Your IRS Taxpayer Rights
When the IRS comes to collect, it can be an anxiety-inducing experience from start to finish, but it’s important to remember that you do have rights in any tax-related situation. You can exercise those rights and maintain boundaries at any point during a tax-related situation. These rights are listed out fully in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but here are some of the most essential ones for you to remember so you can protect yourself and your family from the IRS.
You have the right to be informed.
Every taxpayer is entitled to an explanation of tax laws and IRS procedures regarding forms, publications, notices, and correspondence. You as a taxpayer also have the right to be notified of any changes to your account and receive clear explanations for those changes. The IRS must maintain records and provide detailed proof that they communicated their decisions with any issue in your tax account.
You have the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum.
If you provide a written request to the IRS and follow their protocols, you are granted the right to appeal an IRS decision. During an appeal, an IRS office of appeals will handle your case and will be independent of the IRS office that opened your case. The IRS office of appeals cannot discuss the case with the IRS office in question unless you or a representative are present.
You have the right to complete privacy.
You have the right to privacy regarding any tax matter. This means that any examination or enforcement actions that take place will not be more intrusive than necessary and will respect all rights of due process. This includes search and seizure protections as well as a collection due process hearing.
You have the right to a fair and just tax system.
All taxpayers have the right to a tax system that looks at the facts and situations that might affect a person’s ability to pay or provide information promptly. If a taxpayer feels they are being treated unfairly, they have the right to receive assistance from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service.
You have the right to retain representation.
No matter what your issues are, you always maintain the right to have professional tax representation for IRS matters. If you don’t have the finances available to retain a representative, you’re eligible for one through a low-income taxpayer clinic.
When working with you and your tax matters, if we believe any of your rights have been violated, there are several steps we take. We will first speak with the immediate manager of the IRS agent handling the case, and, if necessary, we will talk to the manager’s manager.
If there is an action or proposed action we don’t agree with, we will file an appeal to that action. If the situation escalates, we will also file a formal complaint of a violation of the taxpayer’s rights. This type of complaint is registered with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the watchdog of the IRS. When this happens, they open an investigation to see if a violation occurred.
~ Michael Raanan MBA, EA, Former IRS Agent