The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel has embarked on its “most far-reaching” Settlement Days program to date, declaring the month of March 2021 as National Settlement Month.
The “ambitious” program builds upon the success of last year’s settlement day events, when Chief Counsel shifted the program to a virtual format due to the pandemic.
Since then, Chief Counsel and LITCs have used Virtual Settlement Day (VSD) events to help more than 259 taxpayers resolve Tax Court cases without having to go to trial. This saves taxpayers and the government time and money, according to the IRS.
This year, (VSD) events will be conducted by every Chief Counsel office across the country and will serve taxpayers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Settlement Days events are coordinated efforts to resolve cases in the United States Tax Court by providing taxpayers who are not represented by counsel with the opportunity to receive free tax advice from Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), American Bar Association (ABA) volunteer attorneys and other pro bono organizations.
If settlement is reached, IRS Collection personnel will be available to discuss potential payment alternatives. For those who choose to take their cases to court, the VSD process can also help by giving taxpayers a better understanding of what information they need to present to the court to be successful.
Taxpayers can also discuss their Tax Court cases and related tax issues with members of the Office of Chief Counsel, the IRS Independent Office of Appeals and IRS Collection representatives.
IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said: “Virtual Settlement Day events enable the IRS to deliver meaningful resolution options to taxpayers as the nation works through the pandemic. Virtual options are an addition to traditional methods of communication and interaction with taxpayers that the IRS will always make available under normal circumstances.
“I strongly encourage all taxpayers who have the ability to participate in a settlement day event to do so because they will understand their own case better while not giving up their day in court if they so choose.”
This year’s VSD program includes several locations where these events have never been offered before, including: Albuquerque, Billings, Buffalo, Cheyenne, Cleveland, Denver, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Milwaukee, Nashville, Peoria, Omaha, Reno, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose.
Chief Counsel has also partnered with LITCs and the ABA to ensure there will be volunteers available to assist taxpayers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.