The Taxpayer Advocate

By Sandy Botkin Special For USDR

The Taxpayer Advocate is an office that supposedly oversees the IRS. They recently came out with a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” that was endorsed by the IRS. Despite endorsing these rights, I personally don’t believe that many people at the IRS will adhere to them. However, here they are:

1. The right to be informed about tax law and about IRS actions. This also includes the right to clear explanations of IRS form instructions.

2. The right to quality service. This includes the right to prompt, courteous, clear professional assistance, and to seek the assistance of a supervisor if you don’t get this.

3. The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax.  In other words, tax planning done correctly is legitimized.

4. The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard.  Thus, you can raise objections and have the right to provide documentation and receive a response from the IRS.

5. The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. This can be done by going to the IRS Internal Appeals office or go to court. This sounds good, but who you do you think pays the appellate officers? Also, there is nothing to prevent the agent from disallowing legitimate deductions in order to force taxpayers to Appeals or to court in the hope that the taxpayer won’t challenge anything due to the cost involved.

6. The right to finality. You have the right to know the maximum amount of time the IRS has to finish the audit and to challenge the IRS position. You also have the right to know when they finished the audit.

7. The right to privacy. You have the right to have the audit not be too intrusive and are to be allowed all due process rights including those for search and seizure and for hearings.

8. The right to confidentiality. You have the right to expect that none of the information that you submit will be disclosed to the public.

9. The right to retain representation. You can use any authorized representative that you want.

10. The right to a fair and just tax system. This means that 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 timely information. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if the IRS has not resolved their tax issues properly and timely through its normal channels.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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