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IRS publicizes rights of taxpayers

Whether you know it or not (and you probably don’t), you have a variety of rights when it comes to paying your taxes and contesting any IRS assertion that you didn’t pay your taxes. But there are few things more unwieldy than the U.S. tax code, and rights afforded to you by law in the tax code are scattered throughout tomes dense enough to sink in a pool of molten lead.

However, on June 10, the IRS finally took a step to clear some of the confusion and released a "Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights." The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is a concise, clearly stated listing of your rights as a taxpayer grouped into ten different categories.

According to the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, you have the right to be informed, the right to pay only what you actually owe under a correct tax calculation and the right to formally contest the position of the IRS when it comes to your taxes. You also have the right to appeal a decision made by the IRS in an independent forum, the right to finality at the end of your case and the right to retain a tax attorney.

Furthermore, you have the right to privacy and the right to confidentially in tax matters; unless authorized by you or by law, the IRS cannot disclose information you provide to their agents. Although it may not always feel like it, you are guaranteed the right to professional, courteous and prompt service from IRS employees.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights guarantees you a right to a just and fair tax system. Sometimes, getting just and fair treatment means you will have to get legal help and make a strong stand for some of your other rights. But even though you are up against a lot when you are involved in a tax controversy with the IRS, you do have rights, and you should make full use of them.

Source: Washington Post, "IRS unveils 'Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights,'" Josh Hicks, June 10, 2014

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