The Fast Track Settlement process is a program recently made available to self-employed individuals and small businesses. This program allows qualified taxpayers to quickly settle their debt after an IRS audit through alternative dispute resolution methods. By electing to participate in Fast Track Settlement, a taxpayer loses none of his or her rights and may still elect to proceed to an appeal if the settlement measures are unsuccessful. The advantage to Fast Track Settlement is that is allows a fast and cost-effective way for taxpayers to settle cases, while still retaining control and flexibility over the process.
Who Qualifies for Fast Track Settlement?
Fast Track Settlement is available to taxpayers who are being investigated by the Small Business/Self-Employed Division of the IRS. Taxpayers who have no specific IRS auditor assigned to their case, such as those who are involved in a correspondence audit, are not eligible to participate in the Fast Track Settlement program.
In order to participate in Fast Track Settlement, you must first try to resolve your case with the IRS using other methods. For example, you must first cooperate with your IRS auditor and have a conference with your auditor’s management before proceeding to apply for Fast Track Settlement.
How does Fast Track Settlement Proceed?
Under Fast Track Settlement, audited taxpayers who have disputed issues with the IRS can work directly with IRS representatives from Small Business/Self-Employment’s Examination Division and Appeals to resolve those issues. Typically, a mediator from the IRS Office of Appeals is assigned to the case. In these cases, the tax appeals representative typically serves as a mediator between the IRS and the taxpayer.
Throughout the Fast Track Settlement process, the Appeals officer will attempt to broker a settlement between the taxpayer and the IRS. Because this mediator is a member of the IRS Office of Appeals, he or she may use the settlement authority of that office to settle the dispute. No matter what solution is proposed by the Appeals officer, the taxpayer has the right to accept or reject the possible settlement.
How Fast Can a Case Be Settled Using Fast Track Settlement?
When using Fast Track Settlement, cases can be settled in as little as 60 days. The process can be begun by the IRS representative or the taxpayer and this can usually occur even before the 30-day letter is issued to the taxpayer. Using traditional dispute resolution methods of appeal and litigation, the process can take much longer. For this reason, Fast Track Settlement may be a very good option for taxpayers who wish to resolve their disagreements with the IRS in a more timely fashion. The IRS states that once a taxpayer’s application for Fast Track Settlement is accepted, the goal is to have the dispute resolved within 60 days.
Do I Need A Tax Attorney For Negotiating A Fast Track Settlement?
This is a legal negotiation with a variety of possible outcomes that will result in a financial debt on your part. Just as it is not likely that you would show up to court and try to negotiate the lowest possible sentence with the judge, you probably should not attempt to negotiate with the IRS yourself if you wish to receive the most favorable outcome. An experienced tax attorney can save you significant time, money and effort and is much more likely to get the best deal possible than if you show up to the negotiation, representing yourself, unfamiliar with the rules of the game. However, as with any legal matters, it is wise to first seek counsel that considers the facts of your specific case before any credible recommendation can be given.
The Tax Lawyer - William D Hartsock has been successfully helping clients negotiate with the IRS since the early 1980's. Mr. Hartsock offers free consultations with the full benefit and protections of attorney client privilege to help people clearly understand their situation and options based on the circumstances of their case. To schedule your free consultation simply fill out the contact form found on this page, or call (858)481-4844.