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Taxpayer Rights

As U.S. citizens, when you interact with the IRS you have certain rights, even with asking a simple question about taxes. These rights are outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Below are the ten rights summarized with links to learn more:

  1. The Right to Be Informed: You have a right to know what is needed to comply with tax laws and procedures, and be notified about the IRS decisions on your tax accounts, and the outcomes of those decisions.
  2. The Right to Quality Service: You should expect prompt, courteous service when speaking with the IRS. You have a right to receive information in a clear and understandable fashion, and the ability to speak to a supervisor if you feel you have been inadequately served.
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax: Taxpayers only have to pay the amount of tax legally due including all interest and penalties. This also includes the knowledge that the IRS will apply all tax payments properly.
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard: You have the right to raise objections, provide additional documentation and expect the IRS to consider your objections and review documents in a timely manner. This also includes hearing back from the IRS if they disagree with your position.
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum: The IRS has a separate office called the IRS Office of Appeals. This office handles all cases seperate from the IRS that initially reviewed your case. This office typically will not discuss the case with the IRS so that the Appeals office keeps its independence.
  6. The Right to Finality: You have the right to know the maximum amount of time to challenge the IRS’s position and the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt. You also have the right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.
  7. The Right to Privacy: You have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, audit, or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary. You can also expect that the IRS will respect all due process rights including search and seizure protection.
  8. The Right to Confidentiality: Any information that you provide to the IRS will not be disclosed to outside parties, unless authorized by the taxpayer or law. Part of that right is knowing that the IRS will take appropriate action with anyone wrongfully uses or discloses taxpayer information.
  9. The Right to Retain Representation: You can retain an authorized representation of your choice to represent your dealings with the IRS. You do not have to attend with your representative unless the IRS asks you to.
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System: This right protects taxpayers from any unjust tax action. This can be the inability to seize all wages to collect unpaid tax, and the option to set up a payment plan if you are unable to pay your unpaid taxes all at once.

Sources: IRS, Taxpayer Advocate



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