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Your Rights as a Taxpayer

By: Tax Hotline
Summer 2020 (Vol. 38, No. 2)

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them.

  • The Right to Be Informed. You are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices, and correspondence. You have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.

  • The Right to Quality Service. Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.

  • The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax and to have all payments applied promptly and correctly.

  • The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard. You have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions.

  • The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum and taxpayers generally have the right to take their cases to court.

  • The Right to Finality. You have the right to know the maximum amount of time you have to challenge the IRS’s position as well as the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt.

  • The Right to Privacy. You have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary and will respect all due process rights.

  • The Right to Confidentiality. You have the right to expect that any information you provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law.

  • The Right to Retain Representation. You have the right to hire an attorney or the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if you cannot afford representation.

  • The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System. You also have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you are experiencing financial difficulty or if the IRS has not resolved their tax issues properly and timely through its normal channels.