Taxpayer Bill of Rights Adopted by the IRS


By Jennifer Cowles

On Tuesday, June 10th, the Internal Revenue Service released a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” with the intention to provide taxpayers with a clear understanding of their rights and administrative protections. The Bill was modeled after the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights and the 10 broad provisions were announced at a news conference at IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C. by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson.

The Tax Code contains numerous references to taxpayer rights but because of the scattered placement they are often difficult to find and even more difficult to fully understand.  The goal of the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” is to make these rights more visible and to provide taxpayers with fundamental information regarding core concepts about which all taxpayers should be aware.

The rights are:

  1. The right to be informed
  2. The right to receive 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

An updated version of Publication 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer” incorporates the new rights and will be included with IRS correspondence to taxpayers including notices regarding tax year 2013 returns as well as other issues ranging from audits to collections.

The release of the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” followed extensive discussions with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office inside the IRS that represents the interests of U.S. taxpayers.  The adoption of the Bill has been a goal of National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and was listed as the Advocate’s top priority in her most recent Annual Report to Congress.

A survey commissioned by the Taxpayer Advocate Service in 2012 found that only 46% of U.S. Taxpayers believed they had rights before the IRS and only 11% knew what the rights were. “If you don’t know what your rights are, you will never avail yourself of those rights,” Olson said.  Conversely, she stated, “An educated tax consumer is the most protected tax consumer”

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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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