JK Harris Applauds IRS' Two New Appeals Programs

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JK Harris gives IRS thumbs up on its two new Appeals programs, which some say are long overdue.

Recently, the IRS announced a two year test of two programs: the post Appeals mediation and arbitration procedures for Offer in Compromise (OIC) and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP). According to Bill Wandel, Licensed Taxpayer Representative for JK Harris and Company, the nation's largest tax representation firm, the program is "long overdue."

"The announcement of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Appeals program is great news for taxpayers and is something I have lobbied hard for," said Wandel, an Enrolled Agent and CPA with JK Harris for seven years. "This program was established by legislation passed in Congress in 1998 and allows taxpayers the opportunity to be heard by higher level IRS employees or qualified independent mediators, thereby possibly avoiding costly litigation on either side."

These programs will allow taxpayers or the Office of Appeals to request non-binding mediation on many issues unresolved in Appeals. The Government will have the option of evaluating the taxpayer's request for mediation. The mediation process will be available for legal and factual issues.

The taxpayer and Appeals must jointly request binding arbitration. Arbitration can only be used for factual issues. The arbitrator will hear both sides of the dispute and render a decision based on the specific issue being arbitrated. The decision of the arbitrator will be binding and cannot be appealed or challenged in a judicial proceeding.

Beginning on December 1, 2008 and running for a two year test period, IRS Appeals will offer post -Appeals mediation and arbitration for OIC and TFRP cases for taxpayers who have appeals being considered at IRS offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville, KY, Phoenix, and San Francisco. During the two-year test, Appeals will have the option to expand the availability of the program to other locations. After the test, Appeals will evaluate the program to consider any necessary changes and adjustments and to determine if the arbitration process will become a permanent fixture.

"This program is long overdue," said Wandel. "I am pleased to see it being tested and it is my hope it will be implemented throughout all the Appeals offices as was originally intended by Congress."

About JK Harris:
JK Harris & Company, LLC, (http://www.jkharris.com) based in North Charleston, S.C., is the nation's largest tax representation firm and has served over 225,000 customers since its founding in 1997 by John K. Harris. JK Harris consultants are available to meet with consumers in over 325 locations nationwide by appointment only. The company also provides services for student loan debt, fee-based financial planning, tax return preparation, and audit representation.

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