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As tax season kicks off, a couple more taxpayer rights

The IRS announced on Monday that it had started accepting and processing tax returns for fiscal 2016. Tax season will extend through Tuesday, April 18, 2017 (the 15th falls on a weekend this year and the Monday is Emancipation Day, a DC holiday).

While notices of an audit or recalculation and additional assessment can occur at any time, this is the time of year when you are most likely to come into contact with the IRS. Because of this we want to continue our review of the rights you have when dealing with the agency.

Finality, Privacy & Confidentiality

These rights are ones that could be classified as common courtesy. The titles convey much of what each covers, but here is a little more detail:

  • Right to finality – The IRS will explain how much time you have to file a challenge. It must also tell you when it finishes an audit.
  • Right to Privacy – Any IRS examination, inquiry or enforcement must respect your due process rights and be no more intrusive than necessary
  • Right to Confidentiality – Information you provide to the IRS cannot be disclosed unless authorized by the law or by you.

If any of these three rights are violated, there may be legal avenues to seek relief.

Representation and a fair tax system

You may not realize that in dealing with the IRS, you also have the right to hire representation of your choice. An experienced tax attorney can assess your situation, discuss available options and help you choose the best strategy to resolve the issue.

A fair and just tax system is another right. The system must consider facts that affect your underlying liabilities and your ability to pay or provide timely information. When the IRS does not resolve a tax issue properly or timely through normal channels, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to offer assistance.

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