[This article is the first in a series of articles covering the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.]
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a cornerstone document that highlights the fundamental rights taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. The IRS continues to publicly highlight these rights to taxpayers and regularly reminds its employees about these rights as it makes communication with taxpayers more effective. The IRS expects employees to understand and apply taxpayer rights throughout every encounter with taxpayers.
This Taxpayer Bill of Rights includes “The Right to Be Informed”.
Taxpayers have the right to know what they are required to do to comply with the U.S. tax laws. All taxpayers are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
What taxpayers can expect from the IRS:
- Certain notices must include the amount (if any) of the tax, interest, and certain penalties you owe. It must explain why you owe these amounts.
- When the IRS fully or partially disallows your claim for a refund, it must explain the specific reasons why.
- Help with Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter is available online at IRS.gov.
- If the IRS proposes to assess tax against you, it must explain the process – from examination (audit) through collection – in its first letter.
- This letter should explain your options for a review by an independent Office of Appeals and how the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help you.
- If you enter a payment plan, known as an installment agreement, the IRS must send you an annual statement. This gives you a record of balances and payments.
- You can access current and prior year IRS forms and publications at IRS.gov. You can also request order them by calling 800-829-3676.
- IRS also uses several social media tools that provide helpful tax information to a broad audience. You can find IRS on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and the IRS2Go free mobile app.
- To find out more about the TBOR and what it means to you visit: https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov
The IRS offers Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, in several languages – English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified). Chinese (Traditional). Korean. Russian, and Vietnamese.
Per the IRS website – “By making this important publication available in multiple languages, the IRS hopes to increase the number of Americans who know and understand their rights under the tax law. The IRS has more tax information in other languages too. See the “Languages” menu at the top of any IRS.gov page.”
The IRS can be very helpful in providing information. But, often taxpayers can have trouble determining their options from the provided information and can often find the assistance of a tax attorney of considerable value. If that is the case for you, please contact our office to learn how we can help empower you as a taxpayer.