By: Jason Schneider, CPA
Did you know that as a taxpayer you have rights? In an effort to smooth over the public's perception of the IRS after several scandals last season, the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" was recently released. It does not create any new rights, but rather it spells out the rights already in the tax code that taxpayers may or may not be familiar with. Your rights as a taxpayer are as follows:
The Right to Be Informed Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws including clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
The Right to Quality Service Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS, to be spoken to in a way they can easily understand, to receive clear and easily understandable communications from the IRS, and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.
The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.
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, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree.
The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions and have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals' decision.
The Right to Finality Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they have to challenge the IRS's position as well as the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt.
The Right to Privacy Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary.
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.
The Right to Retain Representation Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized
representative of their choice to represent 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 facts and circumstances of their case. 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.
The IRS can be an intimidating force to stand up to, but knowing that you have rights, should help bolster your position. Should you need any assistance dealing with the IRS, you should contact your tax professional.
Jason Schneider is a Certified Public Accountant with Osborne Rincon CPAs. He can be reached at (760) 777-9805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.