The Internal Revenue Service expanded nationwide on Wednesday the rollout of its streamlined Fast Track Settlement program, which aims to help small businesses under audit settle their differences with the IRS over their tax debts more quickly.

The Fast Track Settlement program is designed to help small businesses and self-employed individuals who are under examination by the Small Business/Self Employed Division of the IRS. Modeled after a similar program that has long been available to large and midsize businesses with more than $10 million in assets, the FTS program uses alternative dispute resolution techniques to help taxpayers save time and avoid a formal administrative appeal or lengthy litigation. As a result, audit issues can usually be resolved within 60 days, rather than months or years, according to the IRS. In addition, taxpayers who choose the FTS option lose none of their rights because they still have the right to appeal even if the FTS process is unsuccessful.

Jointly administered by Small Business/Self-Employed Division and the IRS Appeals office, FTS is designed to expedite case resolution. Under FTS, taxpayers under examination with issues in dispute work directly with IRS representatives from SB/SE’s Examination Division and Appeals to resolve those issues, with the Appeals representative typically serving as mediator.

The taxpayer or the IRS examination representative may initiate Fast Track for eligible cases, usually before a 30-day letter is issued. The goal is to complete cases within 60 days of acceptance of the application in Appeals.

SB/SE originally launched FTS as a pilot program in September 2006 and expanded it in December 2007. For more information on taking advantage of the Fast Track Settlement program, see the Alternative Dispute Resolution page on and IRS Announcement 2011-05.

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