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Taxpayer Rights new 8/17/08

This information is derived from IRS material, see IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer.

IRS employees are required to explain and protect your rights as a taxpayer throughout your contact with the IRS. The IRS will not disclose the information you give the IRS to anyone, except as authorized by law. You have the right to know why the IRS is asking for information, how it will be used, and what happens if you do not provide the requested information. If you believe that an IRS employee has not treated you in a professional, fair, and courteous manner, you should contact that employee’s supervisor. If the supervisor’s response is unsatisfactory, you may write to the IRS Center where you filed your return (see "Contact My Local Office").

Representation

You may represent yourself or, with proper written authorization, have someone else represent you. Your representative must be a person allowed to practice before the IRS, such as an attorney, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent. If you are in an interview and ask to consult such a person, then, in most cases, IRS must stop and reschedule the interview. You may have someone accompany you to an interview. You may make sound recordings of any meetings with Examination, Appeals, or Collection personnel, provided you inform the IRS in writing 10 days before the meeting.

Examinations

The IRS accepts most taxpayers’ returns as filed. If the IRS inquires about your return or selects it for examination, that does not suggest you are dishonest. The inquiry or examination may or may not result in more tax. Your case may be closed without change or you may receive a refund.

Appeals and Judicial Review

Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree, explains your right to disagree with an examiner’s proposed changes and request the case be reviewed by the IRS Appeals Office. If you do not wish to use the Appeals process or disagree with the Appeals findings, you may be able to take your case to the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, or U.S. District Court.

3 Appeals Online Self-Help Tools

Three tools are available on http://www.IRS.gov, for:

to assist you in focusing on your area of dispute, help you determine if you can benefit from filing an appeal, and help to prepare an appeal that is appropriate and complete.

Collections

You are responsible for paying only the correct amount of tax due under the law. If you can’t pay all of the tax due, you may be able to make monthly installment payments. Penalties and interest for late payment will still apply unless reasonable cause is established (interest generally can not be abated). Even if you can’t pay the total tax due, be sure to file all tax returns timely to avoid a late filing penalty. Publication 594, What You Should Know about the IRS Collection Process, explains your rights and responsibilities regarding payment of federal taxes. It describes what to do when you owe taxes and the collection actions that the IRS may take.

Help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS created to assist taxpayers seeking help in resolving tax problems resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. To contact the TAS call toll free 877-777-4778 (800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD) or visit the Taxpayer Advocate page at the IRS Web site to see if you are eligible for assistance.