On June 24, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a memorandum (AP-08-0616-0003, available here) to the IRS Appeals Division (Appeals) providing new, uniform procedures for requesting assistance from the Examination Division (Exam) in docketed Tax Court cases. The guidance implements standard procedures that would treat petitioners similarly. Currently, when petitioners provide new information to Appeals that was not previously considered by Exam, Appeals requests Exam’s assistance based on local procedures, which sometimes result in disparate treatment of petitioners. The guidance is effective on August 29, 2016.

Under the new procedures, Appeals will send a request for Exam’s assistance if Appeals determines that the new information merits additional analysis or investigation. If Exam approves the request, an Exam Agent may recommend changes to the proposed adjustment, including an increase in tax, based upon the new information. Appeals, however, is not required to adhere to Exam’s recommendations. Where acceptance of the Exam Agent’s recommended changes results in a new issue or an increased deficiency, the IRS generally must bear the burden of proof on such changes from the notice of deficiency pursuant to Tax Court Rule 142. If Exam denies the request, Appeals will consider settlement offers based on all information in the case file, and the probative value of the new information.