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Getting to know the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

December 14, 2017

 

James Madison and the Continental Congress ratified the US Bill of rights on December 15, 1791. Now, 226 years later, the IRS has come up with a Taxpayer Bill of Rights to make sure all tax payers know what they can excpect when interacting with the IRS.

 

The Right to Be Informed. Taxpayers have the right to know how to comply with tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures. Taxpayers have the right to know about IRS decisions affecting their accounts with clear explanations of the outcomes.

 

The Right to Quality Service. Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous and professional assistance when dealing with the IRS. They also have the right to speak with a supervisor about inadequate service. Communications from the IRS should be clear and easy to understand.

 

The Right to Pay No More Than the Correct Amount of Tax. Taxpayers must pay only the amount of tax legally due. This includes interest and penalties. The IRS must apply all tax payments properly.

 

The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard. Taxpayers have the right to object to formal IRS actions or proposed actions. They can also provide justification with additional documentation. Taxpayers can expect the IRS to consider timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly. Taxpayers can expect a response when the IRS disagrees with the taxpayer’s position.

 

The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum. Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial appeal of most IRS decisions. This includes appealing certain penalties. Taxpayers have the right to receive a written response regarding a decision from the IRS. Taxpayers generally have the right to take their case to court.

 

The Right to Finality. Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time allowed to challenge an IRS position. They also have the right to know the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt. Taxpayers have the right to know when the IRS concludes an audit.

 

The Right to Privacy. Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary. During these proceedings, the IRS will respect all due process rights, including search and seizure protections. When applicable, the IRS will provide a collection due process hearing.

 

The Right to Confidentiality. Taxpayers have the right to expect that their tax information will remain confidential. The IRS will not disclose information unless authorized by the taxpayers or by law. Taxpayers should expect the IRS to take appropriate action against employees, return preparers and others who wrongfully disclose return information.

 

The Right to Retain Representation. Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice for representation during dealings with the IRS. When a taxpayer cannot afford representation, they may seek assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.

 

The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System. Taxpayers have the right to expect fairness from the tax system. The IRS must consider all facts and circumstances that might affect any liabilities, the ability to pay or the ability to provide information timely. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. TAS can help taxpayers who are experiencing financial difficulty. They can also help when the IRS has not resolved tax issues properly and timely through normal channels.