Over the years, Congress has passed three Taxpayer Rights Bills. However, according to the survey done by the National Taxpayer Advocate Office, the majority of US taxpayers are not aware that they have rights before the IRS.
On June 10, the IRS adopted a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” document incorporating it into Publication 1 that is included of the routine correspondence with taxpayers. In addition, the IRS will be adding a link to the bill from the homepage of the IRS.gov website and will add posters and signs to the IRS field offices for visitors to see.
These rights are nothing new – they can be found in the Tax Code; however one would need to read through various sections of the Code to find them. The updated version groups the rights into 10 broad provisions and makes them more visible, easier to find, and easily understand.
Here are the 10 provisions from the updated Tax Payer Bill of Rights:
- The Right to Be Informed
Taxpayers have the right to have a clear explanation of the tax laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, publications, instructions, notices and correspondence. They also have a right to be informed about IRS decisions in regard to their tax accounts and receive an explanation of any outcomes.
- The Right To Quality Service
Taxpayers have the right to prompt, courteous, and professional assistance when dealing with the IRS. They have the right to clear, easily understandable communications from the IRS and have the right to speak with a supervisor about inadequate service.
- The Right To Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
This is a very important one – taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax (penalties and interest included where applicable) to the IRS and apply all payments appropriately. So if you forgot to file and the IRS files a substitute for return on your behalf, you have the right to file an amended tax return and to have the IRS adjusted the amount of taxes due.
- The Right to Challenge the IRS’ Position and be Heard
Taxpayers have the right to challenge a decision made by the IRS and to provide additional documentation in response to the IRS actions and correspondence. They have a right to expect the IRS to examine the documentation fairly and in a timely manner and to receive a response from the IRS if the agency does not agree with them.
- The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
Taxpayers have the right to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions and actions (such as collection processes and penalties). Taxpayers have the right to receive a written response from the Office of Appeals and, should they disagree with the decision, taxpayers can take their cases to the Tax Court. You can read more the IRS appeal process here.
- The Right to Finality
Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum time period in which they are allowed to challenge the IRS as well as the maximum allowable time the IRS has to audit a tax year in question or to collect a tax debt. This is why it so important to not wait until the very last moment to appeal an IRS decision. Taxpayers also have the right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.
- The Right to Privacy
Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination or enforcement will be in compliance with the law and to be no more intrusive than necessary including such situations as search and seizure. Taxpayers have a right to a collections due process hearing, when applicable.
- The Right to Confidentiality
Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed without prior authorization by either taxpayer or the law. Taxpayers have the right to expect an appropriate action taken against the IRS employees, tax return preparers and others who wrongfully used or disclosed such information.
- The Right to Retain Representation
Taxpayers have a right to retain an authorized representative of their choice, such as a tax attorney or an Enrolled Agent, to represent them in front of the IRS. If taxpayers cannot afford representation, they have a right to seek help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic for eligible taxpayers.
- The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider the facts and circumstances that can affect their tax liability, ability to pay or provide information in a timely manner. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from Taxpayer Advocate Service if they experience financial difficulty or if the IRS fails to resolve their tax problems properly and timely through regular channels.
You can access and print the PDF version of Publication 1 here. Remember, as a taxpayer you have rights in front of the IRS, including the right to retain representation. With over a decade of experience successfully representing individual taxpayers and business clients, the licensed tax attorneys at US Tax Shield are highly knowledgeable when it comes to solving your tax problems.
Call us 877-829-3535 for your free consultation today or fill out the form on this page and one of our Senior Tax Consultants will contact you shortly.