Many people panic at the thought of interacting with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The thought of an audit or review of tax returns can be worrisome. But there is no need to go to pieces.
If you have an encounter with the IRS – such as an audit or letter of inquiry – the first step you should take is to engage a tax accountant with the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the IRS system. In many cases the information requested is readily available, and a professional can help make the process easier and less stressful.
As a taxpayer, you have a right to expect certain things from our federal tax authority. It is also important that you know your rights, which are outlined in the IRS “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” below. More detailed explanations are available in IRS Publication 1, which the IRS will include when sending you a notice.
- The Right to Be Informed – Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws.
- The Right to Quality Service – Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS.
- The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax – Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.
- The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard – Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions.
- The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum – Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions. Additionally, taxpayers have a right to take their cases to court.
- The right to finality – Taxpayers have the right to know how long they have to challenge the IRS’s position as well as how long the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt.
- The Right to Privacy – Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will be no more intrusive than necessary, and will respect all due process rights.
- The Right to Conﬁdentiality – Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or required by law.
- The Right to Retain Representation – Taxpayers have the right to retain a representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. (Note – We strongly suggest that taxpayers always have qualified representation.)
- The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System – Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely.
For more information or if you need assistance with an IRS matter, please contact the Gray, Gray & Gray Tax Department at (781) 407-0300.