The United States Tax Court in Mohammad A. Kazmi v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo 2022-13 filed March 1, 2022, ruled in favor of the IRS that a properly served and received Letter 1153 constitutes a prior opportunity to challenge the underlying liability and therefore a failure to appeal it prohibits the same challenge at a Collection Due Process hearing (CDP hearing). The taxpayer was issued a Letter 1153, Proposed Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, after interview by a Revenue Officer in his capacity as part-time hourly bookkeeper for his employer who had failed to pay over employment taxes. A taxpayer has 60 days to challenge a Letter 1153 by submitting a written appeal. Taxpayer did not make any effort to appeal and as such the IRS assessed him with the penalty. After issuance of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, taxpayer filed a timely CDP request and attempted to argue that he should not be held liable for the trust fund recovery penalty. The settlement officer determined the taxpayer was prohibited from challenging the underlying liability in the CDP hearing. Taxpayer argued that a Letter 1153 does not constitute a prior opportunity to address the liability because there is no ability to seek judicial review before the Tax Court if appeals would deny the requested relief. The Court agreed that it is correct there is no opportunity to seek Tax Court relief in this instance, but under the law, the taxpayer could get judicial review by paying the tax and seeking review in the Federal District Court. As such, this does constitute a prior opportunity to seek judicial review. Lesson – always seek Appeal review after issuance of Letter 1153 if there are arguments to be made for relief from assessment.