On November 6, 2013, the IRS announced the nationwide rollout of its Fast Track Settlement (“FTS”) program, a streamlined program designed to help small businesses and self-employed individuals who are under examination by the IRS’ Small Business/Self Employed (“SB/SE”) Division more quickly settle their differences with the IRS. Prior to yesterday’s announcement, the FTS program was a pilot program whose availability was limited to certain jurisdictions.
The FTS program, now available nationwide, is structured to expedite SB/SE case settlement through alternative dispute resolution techniques. The techniques utilized by the program, as stated in the IRS’ Announcement 2011-5, “enable SB/SE taxpayers that currently have unagreed issues in at least one open year under examination to work together with SB/SE and the Office of Appeals to resolve outstanding issues while the case is still in SB/SE jurisdiction.” The program is designed to save taxpayers time and to avoid formal appeals and lengthy litigation processes.
Subject to certain exceptions listed in Announcement 2011-5, the FTS program is generally available for cases under the jurisdiction of the IRS’ SB/SE Division if: (1) the issue(s) in dispute are fully developed, (2) the taxpayer has submitted a written statement responding to the IRS’ position on the disputed issue(s) and (3) there are a limited number of issues in dispute. A taxpayer who is interested in participating in the FTS program, or who has questions about the program and its suitability for the taxpayer’s case, should contact the Examination or Specialty Program group manager for the audit. To apply for the FTS program, the taxpayer and the group manager must submit a Form 14017, Application for Fast Track Settlement to the Appeals Team Manager, along with the taxpayer’s written response to the IRS’ stated position on the disputed issue(s). More background on the program and the application process is provided in Announcement 2011-15 and on the IRS’ Alternative Dispute Resolution webpage.