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The Taxpayer Bill of Rights

 

On June 10, 2014, the IRS implemented the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. In an effort to make it easier for taxpayers to understand and access their rights when dealing with the IRS, this Taxpayer Bill of Rights arranges the numerous existing rights established in the Internal Revenue Code into ten basic rights. These rights include:

  1. The right to be informed – This gives taxpayers the right to be aware of and understand what is required of them to comply with the tax laws. This right also entitles taxpayers to be notified of any determinations the IRS has made regarding their tax accounts and how those determinations were made.
  2. The right to quality service – This right entitles taxpayers to be treated in a timely, polite, and professional manner when dealing with the IRS. Furthermore, it allows taxpayers to speak with supervisors if they have experienced incompetent service.
  3. The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax – Taxpayers must pay only the amount of tax legally due, which may or may not include interest and penalties.
  4. The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard – When the IRS initiates actions against taxpayers, this right entitles taxpayers to object and present further documentation in support of their positions; expect that their objections will be taken into account swiftly and impartially; and to be informed of the IRS’s decision and its underlying reasons.
  5. The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum – Taxpayers have the right to an unbiased appeal of most IRS decisions, including several penalties, and to be informed of the Office of Appeals’ decision.
  6. The right to finality – This right entitles taxpayers to know the time frames regarding how much time they have to dispute the IRS’s decisions as well as how much time the IRS has to audit a specific tax year or collect a tax debt. This right also includes informing the taxpayer when an audit has been completed by the IRS.
  7. The right to privacy – When conducting an inquiry, examination, or any other enforcement action against a taxpayer, the IRS must comply with the law and conduct itself in a way that is no more intrusive than necessary. In addition, it must ensure that it does not violate any of the taxpayer’s due process rights.
  8. The right confidentiality – The IRS may not reveal any information provided by taxpayers unless permitted by law or the taxpayers themselves. This right also allows taxpayers to expect that action will be taken against those employees who violate this right.
  9. The right to retain representation – Taxpayers have the right to employ a permitted representative when dealing with the IRS. If they cannot afford one, taxpayers have the right to seek help from a low income taxpayer clinic.
  10. The right to a fair and just tax system – This right permits taxpayers to expect that the facts and circumstances surrounding their liabilities, abilities to pay, or abilities to supply information in a timely manner will be taken into account by the tax system. This right also entitles taxpayers to obtain help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulties.

Initially, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was only released in English and Spanish. However, in August, to reach as many taxpayers as possible, the IRS published it in four additional languages: Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has also been included in IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, which is sent to countless taxpayers across the nation with various IRS notices. Only time will tell whether or not this new Taxpayer Bill of Rights will fulfill the IRS’s mission, which is to “Provide America’s taxpayer’s top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.”

 






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