The IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights as proposed by Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, after it was determined that many taxpayers were unaware of their rights before the IRS. The rights existed before, but were not clear, easily accessible, or understandable to taxpayers.
The 10 fundamental rights of every taxpayer when communicating with the IRS are:
- The Right to Be Informed
- The Right to Quality Service
- The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
- The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
- The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
- The Right to Finality
- The Right to Privacy
- The Right to Confidentiality
- The Right to Retain Representation
- The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
The Right to Be Informed
Taxpayers have the right to be informed of how to comply with tax laws. They are entitled to a clear explanation of the laws and IRS procedures in all communications with the IRS, including decisions.
The Right to Quality Service
Taxpayers have the right to receive quick, courteous, and professional help from the IRS. They can expect to receive clear and easily understandable communications, and to speak with a supervisor in case of unsatisfactory service.
The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties. They can expect the IRS to apply all tax payments accurately.
The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
Taxpayers can disagree with the IRS and raise objections. They can expect the IRS to consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and respond if they don’t agree.
The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
Taxpayers have the right to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions. Usually, they have the right to take their tax cases to court.
The Right to Finality
Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum time they have to challenge the IRS’s position and the maximum time the IRS has to audit. Taxpayers have the right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.
The Right to Privacy
Taxpayers have the right to expect IRS action to comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary. The IRS is required to respect all due process rights and provide a collection due process hearing where needed.
The Right to Confidentiality
Taxpayers have the right to expect that the information they provide to the IRS will be kept confidential unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers can expect action against those who wrongfully use or share their return information.
The Right to Retain Representation
Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS.
The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their tax debt, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely. They can receive help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service in cases of financial duress or if the IRS did not resolve their tax problem satisfactorily.