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IRS Appeals Taking Twice as Long to Close Cases in 2021

IRS Appeals Taking Twice as Long to Close Cases in 2021

According to Law360, it took the Internal Revenue Service nearly twice as long to close out appeals cases in fiscal year 2021 compared with the agency's progress in fiscal year 2018, according to data an IRS official shared Friday.

The speed at which the agency closed nondocketed appeals cases languished to 372 days on average in 2021, according to statistics that Andy Keyso, head of the Independent Office of Appeals, shared at the American Bar Association Section of Taxation's May meeting, held in person in Washington, D.C., and online. That rate, the agency's so-called cycle time, was 194 days on average in fiscal year 2018 for nondocketed cases, or those not filed in Tax Court.

"I'm troubled by the increase in cycle time, but I'm not defeated by it," Keyso said at the conference. "I believe that it is reversible, and we will reverse it here as we get people back into the offices."

The Delay In Processing Appeals Cases Can Largely Be Attributed To Two Phenomena Outside The Agency's Control, There Was The 35-Day Government Shutdown That Ended In

January 2019 And The Coronavirus Pandemic That Rocked The Agency And The Country Beginning In March 2020. Keyso Said.

In a review of the data, it becomes clear that the delays are not the result of appeals officers taking longer to work cases, Keyso said, but instead are a result of a bottleneck in the system involving the cases' workflows.

"When you analyze the hours people are spending on their cases and the actions that are causing the delay, you can see how it really is that the delay is caused by the movement of the case and the difficulties there," he said.

The Workflow Bottleneck Should Be Alleviated When
Agency Employees Return To Their Workplaces En Masse,
Keyso Said. That Transition Should Be Completed By
The End Of June, According To Agency Officials.

Still, the delays have caused frustration for taxpayers and their representatives, Jennifer Breen, partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius said during the panel discussion, who noted that in her experience, it's taking the agency even longer than a year to close cases. For instance, the agency still hasn't resolved a series of protests that were filed in 2019, Breen said.

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Read more at: Tax Times blog

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