The IRS is one of the most powerful organizations in the federal government. As much power as it wields, it still must afford you and every other taxpayer full due process according to the law. Learn what your rights are as a taxpayer and at what point you can use them to your benefit.
The Right to Be Informed
According to the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers have the right to be informed. The IRS must by law must inform you in writing in regards to:
- tax law
- correspondence about issues like your tax debt, returns, and other topics
The IRS will not correspond with you via email or by phone. According to federal law, all information from the IRS must be provided to you in writing and delivered to you by mail in a prompt manner.
The Right to Pay What You OweAs a taxpayer, you have the right to pay what you owe and not a penny more. If you owe a tax debt, you are not obligated to pay more than that amount. Once you pay your account down to a zero amount, the IRS must release you from your tax debt obligation.
This right also pertains to whether or not you are owed a refund. During the tax year, the IRS takes more money that it is entitled to from many taxpayers' incomes.
Taxpayers who overpay what they owe are refunded the overage at tax time. Any refund you are owed by the IRS must be paid to you in a timely manner.
The Right to Be HeardEven with all of its power, the IRS cannot turn a deaf ear to any complaints, questions, or concerns that you might have. Taxpayers are entitled to be heard and to request an audience with the IRS as necessary.
You can ask for a hearing with an IRS representative if you want to challenge the IRS' position on a particular tax law. You can also request a hearing about your tax debt or impending audit. You must request the hearing in writing by using the appropriate forms found on IRS.gov.
The Right to Privacy and ConfidentialityYou have the right to both privacy and confidentiality when you are dealing with the IRS. This right also ties in with your right to due process if you are facing an audit or other legal action in regards to your tax returns.
The IRS must afford you privacy and confidentiality during audits, searches and seizures, hearings, and other actions taken against you. It cannot by law share your information with people and parties who are not directly tied to your tax case or have no authorization to learn details about you and your tax matter.
The Right to Representation
One of your most important rights as a taxpayer involves your right to representation when you are dealing with the IRS. The tax laws are complicated, difficult to understand, and always subject to change. As an ordinary citizen, you may not know the intricacies of the tax code or how they apply to your case.
As such, the IRS must give you the opportunity to hire representation if you are being audited, summoned to a hearing, or facing other IRS legal action. You must be allowed to retain a CPA, tax attorney, or other tax professional who has the authority to intercede on your behalf with the IRS.
Professional tax counsel will know the tax codes and how they apply to your particular case. If you cannot afford to hire representation, you must be informed of your right to seek assistance from low-income taxpayer clinics.
These taxpayer rights and numerous others are at your disposal anytime you are facing action with the IRS. You can act in your own best interests by utilizing these rights to your benefits when necessary.