The Taxpayer Bill of Rights
It is no surprise that the average US citizen has not read the federal tax code – it’s complex and over 70,000 pages long. In the same way, many people are unaware of available tax relief programs, with again just as many people unaware that a list of rights is in place to protect taxpayers.
Learning these rights can help you to better understand how the IRS operates, and in turn, how you can dispute and challenge their attacks on your finances. Below, you can read through the Taxpayer Bill of Rights acknowledged by the IRS; most of which is interpreted in a way that may be easier to understand. You can read the original Taxpayer Bill of Rights on the IRS website here.
Know Your Rights
1. The Right to be Informed
The IRS is legally obligated to be open and upfront with taxpayers in every form. All procedures, instructions, publications, notices, correspondence, and laws must be explained to the best of their ability so that you, as the taxpayer, can respond accordingly. You have the right to be informed of all IRS decisions about your tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
2. The Right to Quality Service
You have the right to be spoken to in a way that is clear, comprehensive, and respectful. The IRS is not exempt from providing quality service, no matter how much you owe. If you find yourself receiving unacceptable service, you have the right to speak with a supervisor.
3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
The IRS can only charge you what you legally owe, including interest and penalties.
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.
5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
You are entitled to a fair and impartial appeal of most IRS decisions, including penalties, and have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals’ decision. You can even take your case to court.
6. The Right to Finality
You have the right to know exactly how much time you have to challenge the IRS, as well as the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt. You are also entitled to be informed when the IRS has finished an audit.
7. 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, and will respect all due process rights, including search and seizure protections and will provide, where applicable, a collection due process hearing.
8. The Right to Confidentiality
Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees, return preparers, and others who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.
9. The Right to Retain Representation
You have the right to choose a professional to represent you in your dealings with the IRS, such as TaxRise. You have the right to seek assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic if you cannot afford representation.
10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information in a timely manner. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if the IRS has not resolved their tax issues properly and timely through its normal channels.
TaxRise vows to assist taxpayers in need to the best of our ability, honoring these rights.
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