If you have ever had to deal with the IRS, you know it can be very intimidating, and sometimes the Agent or Officer will try to back you or your representative into a corner. IRS Agents and Revenue Officers are required to follow and adhere to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). These ten (10) basic rights are summarized in IRS Publication 1. Does the IRS follow its own directives?
I have found in my 23 years of practicing before the IRS, they continually violate taxpayer rights in their dealings with taxpayers and representatives. You need to know your rights when dealing with the IRS to level the playing field and not get bullied or cornered into some deal that you don’t agree with. IRS Publication 1, The Taxpayer Bill of Rights:
1. The Right to be Informed – this means the IRS must communicate clearly with taxpayers how to comply with the tax laws in their notices, tax forms, and instructions.
2. The Right to Quality Service – Taxpayers have a right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS and to speak with a supervisor about inadequate service. This means the IRS agent or revenue officer should return calls promptly and should be courteous and professional in their dealings with taxpayers and their representatives. I have found over the years, especially during the pandemic and even now, that the IRS fails to answer the phones, fails to return calls, and generally ignores correspondence from taxpayers and representatives.
3. The Right to Pay No More Than the Correct Amount of Tax Due – This one seems pretty simple, however many times the IRS attempts to collect erroneous tax assessments. Taxpayers have a right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including penalties and interest, and have all payments applied correctly.
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard – Taxpayers have a right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions and proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation properly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position. Once again, I have found the IRS (especially the AUR unit) will ignore taxpayer and representative responses.
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, and the right to receive that decision in writing from the office of appeals. Taxpayers generally have a right to take their cases to court.
6. The Right to Finality – Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they are allocated to challenge the IRS’s position, as well as the maximum amount of time the IRS is allowed to audit a tax year or to collect a tax debt. Taxpayers have the right to know when IRS has finished an audit.
7. The Right to Privacy – Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will comply with the law and will be no more intrusive than necessary, and will respect all due process rights including search and seizure protections, and will provide where applicable, a collection due process hearing.
8. The Right to Confidentiality – Taxpayers have a right to expect their information will not be disclosed to unauthorized persons without their authorization.
9. The Right to Retain Representation – Taxpayers have the right to hire an authorized tax professional of their choice in their dealings with the IRS. This means a taxpayer cannot be forced to speak or meet with an Agent or Officer without their representative present.
10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System – Taxpayers have a right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely. Taxpayers have a right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if they cannot resolve their issue with the IRS through normal channels.
It is important that you or your tax professional have knowledge of their Rights under TABOR this puts the IRS on notice and will give you an edge when dealing with IRS.
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