The phrase “No Taxation Without Representation!” was coined by Reverend Jonathan Mayhew in a sermon give in Boston, Massachusetts in 1750. By 1765, the term “no taxation without representation” was in use in Boston, but no one is sure who first used it. Boston politician James Otis was most famously associated with the phrase, “taxation without representation is tyranny.” The phrase eventually became a rallying cry for the British colonists who eventually rebelled against the British Crown to gain independence during the American Revolutionary War. As Americans today, we owe the justice minded spirit of the Bostonians great homage for their willingness to speak freely their minds. Certainly taxation without representation was not for the Bostonians back then, and certainly it is not for the Bostonians today. Therefore, it does not surprise me that they have protected their right to representation throughout the years.
Being the most populous city in Massachusetts, Boston surely influenced the state legislature when it wrote the Massachusetts Taxpayer Bill of Rights. One of the tenets within the Taxpayer Bill of Rights publicly displayed on the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website plainly states, “you may obtain representation at any point in your dealings with the Department.” To some, this statement may seem insignificant or automatically taken for granted, but there are many places around the world that do not enjoy that type of freedom, let alone right. Please notice that in the statement it says you may obtain representation “at any point.” I do a lot of legal research, have been researching all the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and Massachusetts is the only one I remember that includes the phrase. Many states leave out your right to representation, say only that you have the right to be represented, remind you of your right to represent yourself, but only Massachusetts thought it important enough to remind the taxpayer you have a right to be represented “at any point.”
There are many states that do not have a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Thank goodness our federal government hasn’t forgotten our history so fast. They passed their own Taxpayer Bill of Rights and is posted on the Internal Revenue Service website. It states you, as a United States taxpayer, have the right to:
- be treated professionally, fairly, promptly, and courteously by IRS employees and Private Collection Agencies contacting you on behalf of the IRS;
- disagree with your tax bill;
- meet with an IRS manager if you disagree with the IRS employee who handled your tax case;
- appeal most IRS collection actions;
- have your case transferred to a different IRS office if you have a valid reason;
- be represented by someone when dealing with IRS matters;
- and receive a receipt for any payments you make.
Yes, you have a right to be represented by someone when dealing with IRS matters. By the way, it is also your Constitutional right. It is covered under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and is a part of your Constitutional Bill of Rights. Of course, the right to counsel in the Sixth Amendment is talking about criminal cases, but sometimes dealing with tax matters has led to these type cases.
I do personally believe with all my heart that taxation without representation is tyranny. The good news is that you have the right to representation. The bad news is at any point, not all things will go right for every taxpayer. You can be facing an audit, levy, seizure, foreclosure, or incarceration, and if this is so, it is a good idea that you exercise your right to have representation by getting in touch with a tax attorney. If you live in or around the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Worcester, or Boston in Massachusetts, and you have been faced with a taxing dilemma, contact us today. We will get you in touch with a tax professional in your area who will be able to help you answer all the questions you may have about tax law.