The IRS Appeals Office

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Jason B. Freeman

Jason B. Freeman

Managing Member


Mr. Freeman is the founding member of Freeman Law, PLLC. He is a dual-credentialed attorney-CPA, author, law professor, and trial attorney.

Mr. Freeman has been named by Chambers & Partners as among the leading tax and litigation attorneys in the United States and to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers in America list. He is a former recipient of the American Bar Association’s “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers” in America award. Mr. Freeman was named the “Leading Tax Controversy Litigation Attorney of the Year” for the State of Texas for 2019 and 2020 by AI.

Mr. Freeman has been recognized multiple times by D Magazine, a D Magazine Partner service, as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas, and as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. He has previously been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Top 100 Up-And-Coming Attorney in Texas.

Mr. Freeman currently serves as the chairman of the Texas Society of CPAs (TXCPA). He is a former chairman of the Dallas Society of CPAs (TXCPA-Dallas). Mr. Freeman also served multiple terms as the President of the North Texas chapter of the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs. He has been previously recognized as the Young CPA of the Year in the State of Texas (an award given to only one CPA in the state of Texas under 40).

The IRS Independent Office of Appeals (“IRS Appeals”) was established to provide an “independent” IRS function that is separate and independent from the IRS’s compliance functions that maintain responsibility for collecting and assessing taxes.  By statute, its function is to resolve tax controversies without litigation on a basis that: (1) is fair and impartial to both the IRS and the taxpayer; (2) promotes a consistent application and interpretation of, and voluntary compliance with, federal tax laws; and (3) enhances public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of IRS.

IRS Appeals has been around—by one name or another—for almost a century.   Section 1001 of the 2019 Taxpayer First Act renamed the IRS Office of Appeals to the IRS Independent Office of Appeals.  But most of its operations remained the same.

IRS Appeals plays an important role in the IRS’s overall structure.  Indeed, it resolves more than 100,000 tax cases every year.  Perhaps the two most common avenues for such resolutions are Collection Due Process Hearings and appeals pursuant to the Collection Appeals Program.

The Origins of the Current IRS Appeals

The IRS appeals function traces back to the 1920s, when it was technically an offshoot of the predecessor to the Tax Court.  Over time, it took on new organizational structures — taking on the monikers of the Technical Staff and Appellate Division, and even becoming a division of Counsel — but always played a pivotal role addressing tax disputes in the “gray.”

The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105–206, 112 Stat. 685 (RRA), required that the Commissioner develop and implement a plan to reorganize the IRS. The RRA specifically directed the Commissioner to “ensure an independent appeals function within the Internal Revenue Service, including the prohibition . . . of ex parte communications between appeals officers and other Internal Revenue Service employees to the extent that such communications appear to compromise the independence of the appeals officers.”

Prohibition on Ex parte Communications

Appeals fosters its independence through a policy that prohibits certain ex parte communications with the IRS Collection office or other IRS offices.   Independence is one of Appeals’ most important core values; the RRA therefore prohibits ex parte communications “to the extent that such communications appear to compromise the independence of the appeals officers.”

An “ex parte communication” is a communication that takes place between any Appeals employee (e.g., Appeals Officers, Settlement Officers, Appeals Team Case Leaders, Appeals Tax Computation Specialists) and employees of other IRS functions without the taxpayer/representative being given an opportunity to participate in the communication. The term includes all forms of communication, oral or written.

Collection Due Process Hearings

Collection Due Process (CDP) hearings are among the most common proceedings in IRS appeals.  A CDP hearing is available where a taxpayer receives one of the following notices:

By law, a taxpayer has the right to a CDP hearing when they receive a notice advising of this right and they timely file a request for a hearing to the address indicated on the Notice. Taxpayers are, however, limited to one hearing under section 6320 (Notice and opportunity for hearing upon filing of notice of lien) and 6330 (Notice and opportunity for hearing before levy) for each tax assessment within a tax period.

CDP determinations may be challenged in the United States Tax Court.

Taxpayers who do not satisfy the 30-day time period to file a timely CDP hearing request may nonetheless be entitled to an “equivalent” hearing.


The Collection Appeals Program (“CAP”)

A taxpayer who disagrees with a lien, levy, seizure or a denial, modification or termination of an installment agreement may be entitled to a so-called “CAP” appeal with IRS Appeals.

The Collection Appeals Program (CAP) is available for the following IRS actions:

A CAP appeal is typically quicker, resulting in a faster Appeals decision, and is available for a broader range of collection actions than a CDP hearing. However, a CAP appeal does not provide the right to challenge the outcome in court.

Types of IRS Appeals Cases

IRS Appeals handles a variety of cases.  The primary categories are listed below:


Taxpayers and professionals preparing for hearings before IRS Appeals may find the following resources useful: