Receiving a notice from the I.R.S. can be a frightening experience. However, it's not the end of the world. Taxypayer's should be aware of the fact that they do have the ability to dispute the amount owed. Even if the taxpayer lacks the documentation to disprove the assessed amount and is forced to pay the debt, the total debt will not have to be paid in one lump sum. There are payment options available, many of which take into account your current financial situation.
Keeping this in mind, it is helpful for every taxpayer to know what their rights are during this process. The I.R.S. agent handling your audit or assessment will inform you of your rights. Additionally, you will receive a pamphlet which lays out the taxpayer's bill of rights. These rights are as follows:
Right to Representation
Every taxpayer is entitled to have access to representation. The Low Income Tax Clinic grant program is designed to help accredited academic institutions and non-profit organizations provide low to no-cost tax assistance (such as representing the taxpayer during an audit or tax collection effort) and/or tax outreach to taxpayers for whom English is a second language.
Your return may be examined for a variety of reasons, and the examination may take place in any one of several ways. After the examination, if any changes to your tax are proposed, you have the right to either agree with those changes and pay any additional tax you may owe, or you can disagree with the changes and appeal the decision.
The I.R.S. has an appeals system for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or with other adjustments to their tax liability. The I.R.S. will send you a report and/or letter that explains the proposed adjustments. The letter also tells you of your right to request a conference with an Appeals officer, as well as how to make your request for a conference. In addition to examinations, many other things can be appealed such as penalties, interest, trust fund recovery penalties, offers in compromise, liens, and levies. If you request an Appeals conference, be prepared with records and documentation to support your position.
Collection Process Rights
You have the right to be treated professionally, fairly, promptly, and courteously by I.R.S. employees and Private Collection Agencies (PCAs) contacting you on behalf of the I.R.S. Among other rights, you have the right to disagree with your tax bill, meet with an I.R.S. manager if you disagree with the IRS employee who handles your tax case, appeal most I.R.S. collection actions, have your case transferred to a different I.R.S. office if you have a valid reason (such as if you move), and receive a receipt for any payment you make.
For more information about your rights as a taxpayer, visit the I.R.S.'s publication on the topic.