IRS Collection Fast Track Mediation

Mediation is an informal dispute resolution process.  The IRS offers several mediation programs to help taxpayers resolve many disputes, including audits, and collection matters.  The IRS will designate an Appeals Officer trained in mediation to serve as an impartial third party to foster communication and negotiation between the parties.  

The mediator assists with identifying issues and potential obstacles to settlement and developing resolution strategies.  The mediator doesn't render final decisions or force either party to accept a settlement.  The mediator, however, may suggest settlement proposals.  Taxpayers retain control over every decision made the the process.  A decision cannot be imposed on either you or the IRS by the mediator.  

The purpose of the mediation is to resolve disputes in the early stages of the collection process and within 40 days after the mediation application is accepted by the IRS.  In order to be accepted into the process, taxpayers must make a good faith effort to resolve matters with the IRS collection officer followed by a conference with the officer's manager.  Acceptance into the mediation process does not mean that taxpayers can't pursue other options if mediation doesn't resolve their case.  

Bear in mind that certain issues will not be eligible for the mediation process.  Issues that the IRS will submit to mediation include: a) value of assets; b) deviation from national expense standards; c) projections of income; d) living expenses; e) other factual questions.  In order to apply for mediation, taxpayers should send their IRS officer Form 13369, Agreement to Mediate along with a written statement detailing your position on the issues.  

Mediation will only work if both parties come to an agreement.  The mediator will facilitate communication and work towards a resolution.  If an agreement is reached, then the IRS Collections division will close the case.  If an agreement is not reached, then the taxpayer retains his right to request a hearing before IRS Appeals.