The Taxpayer Bill of Rights – Don’t Underestimate It’s Power

September 4, 2018

In 2014, the IRS adopted the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” which places the burden on the IRS to deal with taxpayers in a forthright and fair manner. This has long been an issue that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), under the direction of Nina Olson, has been championing.  TAS is independent of the IRS and assists taxpayers with IRS problems that are not being effectively resolved through normal channels. Though it has been a number of years since it was first introduced, taxpayers have not been effectively using it when trying to resolve tax disputes.

The Bill of Rights are:

  1. The right to be informed
  2. The right to quality service
  3. The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax
  4. The right to challenge the IRS’ position and be heard
  5. The right to appeal and IRS decision in an independent forum
  6. The right to finality
  7. The right to privacy
  8. The right to confidentiality
  9. The right to retain representation
  10. The right to a fair and just tax system

While representing taxpayers before the IRS, tax professionals most often encounter violations of the right to quality service, the right to be heard, and the right to finality. While budget cuts to the IRS has made their ability to resolve cases in a timely manner more difficult, this does not excuse the poor treatment of the taxpayer. These rights do not mean that the taxpayer often gets the result they want. Instead, it does mean that the results the taxpayer receives and the process leading up to those results, is carried out in a fair and transparent manner.

Taxpayers trying to resolve federal tax issues, whether it is a notice, audit, or back taxes due, should assert these rights as soon as the IRS stops any communication or does not deliver on promised actions. Reminding the IRS representative of these rights is very effective at achieving resolution and closure, and should not be underestimated

For questions about this and other tax problem resolution matters, please contact Larry Rubin or one of our tax advisors at 301.231.6200.