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Tax Audits, Appeals & Litigation


Have you been contacted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Do you owe the IRS money? Are you under examination for any type of federal tax? If so, you likely need the services of an experienced tax attorney to help navigate these treacherous waters.

In an audit situation, it is best to be proactive and to not wait until the tax is assessed against you. Plunkett Cooney’s tax attorneys have the knowledge and ability to reduce the proposed liability or to possibly eliminate it outright.

To be clear, you are involved in an audit the moment you receive a notice of examination from the IRS. You may also be involved in an audit if you are just now receiving initial correspondences from the IRS.

Being in a potentially vulnerable audit situation is obviously serious business – one that involves potential civil and even criminal penalties! Preying on the fears created per tax audit are unscrupulous service providers promising fast and easy settlements for pennies on the dollar. These offers are dishonest and are made by people concerned more with collecting a fee than with curing tax problems.

Plunkett Cooney’s tax attorneys handle every engagement professionally, honestly and with the best interest of each client’s unique situation in mind.


Once the audit process is complete, taxpayers have the right to appeal the examiner’s or revenue agent’s determination. This process requires a written protest letter to transition into the jurisdiction of an appeals officer.

Such matters are extremely time-sensitive, so it is imperative to engage a tax attorney right away. Once a final determination from a revenue agent has been received, the recipient only has 30-days to file a protest with the IRS to go to “Appeals,” an independent body charged with considering the “hazards of litigation” in a particular case.

If a case has been lost at the examination level, there is still hope for a better outcome, because the appeals stage is actually where most cases are settled. Good appeals officers attempt to settle cases, and Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys have excellent working relationships with the IRS and its appeals officers.

Litigation in Tax Court

Sometimes cases simply cannot be settled between the IRS and the taxpayer. After a case goes to appeals, and in some cases before, the taxpayer has the right to sue in the United States Tax Court.

In this court, taxpayers need not pay the tax before filing a lawsuit. If a notice of deficiency has been received, it’s time to act. Taxpayers only have 90 days to file a petition with the court. If that deadline is missed, taxpayers can never go back to have the court review the underlying tax liability.

It takes an experienced tax attorney to file a petition and to litigate a case in the tax court. Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys work closely with the Office of Chief Counsel to try and settle cases to the benefit of their clients. However, if that process fails, they proceed to court in consultation with their clients.

Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys are highly effective at litigating cases but only do so when they are confident the facts are conducive and that the law applies favorably to their clients. Seeking the right result is always the goal.

Federal Court Litigation

In some cases, it makes sense to pay the tax first and then sue for a refund. This is done through the federal court system.

Filing suit against the IRS typically involves such issues as wrongful levies and wrongful liens; injunctions; Mandamus; declaratory actions; Bivens actions; probate proceedings; lien foreclosure by sales; interpleaders; quiet title actions; and attorney’s fees. Plunkett Cooney is well-versed in all these matters and more.

When a potential claim against the IRS arises, Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys take the time to walk their clients through the jurisdictional hurdles and to provide a thorough and honest assessment regarding the validity of all potential claims.

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