The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revised the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) regarding Appeals Conferences. Below is a summary of material changes to IRM 8.6.1, effective October 1, 2016:

  • The IRM was revised to reflect that most conferences in Appeals will be conducted by telephone. The revision also provides guidance for when in-person conferences are appropriate (e.g., when there are substantial books and records to review that cannot be easily referenced with page numbers or indices, or when there are numerous conference participants that create a risk of an unauthorized disclosure or breach of confidentiality).
  • IRM, In-Person Conferences: Circuit Riding was added. If the assigned Appeals employee is in a post of duty that conducts circuit riding, circuit riding will be permitted when the address of the taxpayer, representative or business (for business entities) is more than 100 miles from a customer-facing virtual conference site or 150 miles from the nearest Appeals Office. Area Directors have the discretion to deviate from these mileage limitations. Circuit riding will also be allowed if the nearest Appeals Office cannot take the case due to high inventories or lack of technical expertise, or if there is no convenient alternative.
  • Language was added in IRM to state that Appeals has the discretion to invite Counsel and/or Compliance to the conference. The IRM notes that the prohibition against ex parte communications must not be violated and references Rev. Proc. 2012-18.
  • The definition of a new issue was updated in IRM The IRM retains prior language stating that a new issue is a matter not raised during Compliance’s consideration and adds that any issue not raised by Compliance in the report (e.g., 30-Day Letter) or rebuttal and disputed by the taxpayer is a new issue.

The revised IRM 8.6.1 is available here.