The Tax Deadline is fast approaching, and if you don't have time to read through the near four million word US Tax code, the IRS has released the Taxpayer Bill of Rights - ten laws in quick and easy language for anyone to read and understand. And today on BizBuilder we are listing these Rights from their Publication 1 "Your Rights as a Taxpayer" and briefly discussing them. As outlined by the IRS, here are you Ten Rights as a Taxpayer.
1. TO BE INFORMED
Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws - with clear explanations of the laws and procedures. They also must be informed of all IRS decisions about their tax accounts and receive clear explanations about the outcomes.
2. TO QUALITY SERVICE
Taxpayers have the right to prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS. This assistance must also be in a way they can easily understand. They are also free to speak to a supervisor about any inadequate service.
3. TO PAY NO MORE THAN THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF TAX
Taxpayers had the right to only pay only the amount legally due. This also includes any interest or penalties accrued by the taxpayer that they owe the IRS.
4. TO CHALLENGE THE IRS'S POSITION AND BE HEARD
Taxpayers have the right to raise objections, expect the IRS to consider their objections in a timely, prompt manner, and expect the IRS to respond should they disagree with said objection.
5. TO APPEAL AN IRS DECISION IN AN INDEPENDENT FORUM
Taxpayers are entitled to an impartial and fair appeal of most IRS decisions and to receive a written response regarding the Court of Appeal's decision.
6. TO FINALITY
Taxpayers have the right to know wen they can challenge an IRS position and how long the IRS has to audit a decision or collect a tax debt. The IRS must also inform the Taxpayer when an audit is finished.
7. TO PRIVACY
The IRS must comply with laws that do not intrude upon a taxpayer's privacy any more than necessary and will respect due process in terms of searches and seizures.
8. TO CONFIDENTIALITY
Taxpayers can expect the IRS not to disclose any information unless asked to do so by taxpayer or required by law. Taxpayers also can expect the IRS to take appropriate action against anyone who wrongfully discloses their tax information.
9. TO RETAIN REPRESENTATION
Taxpayers may retain legal representation in dealings with the IRS and should they not be able to afford one they ask for assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
10. TO A FAIR AND JUST TAX SYSTEM.
Taxpayers can expect the IRS to take circumstances into consideration in determining ability to pay, liabilities, and means of providing information. Taxpayers may also seek the assistance of a Taxpayer Advocate if they have trouble paying what they owe or if the IRS has not responded to tax issues to the tax payer's satisfaction.
While they may not answer every one of your questions, these Rights are the most important, base laws that every tax payer should be aware of. Knowledge of these Rights provides an important first step in dealings with the IRS and helps generate an open dialogue between the taxpayer and the tax collectors.
The full text of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a two page document - as opposed to a four million word code - and lists not just these Rights but a second page full of helpful information taxpayers might not know. For example it lists the preferred means of communication should you have a reason to contact the IRS (in the case of Right Number 3) as well as directs you which publication to consult for Audits, Appeals, and Collections. The Bill document proves to be both a simple explanation of the foremost taxpayer laws, but also a reference to where deeper questions could be found.
Though a document which might leave some answers to be desired, it is an important treatise that anyone who pays taxes should read in order to better understand the laws and how they interact with them on a yearly basis.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below, and be on the look out for our next post which will be a series on how social media can impact your small business and/or self-employment.