The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Series: The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

tax payments

[This article is the third 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 pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.”

This Taxpayers Bill of Rights includes “The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax”

What you can expect:

  • If you believe you have overpaid your taxes, you can file for a refund; however, there are specific time frames in which you must file your claim. For more information, see Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund.
  • If you receive an IRS notice or bill and believe there is an error on it, write to the IRS office that sent it to you within the time frame given. You should provide photocopies of any records that may help correct the error. Also, you may call the number listed on your notice or bill for help. If you are correct, the IRS will make the necessary adjustment to your account and send you a corrected notice.
  • If you discover an error after you file your return, you may need to amend your return. You should file an amended return if there is an error or change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits. However, the IRS may automatically correct math errors on a return, and may accept returns with certain forms or schedules left out. In these cases, you do not need to amend your return. If you disagree with an adjustment the IRS made, you must request within 60 days that the IRS reverse the change. This timeline preserves your right to challenge the proposed adjustment in court, if needed, before paying it.
  • You may request that any amount owed be removed if it exceeds the correct amount due under the law, if the IRS has assessed it after the period allowed by law, or if the assessment was done in error or violation of the law.
  • You may request that the IRS remove any interest from your account if the IRS caused unreasonable errors or delays. For example, if the IRS delays issuing a statutory notice of deficiency because the assigned IRS employee was away for several months attending training, and interest accrues during this time, the IRS may abate the interest related to the delay.
  • You can submit an offer in compromise, asking the IRS to accept less than the full amount of your tax debt, if you believe you don’t owe all or part of the debt.

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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