IRS Publication 1: Your Rights as a Taxpayer

The IRS makes available on their website to all taxpayers a series of various publications about federal income tax.  One of the lesser known but numerically first publication is IRS Publication 1: Your Rights as a Taxpayer.

IRS Publication 1 outlines the various rights given to each taxpayer by the IRS.  This article provides a summary of those rights.

Mission Statement

IRS Publication 1 includes the mission statement of the IRS.  That missions statement reads as follows:

Provide America’s taxpayers tax quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.

Taxpayers are often surprised to see this mission statement, because the Internal Revenue Code is often viewed as confusing.  However, the IRS legitimately wants taxpayers to understand the tax law and how it applies to them to help ensure the IRS receives the federal income tax due from each individual.

Taxpayer Rights

Following are the specific taxpayer rights noted in IRS Publication I.

I.  Protection of Your Rights

The IRS is responsible for informing each taxpayer they work with of their rights and ensuring the taxpayer understands and perhaps more importantly receives those rights fully.

II. Privacy and Confidentiality

The IRS is responsible for protecting any information a taxpayer provides to them and can only share that information with others as allowed by law.  When the IRS ask for any information from a taxpayer, the IRS is responsible for telling the taxpayer why they need the information, what they are using the information for, and what will happen if the taxpayer does not provide the information.

III. Professional and Courteous Service

Representatives of the IRS must treat every taxpayer in a fair and courteous manner.  In the event taxpayers believe a IRS representative has treated them unfairly or in a manner that is not fair and courteous, the taxpayer should information the IRS representative’s supervisor.

IV. Representative

When speaking or meeting with the IRS, taxpayers may have an authorized representative accompany them in such discussions.  Such representatives can include a taxpayer’s tax attorney.

V. Payment of Only the Correct Amount of Tax

A taxpayer only has to pay the income tax owed as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.  When a taxpayer cannot afford to pay the amount of income tax owed, the taxpayer can work with the IRS on an installment agreement or possibly an offer in compromise.

VI. Help with Unresolved Tax Problems

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is available to assist taxpayers when they do not believe they have received fair treatment or representation of their rights from the IRS.

VII. Appeals and Judicial Review

In the event a taxpayer does not believe the IRS is seeking the appropriate amount of income based on the Internal Revenue Code, the taxpayer may ask the Appeals Office or a court of law to review the case.

VIII. Relief From Certain Penalties and Interest

If the IRS has assessed penalties or interest against a taxpayer as a result of incorrect guidance given to the taxpayer by an IRS representative or a delay caused by an IRS representative, the IRS should waive such penalties and interest.


If you need help with your federal income taxes or have questions about a letter you have received from the IRS, you can get help by speaking with tax attorney.  You can speak with a tax attorney by completing the form on this web site or by calling the phone number located at the top of this page.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.