By Natalie Grumhaus

For the last few years, anyone can tell you how miserable and unnecessarily lengthy IRS audits can be. Even the IRS has acknowledged this and, in an effort to streamline processes and enhance the taxpayer experience, it is pioneering a new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program Management Office. With its aim to reduce the length and complexity of both audits and appeals, the ADR office promises a more efficient and amicable resolution path for taxpayers and the IRS alike. Let’s delve into how this initiative could herald a new era of smoother, swifter dispute resolution.

While the IRS has offered some ADR solutions in the past, their use has been intermittent and often as difficult and complicated as the traditional audit and appeals process. The new Office is “committed to providing taxpayers who wish to resolve their issues without litigation a choice of early resolution options, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Management Office will ensure taxpayers are aware of those options,” according to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, in a press release earlier this week.

The Office will offer multiple programs, including Fast Track Settlement, Fast Track Mediation, Rapid Appeals Process, and Post-Appeals Mediation. Several changes are being piloted in the new Office to speed up the audit process, especially changes being made to the Fast Track Settlement program, allowing taxpayers to utilize ADR while the audit is still under Exam jurisdiction and cut short the time spent in an audit. Post-Appeals Mediation will also be easier to access, which allows taxpayers to request a different mediator if the traditional appeals process fails to produce an acceptable settlement.

The new ADR Program Management Office will also offer education, clarify existing IRS guidance on ADR, and conduct outreach to taxpayers to familiarize them with the processes. As the IRS is still developing this office, it welcomes any questions or comments from taxpayers and tax professionals. These can be submitted directly to the ADR Program Management Office at