Randy J. Elder, CPA, P.C.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights: Yes, you do have rights!

This week the IRS announced adoption of its Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The taxpayer rights are not new; they have been in existence but scattered throughout the tax code. Since not too many taxpayers read through the tax code it is not surprising that most are unaware of their rights. With the adoption of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the IRS has grouped the rights into 10 categories and placed them more prominently on IRS.gov. The taxpayer rights are also outlined in Publication 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer”. It is this document that you could find in your mailbox if you are sent any type of IRS notice including those related to audits and collections. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.

Why the change you might ask. There may be more to the story but according to the IRS announcement, surveys among taxpayers indicate that most believe they have no rights before the IRS and among those that do; few can actually name their rights. Adoption of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is, at least in part, a response to this research finding. My guess is that there are other factors at play as well. There may have been complaints, maybe even lawsuits. Unfortunately, it often takes a great deal of pain before governmental action on behalf of the payer is taken. After all, the announcement indicated the Taxpayer Bill of Rights had been a goal of the Taxpayer Advocate Service since 2007!

What are your rights before the IRS as a taxpayer?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights outlines your rights using the following 10 categories.

  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’s Position and Be Heard
  5. The Right to Appeal an 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

For Arizona tax paying, the Arizona Department of Revenue also has a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. In fact, Arizona was the first state to establish a Bill of Rights in 1986. The Arizona Taxpayer Bill of Rights can be found in Pub 1 by going to HTTPS://www.azdor.gov/

For most of us, the goal is to have minimal interaction with the IRS and avoid the need to exercise our Taxpayer Bill of Rights. If you find yourself in a position where you may need to dialog with the IRS or Arizona Department of Revenue, know your rights and seek professional guidance. I can help if you have any questions about your rights.