The Internal Revenue Service is one of the largest, most intimidating agencies in the country. That fact, combined with the fact that our tax code is one of the most complicated in the world, makes it unsurprising that most people feel they are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to knowing their rights as taxpayers.
However, it is crucial to remember that you as a taxpayer have rights. These 10 rights are laid out in a Taxpayer Bill of Rights and can be broken up into four different categories.
- The right to protect yourself: You have the right to confidentiality and privacy when it comes to your exchanges with the IRS. You also have the right to have legal representation to help you deal with the IRS.
- The right to information: While it is all but impossible to know everything about the U.S. tax code, you do have the right to be informed about your options, the right to receive clear, professional assistance by the IRS and you are entitled to clear explanations about tax laws and procedures.
- The right to fairness: You should only pay what you owe and you have the right to expect that they will be treated fairly and justly by the tax system.
- The right to act: You as a taxpayer have the right to take certain actions when dealing with the IRS. This includes the right to raise objections to IRS actions and the right to appeal a decision you feel is wrong or unfair.
It is not uncommon to feel helpless, intimidated and even bullied when you come up against the IRS. However, readers should hopefully now understand that they can protect themselves and take steps to level the playing field. With this knowledge, hopefully you will see that you do not resolve tax controversies and disputes alone.