Most people think that they are at the mercy of the IRS. They think they have no rights whatsoever – but they are wrong. Taxpayers have always had certain rights in dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, and recently these rights were formalized and codified. As IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted, these rights existed for a long time in the tax code but it was never clear to most people what they were until now.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights breaks down your rights into 10 easy-to-understand pieces. Let’s look at a summary of the 10 rights.
The Right to Be Informed
You have the right to know what you need to do to comply with tax laws. This means you are entitled to clear explanations of laws, procedures, instructions, publications and notices. You are also entitled to clear information about decisions regarding your personal case.
The Right to Quality Service
You have the right to professional service, including straightforward and courteous dealings with the IRS. You also are entitled to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.
The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
You only need to pay the actual amount you owe and never more than that amount. Furthermore, any and all payments are to be properly applied against the appropriate accounts or tax liabilities.
The Right to Challenge the IRS’ Position and Be Heard
You have the right to object to the IRS’ position and provide documentation in your defense. This means you are entitled to a timely consideration of your objections and to receive a detailed response if the IRS does not agree with your defense.
The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
You have the right to a fair and impartial appeal process, including the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals’ decision.
The Right to Finality
You have the right to know the amount of time the IRS has to audit a tax year, collect a tax debt, and when the IRS has finished an audit.
The Right to Privacy
You have the right to expect that any IRS examination or inquiry will not be unnecessarily intrusive. You are entitled to a collection due process hearing before search and seizure of your property.
The Right to Confidentiality
Any information provided to the IRS will not be disclosed unless you authorize such disclosure. You can expect action to be taken against anyone who inappropriately uses or discloses your information.
The Right to Retain Representation
You can retain a representative of your choice to represent you in dealing with the IRS.
The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
You can expect the tax system to fairly consider the facts and circumstances of your case. In cases of financial difficulty, taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights will hopefully prove to be a step in the right direction of a more fair, efficient and transparent tax system for all taxpayers.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the information in this article.
James Diapoules and Marvin Feinstein