taxpayer bill of rights

What is the “Right to Finality?”

Tax Law

As a taxpayer you have rights. That is good to know because we often think that when it comes to tax issues, we are totally at the mercy of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Indeed, there are very few, if any, movies in which the IRS agent character is portrayed as a warm, loving, reasonable person who is happy to give you some leeway, right?  

In previous articles, we have discussed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. One of the most important of those rights is what is called the “right to finality.” Taking a cue from the term itself, you can probably glean that the right has to do with things being final, or having an endpoint.  

In this article, we will take a deeper look at your right to finality as a taxpayer, what that means, and how it will impact you when it comes to tax debts and tax audits.  If, after reading this article, you would like to discuss your own tax debt settlement in Sarasota, we invite you to call the IRS problem-solving services firm – the Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L.  

The Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. can make sure that your tax debt settlement in Sarasota is resolved efficiently and at the lowest cost to you. Please fill out our online contact form, or call us at 941-906-7585 today.

Why Right to Finality Is Necessary

The right to finality is, generally speaking, a right for things to have a definite, predictable endpoint. Why is that right important? It is important because we can all agree that it is not right or fair to allow a cloud to hang over someone’s head forever.

It is commonly understood that the IRS has a lot of power over us as taxpayers. If we do not pay our taxes, the IRS has considerable legal tools in its toolbox to enforce the U.S. tax laws. Those tools include the ability to audit our personal or business finances, and may go as far as the ability to bring a criminal prosecution against us. Without question, the IRS is the arbiter of being able to either require U.S. residents to either pay their share of taxes or issue penalties for failure to fulfill those requirements.  

That is a fairly awesome power. Now ask yourself – is it fair for the IRS to have that power over you forever? No.  There should be a time when the IRS no longer can exercise its power over you for a tax debt that has become too old.  

That notion leads to another good reason for a right to finality. Memories fade and documents get lost over time.  So, it also would be unfair for the IRS to try to collect on a tax debt that is 20 years old. Will you or the IRS even have records from that long ago?

Finally, if the IRS wants to collect a tax debt, why would they wait so long to collect it? Thus, the right to finality also puts the IRS on a clock. The IRS has a reasonable time within which to go after a person who has not paid taxes. If the IRS does not move with appropriate speed, then it loses its ability to collect on that tax debt at all.

The right to finality is based on the same notions of fairness and efficiency that underpin a statute of limitations, which provides deadlines within which to bring civil or criminal cases in court.  

The Right to Finality in Connection with a Tax Audit

Specifically with regard to a tax audit, the right to finality states that taxpayers have the right to know:

1. The maximum amount of time they have to challenge the IRS’s position.
2. The maximium amount of time the IRS has to audit a tax year or collect a tax debt.
3. When the IRS has finished an audit.

Generally speaking, the IRS has three years from the date a person files his or her tax return to assess any additional taxes for that year. Then, the IRS generally has ten years from an assessment date to collect unpaid taxes. Finally, a taxpayer can only be subjected to one audit per tax year in typical circumstances.  

More Questions About the Right to Finality?  Talk to the Tax Debt Settlement Pros in Sarasota 

No question, a tax audit can be stressful. Yet, having a tax debt settlement attorney in Sarasota at your side to advise you on options and strategies for responding to the IRS is invaluable during the audit process.  

Consider reaching out to the Law Offices of Mary E. King to help. Tax matters can be complicated, and thus, it is always helpful to have someone in your corner who understands the tax law and deals with the IRS on a regular basis. Indeed, beyond just the stimulus payment from the IRS, there could be other issues with which a seasoned tax attorney can help.  

So, when it comes to dealing with tax relief and tax litigation, you need to talk to a Sarasota tax law attorney who can help. Mary E. King has spent her career concentrating in tax law and can help you with tax scams in Florida and elsewhere. Attorney King has a wealth of information about what types of options would make the most sense for you and your business.

That helps explain why she’s received an A+ rating from the Florida Better Business Bureau. If you have a tax-related issue – no matter how small or how large – setting up an initial consultation with Mary E. King, tax lawyer of Florida, is the first step you should take towards relief.

The Law Office of Mary King P.L. offers complete IRS problem-solving services including all areas from tax debt settlement to planning the most efficient tax strategy for individuals and businesses. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation. With years of experience as a tax lawyer in Sarasota for many clients, Attorney Mary E. King can make sure that your tax issues are resolved in your favor. Fill out our online contact form, or call us at 941-906-7585. Remember, at the Law Office of Mary E. King, we are focused on solving your tax issues for good.

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