more favorable outcome or delay the examination or collection process.

Mediation works best if taxpayers prepare for success. Find out what to expect from the Independent Office of Appeals.

More information:

Source: IRS