What Are My Rights as a Taxpayer?
If the IRS has mishandled your tax situation or wrongly assessed additional taxes and penalties, the experienced tax attorneys at Wiggam & Geer can represent you and ensure you are justly treated according to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
As a taxpayer your role is to understand and meet your tax obligations. Those obligations involve timely filing of returns, following tax code, and paying your taxes. Failure to do so could result in fines, penalties, and interest charges. As a result, it might feel like you have a one-sided relationship with the IRS – all responsibility with no upside for you. But did you know that you have taxpayer rights?
What Is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights?
In 2015, Congress enacted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights as part of the Internal Revenue Code. Its purpose is to ensure that every taxpayer has 10 fundamental rights when dealing with the IRS, including challenging the IRS’s position and being represented by an attorney. The rights apply to all taxpayers, regardless of their income level.
What Are My Taxpayer Rights?
When dealing with the IRS, it’s important to know your taxpayer rights. These are:
- The right to be informed. You have a right to clear explanations of the tax laws and procedures in forms, instructions, publications, notices, and IRS correspondence. You also have the right to any IRS decisions about your account as well as a clear explanation of any outcomes.
- The right to quality service. In addition to prompt, courteous, and professional assistance, taxpayers also have the rights to speak to a supervisor and to receive clear and understandable communication from the IRS.
- The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. It’s your right to pay only your legally due taxes, including penalties and interest, and to have the IRS promptly apply all payments.
- The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard. As a US taxpayer, you have both the right to object to IRS actions and to provide additional documentation. The IRS is to consider both promptly and fairly. You also have the right to a response from the IRS when it disagrees.
- The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. You have the right to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including penalties, as well as the right to a written response regarding any appeal. In many cases, you also have the right to take your case to court. As part of this right, the IRS Commissioner must ensure there is always an Appeals Office that is independent of and separate from the IRS.
- The right to finality. Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a return or collect a tax debt, as well as to know how long they have to challenge an IRS position. The IRS is to notify taxpayers when it has finished an audit.
- The right to privacy. In the case of an IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action, you have the right to expect the IRS will be no more intrusive than necessary and will follow the law. The IRS is to respect all due process rights, including search and seizure, and provide a collection due process hearing where applicable.
- The right to confidentiality. All taxpayers have the right for their information to remain confidential unless authorized by the taxpayer or otherwise required by law. Any IRS employee, return preparer, or other who wrongfully uses a taxpayer’s information will have appropriate action taken against them.
- The right to retain representation. All taxpayers have the right to retain a representative of their choice in dealings with the IRS. If they cannot afford representation, they have the right to assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.
- The right to a fair and just tax system. The IRS is to consider all facts and circumstances. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayers Advocate Service if they are having financial difficulties.
In addition to the rights given to them by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers also have civil rights when dealing with the IRS. Taxpayers are protected from discrimination related to age, color, disability, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and status as a parent.
If you have been unfairly treated by the IRS or feel that your taxpayer rights have been violated, speak with an experienced tax attorney about your options. At Wiggam & Geer, our team of experienced tax lawyers can help you evaluate your choices and represent you. Give us a call today at (404) 609-1300 to get started.
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