The IRS has mastered the art
of making you miserable.

  • They want you to feel overwhelmed, anxious, embarrassed, and alone.
  • Their fear tactics keep you awake at night.
  • You don’t know where to turn.

The first step in keeping your fears and worries at bay is to know your fundamental rights under the law. This is the first in a two-part summary of the rights granted to all taxpayers.

Every Taxpayer Has Rights When Dealing With The IRS

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes these rights from the tax code and groups them into 10 categories. Here are the first five rights along with more information about each one:

The Right to Be Informed

  • You have the right to know what you need to do to comply with the tax laws.
  • You are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices, and correspondence.
  • You have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about your tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.

The Right to Quality Service

  • You have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance when dealing with the IRS and to be spoken to in a manner you can easily understand.
  • You also have the right to speak with a supervisor about inadequate service.
  • Communications from the IRS should be clear and easy to understand.

The Right to Pay No More Than the Correct Amount of Tax

  • You must pay only the amount of tax legally due.
    • This includes interest and penalties.
  • The IRS must apply all tax payments properly.

The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

  • You have the right to object to formal IRS actions or proposed actions.
  • You can provide justification with additional documentation.
  • The IRS should consider timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly.
  • You can expect a response when the IRS disagrees with your position.

The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

  • You are entitled to a fair and impartial appeal of most IRS decisions.
  • This includes appealing certain penalties.
  • You have the right to receive a written response from the IRS regarding a decision.
  • Generally, you also have the right to take your case to court.

The IRS will include Publication 1 when sending a notice to taxpayers on a variety of issues, such as an audit or collection matter. Publication 1 is available in English and Spanish.

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