All taxpayers have fundamental rights when working with the IRS. The agency outlines them on IRS.gov and in Publication 1. To help taxpayers understand their rights, here is a list of them with a brief description of each one:
- The right to be informed. Taxpayers are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures on all tax forms, instructions, publications and notices. They have the right to know about IRS decisions affecting their accounts and receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
- The right to quality service. Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous and professional assistance in their interactions with the IRS. They have the right to be spoken to in a way they can easily understand. Also, to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.
- The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due. This includes interest and penalties.
- The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard. Taxpayers have the right to raise objections in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions. They also have the right to expect the IRS to consider their timely objections promptly and fairly and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree.
- 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, including many penalties.
- The right to finality. Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they have to challenge an IRS position.
- The right to privacy. Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, audit or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary.
- The right to confidentiality. Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees, preparers, and others who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer information.
- The right to retain representation. Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if they cannot afford representation.
- The right to a fair and just tax system. Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their case. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulty. They can also contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service if the IRS has not resolved a tax issue properly and timely through its normal channels.