Posted by The TaxAdvocate Group, LLC

What Are My Rights as a Taxpayer When Dealing With the IRS?

What Are My Rights as a Taxpayer When Dealing With the IRS?

When it comes to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit or threat letters and accusations based on outstanding tax obligations, it's easy to feel helpless. What can you do when a federal agency is all out for you?

One of the best things about life in America and as an American is that the government recognizes that the citizens of this great country have certain rights that can never be taken away from them. Our Constitution describes these rights in the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TBOR), which are the first ten amendments to the Constitution. So no matter how serious your tax situation, no matter how much tax debt you have, and no matter how aggressive the IRS 'tactics are, when dealing with the IRS, remember you have rights!

Your strategies for solving your tax problems should start with this knowledge. In this article, we'll describe some of your main legal rights when dealing with the IRS.

As a taxpayer dealing with the IRS, you have:

  • Right to Finality: You have the right to know how long you have to challenge the IRS. You have the right to know how long it may take for the IRS to audit a particular fiscal year and when an audit is complete. In most cases, the IRS can audit income tax returns for the past three years. For more substantial errors, the IRS can go back up to 6 years. It would be best if you kept at least the last six years' income tax returns for your records.

  • The right not to pay more than the exact amount of taxes: You have the right to pay only what is legally due. You can make an appointment with a Tax Advisor to have a professional complete your tax return.

  • The right to a fair and equitable tax system: As a taxpayer, you have the right to expect the tax system to take into account all the facts and circumstances that may affect your ability to pay.

  • The right to be informed: You have the right to understand how to comply with tax laws. You have the right to get a clear explanation of the law. Whenever you receive a notification from the IRS, the agency must explain why they contacted you. If you have questions, call the number in the upper right corner of most notices.

  • The right to challenge an IRS ruling: You have the right to challenge most IRS rulings when you disagree. You also have the right to take your tax case to court.

  • The right to challenge the IRS and to be heard: You have the right to disagree with the IRS and send documents to support your position. You have the right to receive a prompt and correct response from the IRS. You will receive a response from the IRS within 30 days.

  • The right to confidentiality: You can expect that the information you provide will not be passed on to anyone without your permission or unless required by law. Your information can only be shared after signing an authorization form.

  • The right to privacy: You have the right to expect that the actions of the IRS will comply with the law and be as intrusive as necessary. The IRS will also respect any other rights you have.

  • The right to quality services: You are entitled to immediate and professional assistance in dealing with the IRS. The people you talk to should be respectful and help you understand the information they are providing. You have the right to complain about poor service. First, ask to speak to a supervisor.

  • The right to retain representation: You have the right to hire an attorney when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. Also, you have the right to know that you may be eligible for help from a low-income taxpayer clinic if you cannot afford a lawyer.

Don't expect your rights to be protected by the IRS.

While knowing your rights can help you with a review or collection process, you cannot rely on IRS agents to monitor and enforce your rights. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) is a relatively new concept and, to date, has not resulted in significant changes in the way the IRS works. Some tax authorities still engage in intimidation, threats, and harassment of taxpayers, no matter what the IRS says.

The best way to safeguard your rights, combat irrational behavior by IRS agents, and resolve your tax concerns is to work with a tax lawyer. A good tax attorney will not only know your rights but will use their legal education and experience to ensure that the IRS respects those rights at all times. Your attorney will also do the necessary work to resolve your tax issues, which means contacting the IRS, finding the best resolution for your specific situation, and negotiating to reduce your liability.



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