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An overview of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

When you have a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service or difficulty meeting your federal income tax obligation, interacting with the IRS can be extremely frustrating. As you attempt to cut through all the red tape to try to reach a resolution, you may start to feel like a nonentity with no voice and no rights.

However, this is not the case. As a taxpayer, you do have rights as well as responsibilities. The IRS acknowledges that you deserve a certain baseline level of respect and explains the treatment you should expect to receive in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. There is also recourse available to you if you feel the IRS has violated your rights.

Like its constitutional counterpart, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights consists of 10 sections. These are some of the most important for you to familiarize yourself with.

Right to a fair and just tax system

The IRS should resolve your tax issues in a timely manner. If you are having difficulty paying, the agency should take the facts of your case into consideration. In either situation, you have the right to assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Right to information

In order for you to comply with applicable tax laws, you have to understand what the IRS expects of you. You have the right to receive clear explanations from the IRS not only in regard to your own accounts but about IRS procedures in general.

Right to challenge the IRS

If you disagree with an action or proposed action by the IRS, you have the right to raise objections in a timely manner and provide additional documentation to support your position. These should receive fair and prompt consideration from the IRS, and you should expect to receive a response if the agency should disagree with you.

Right to representation

Dealings with the IRS may be complex, especially if you do not have in-depth knowledge about tax law. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights grants you the right to choose an authorized representative to deal with the IRS on your behalf.

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