The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Series: The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

taxpayer bill of rights

[This article is the fourth 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.

As stated on the IRS website, “Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.”

This Taxpayers Bill of Rights includes “The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard”

What you can expect:

  • If the IRS notifies you that your tax return has a math or clerical error, you have 60 days to tell the IRS that you disagree. You should provide photocopies of any records that may help correct the error. In addition, you may call the number listed on your notice or bill for help. If the IRS agrees with your position, we will make the necessary adjustment to your account and send you a corrected notice.
  • If the IRS does not adopt your position, it will send a notice proposing a tax adjustment (known as a statutory notice of deficiency). The statutory notice of deficiency gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the United States Tax Court before paying it. To do this, you need to file a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to you outside the United States). For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.
  • If you submit documentation or raise objections during a return examination (or audit), and the IRS does not agree with your position, it will issue you a statutory notice of deficiency. This notice will explain why the IRS is increasing your tax, which gives you the right to petition the U.S. Tax Court prior to paying the tax.
  • When the IRS notifies you of plans to levy your bank account or other property, you’ll generally have an opportunity to request a hearing before the Office of Appeals. Also, you’ll generally have an opportunity to appeal the proposed or actual filing of a notice of federal tax lien.
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.
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