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Taxpayer Rights Part 4: The Right to Privacy and the Right to Confidentiality

July 1, 2014

The IRS’ Taxpayer Bill of Rights was written to improve awareness among taxpayers about their rights when dealing with the IRS. Even though the rights that the IRS included on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights already exist in the tax code, they are scattered. The length and complexity of the tax code makes it difficult for taxpayers to understand their rights. With the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the IRS has made it simpler for taxpayers to know and understand their rights.

The Taxpayers Bill of Rights includes the following 10 rights:

  1. The Right to Be Informed
  2. The Right to Quality Service
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
  6. The Right to Finality
  7. The Right to Privacy
  8. The Right to Confidentiality
  9. The Right to Retain Representation
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

In this blog, we’ll cover the seventh and eighth rights, the Right to Privacy and the Right to Confidentiality.

7. The Right to Privacy

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will:

  • Comply with the law
  • Be no more intrusive than necessary
  • Respect all due process rights, including search and seizure protections, and
  • Provide, where applicable, a collection due process hearing

8. The Right to Confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect that appropriate action will be taken against employees, return preparers, and others who wrongfully use or disclose the return information of taxpayers.

The IRS has set out to ensure that more and more taxpayers know and understand these basic rights. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has been included on routine IRS publication sent out to taxpayers. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is currently available in English and Spanish, and will soon be available in Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese.

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