Guide to US Taxpayer Rights

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is responsible for enforcement of tax laws in the United States. This government agency is also responsible for tax collection. Taxpayers enjoy many rights which unfortunately most of them fail to exercise.

The Headquarters of the IRS Is Located in Washington, D.C.

A markerwashington d c -
Washington, DC, USA
[get directions]

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Image in public domain. | Source

It is the responsibility of the IRS to protect your rights as a taxpayer. The IRS employees are obligated to explain whenever you seek clarification regarding any of your rights. For example, the agency is required to protect you against discrimination.

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The IRS must keep financial information confidential. However, they may reveal information if authorized by the law. When ever an IRS employee seeks your financial information he/she is obligated to explain as to why it is required by the agency. You have the right to know how the agency intends to use the information. You can also seek information regarding the consequences of you not providing the requested information.

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Image in public domain | Source

The employees of the IRS are expected to treat the taxpayers in a courteous and professional manner. You have the right to refuse to interact with them if they are rude or unprofessional. In such cases you may complain to the higher authorities. While dealing with the IRS, you can either represent yourself or authorize (in writing) some one to represent you. However, the person whom you authorize should be permitted to practice before the IRS.

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The IRS accepts taxpayers' returns as filed. However, in some cases they seek further information. Usually they do it by mail or by interview. In case they decide to conduct a personal interview, they are supposed to send a notification before meeting the taxpayer. You have the right to decide on the place and the time of the interview. However, it is advisable that the place and the time are convenient for both you and the IRS employee.

You are obligated to pay only the correct amount of tax due under the law. If you do not have the ability to pay the entire amount when it is due, you have the right to make payments in monthly installments. If you have tax problems with the IRS which you think are not resolved in a fair manner, you may seek assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. You may call them on their toll free number 1-877-777-4778.

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If you are not in agreement with the IRS over the amount of your tax liability or if you feel that certain collection actions have been unfair, you have the legal right to seek a review. You may ask either the Appeals Office or a court to review your case.

The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.

— Ronald Reagan

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