Have you received a letter from the IRS? Does the Service want more money from you for a previous tax year? Did you know you have certain rights?
Every so often, we like to take to write a reminder post on the taxpayer bill of rights. These are not as widely known as the right to remain silent (Miranda advisory), which is a part of ever crime drama on television, but they offer various protections when you are facing the IRS.
Ten taxpayer rights
Let’s do the first two rights in paragraph form. These are what we could refer to as the Target-model customer service rights: the right to be informed and the right to quality service. You can ask for clarification of a notice or decision and you should expect professional and courteous behavior. If someone is yelling and demanding you make an immediate payment or a tax bill, consider they are likely a scam artist impersonating an IRS agent.
Three rights relate to your tax obligation and the process to ensure it is correct:
- You have the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax legally due
- You also have a right to challenge the IRS when you do not agree with their position
- The right of appeal an IRS decision required an independent forum through an administrative appeals process that is fair and impartial
The last five rights are finality (you’ll know when an audit is over), privacy (an inquiry or enforcement effort must be no more intrusive than necessary), confidentiality, representation (you can hire someone to advocate on your behalf) and a fair and just tax system.
Even though these rights exist, are they always protected? The answer is no. There are going to be times when the Service takes a shortcut or makes a mistake. A tax attorney can protect and fight for these rights while ensuring you pursue the best strategy to resolve the underlying problem.