The U.S. Bill of Rights started with 10 amendments to the Constitution. Over the years, this number has increased as times have changed. The Taxpayers Bill of Rights similarly has 10 general categories.
Whenever dealing with the IRS these rights become important. As tax season kicks into full swing, it is as good a time as any to review how the Taxpayers Bill of Rights works.
The first right is to be informed of what is happening in an understandable way. You must receive notice of a tax assessment before any other collection efforts move forward.
All initial correspondence from the agency is in writing and delivered via the US postal service. Ensue an up-to-date address is on file with the post office to receive these notices. Question anyone who calls claiming to be from the IRS, these are often scammers.
You have the right to receive courteous, prompt and professional help. This one may still need some work as budgetary constraints continue to undermine agency attempts to answer each call it receives.
No more than the correct amount owed
Transposing numbers may mean an initial tax amount is not correct. You have the right to pay no more than the correct amount. The IRS has the duty to return any extra amount collected in error when the discrepancy is in your favor.
Challenge the IRS position
This one may not be as easy as it sounds. You have the right to object to IRS assessments or other actions. The how and when to file an appeal must be followed carefully though or you could give up this right.
An independent Forum
Access to a fair, impartial administrative appeal is another right. You may even want to take a case to tax court in some instances.
This is only the first half of the list of rights. We will cover the rest in our next post.