What Rights do I Have as A Taxpayer when Working with the IRS?

As you gather W-2 forms, mortgage statements, and other materials to prepare your income tax return for 2014, there are certain rights afforded to every taxpayer by the IRS that you should know beforehand. The IRS formally adopted these rights, known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, in June 2014.

Following are those ten rights and a description of what each means.

The Right to Be Informed

Taxpayers have the right to be informed about tax laws and how they affect the individual taxpayer’s situation. The right to be informed includes:

  • understanding what the taxpayer needs to do to comply with tax laws, instructions, publications, and notices;
  • a clear description of how to properly complete tax forms; and
  • an explanation of rulings made by the IRS concerning the taxpayer’s accounts and what actions are required of the taxpayer.

The Right to Quality Service

Taxpayers have the right to receive fast and professional service when they are dealing with representatives of the IRS. IRS representatives must provide communications to taxpayers in a manner that can be readily understood. Taxpayers have the right to speak with a supervisor in the event they are dissatisfied with the service they have received.

The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax, interest, and penalties they legally owe.

The Right to Challenge the IRS’ Position and Be Heard

Taxpayers have the right to object to the position the IRS takes on a matter and provide additional documentation in support of the taxpayer’s position. The IRS must provide a response to the taxpayer concerning any additional documentation provided related to a challenge.

The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

Taxpayers have the right to have the IRS Office of Appeals resolve any disputes between the taxpayer and the IRS. Taxpayers also have the right to take any issue to court to seek a resolution.

The Right to Finality

Taxpayers have the right to know how long they have to dispute the position the IRS takes on a matter and how long the IRS can audit the taxpayer for a given tax year.

The Right to Privacy

Taxpayers have the right to have any action taken by the IRS to be as unintrusive as is possible, including inquiries, audits, and enforcement of penalties. All such actions must be performed by the IRS in accordance with the law.

The Right to Confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right to have any materials provided by them to the IRS to be held in confidence and not disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or mandated or permitted by law.

The Right to Retain Representation

Taxpayers have the right to engage a tax attorney or other tax professional to assist them in their dealings with the IRS.

The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider the circumstances of the taxpayer when determining the amount a taxpayer should pay and the timing of those payments.

Who can help me if I have questions about working with the IRS?

A tax attorney has the formal training and experience to perform tax work, including making sure you as a taxpayer are given all of the rights due to you.

You can contact a tax attorney by completing the form below or by calling the telephone number at the top of this web site. The first discussion with a tax attorney is free of charge and will give you in the information to determine if using a tax attorney is right for you.

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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.