Bryan C. Skarlatos quoted in Law360 Tax Authority article entitled "Tax Pros Fear IRS Appeals Cases May Suffer During Pandemic." The article notes that IRS Appeals cases may be impacted by the inability of Appeals employees to hold face-to-face meetings during the coronavirus pandemic, among other constraints on the office.
Excerpts from the article are below:
While all tax attorneys face challenges representing clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, tax practitioners fear that IRS Appeals cases face particular setbacks due to a lack of face-to-face meetings with Appeals employees and the office's resource constraints.
Successfully working cases before the Internal Revenue Service's Independent Office of Appeals depends particularly on the relationship between the tax practitioner and Appeals officers. That rapport can be difficult to maintain when all meetings are conducted over the phone or via teleconference while IRS employees are under a work-at-home order.
And although the appeals division historically has run one of the agency's most popular and successful programs, its officers have already had to contend with large case backlogs. This, combined with the fact that officers lack the direction to turn petitions away, has placed the unit under considerably more strain.
With the pandemic shuttering offices across the country and forcing IRS employees and private attorneys alike to recalibrate how they operate, some lawyers fear they won't get the same quality attention they're accustomed to receiving from the division.
“My concern is, is that as we move into this new situation with the virus and there's an emphasis on trying to keep moving cases without having any in-person meetings” that cases won't get the attention they deserve, Bryan Skarlatos, partner at Kostelanetz & Fink LLP, told Law360.