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Taxpayer Rights Part 3: The Right to Appeal and the Right to Finality

June 26, 2014

When the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office under the IRS, conducted surveys to find out how aware taxpayers are about their rights before the IRS, they found that most could not name those rights and many were not even aware they had rights at all. The Taxpayer Advocate Service advised the IRS to create a list of the core taxpayer rights of taxpayers. The result is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights that includes 10 basic rights every taxpayer has when dealing with the tax system.

The fifth and the sixth rights under the tax code that taxpayers have are:

5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including many penalties. They are also entitled to have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals’ decision. Taxpayers generally have the right to take their cases to court.

If a taxpayer believes and has proof that the IRS has made a mistake, they can either contact the IRS, and if the IRS does not correct the mistake, can carry the appeal to the court. Before challenging the IRS’ claim, it is important to have sufficient evidence to back the claim.

6. The Right to Finality

Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they 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. Taxpayers have the right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.

The IRS is required to inform taxpayers how much time they have to challenge a claim by the IRS. For instance, when placing a tax levy, the IRS informs taxpayers that they have 30 days from the date on the notice to resolve the case or make an appeal for reviewing the case. If the IRS does not provide sufficient information, the taxpayer has the right to request it.


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