Everything You Need to Know About the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Everything You Need to Know About the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

August 13, 2022

In 2015, TBOR, or the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, was officially enacted. The goal was to ensure that all taxpaying citizens receive a fair and accurate dealing with the IRS. The original TBOR had been in place for several years before the 2015 law, but this was the official codification. 

The basic idea is that we deserve fair and equal treatment when it comes to paying our fair share of taxes. We at Green Valley Tax Services will help you make sure you have those rights. As an Enrolled Agent, with 30+ years of license to represent you through the collection or audit procedure making sure your rights are ensured. There are a lot of opportunities for a powerful organization like the IRS to take advantage of its position over us. Taxes are not something you can indefinitely avoid paying. At some point or another, the taxman will be a-comin'! 

What is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights? 

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a set of 10 rights that taxpayers have to ensure they are treated fairly by the IRS. The rights apply to anyone who deals with the IRS and was established to prevent abusive or unfair treatment, including audits, collection actions, criminal investigations, or prosecutions. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is found in section 7001 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C.). 

These rights were created to make it easier for taxpayers to understand their tax obligations, as well as their rights in the process. TBOR was put in place to protect taxpayers from unfair treatment by IRS personnel and ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly, consistently and professionally by all employees of the IRS at every level. 

Which Taxpayer Bill of Rights should I know about? 

In truth, all of them. It is like knowing the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. The more knowledge you have about how taxes are levied and collected, the better prepared you will be in case something were to go wrong. You want to know you will be protected against unfair practices that could cause you serious financial and reputational harm. 

Luckily, there are only 10 to remember. That means you can quickly read through what each one is and get the gist for when it is tax season. These are essential to your operations if you are a working professional within the tax or accounting industry. 

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights 

1 - The Right to Be Informed:

As a taxpayer, you have the right to know what you need to do and when. The IRS provides a wealth of information on its website, including: 

  • Taxpayer rights and responsibilities
  • How tax laws apply to different situations
  • Publications that explain tax rules in plain English
  • Tax laws and regulations 
  • Frequently asked questions about taxes or specific topics 

2 - The Right to Quality Service

The IRS must provide quality service in a fair, timely, and courteous manner that is understandable. All IRS employees have an affirmative duty to assist taxpayers who file returns electronically or by mail. The IRS also has a responsibility to handle taxpayer contacts effectively and efficiently through its telephone system, including callers on hold, in person at walk-in sites, and through its website at www.irs.gov. 

3 - The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

As a taxpayer, you are only obligated to pay what you owe - nothing more. That is why you must avoid those phone scams saying you have a $5,000 obligation to the IRS. If you have already filled out your taxes and haven’t received written confirmation of an audit, you do not owe anything. You cannot be charged for more than you owe. 

4 - The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

If you disagree with the IRS's position, you may ask for a review of your case and a hearing if you are not satisfied with the results. If you are still unsatisfied after all this, you can appeal to the Tax Court. 

This is an essential safeguard against abuse by the IRS and its auditors, who conduct investigations into suspected tax fraud. The taxpayer bill of rights requires that before any action is taken against you, it must be determined whether or not it was legal according to IRS rules and regulations. 

5 - The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

It's important to understand that the IRS can make mistakes. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is designed to protect taxpayers from unfair treatment and help ensure everyone receives a fair shake when dealing with the IRS.  

You have the right to challenge your tax bill by appealing it in court. This may seem like common sense, but sometimes even obvious truths need clarification: yes, if you think there has been an error on your tax return--even if it's only $10--then steps can be taken. 

6 - The Right to Finality

This means that if you disagree with an IRS decision, you have the right to have all issues settled within a reasonable time and receive a written explanation for any changes made to your tax return. It comes down to knowing the maximum time to make a challenge. People do not want an audit or legal decision weighing over their heads. Having a final end date that puts the matter to close so everyone can move forward is protected.  

7 - The Right to Privacy

This is unique because even our U.S. Bill of Rights does not protect privacy. The IRS cannot share your personal information without taxpayer consent. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights ensures that non-tax administration uses of taxpayer data are limited and that taxpayers have a right to privacy. This includes no intrusive actions without due process. 

8 - The Right to Confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right to confidentiality. This means that your tax information is protected by law. The IRS can use your information only for official purposes, such as auditing or collecting taxes, and will not disclose it to anyone else except under certain circumstances.  

Most taxpayers don't need to worry about their tax information being shared with others because the IRS must abide by federal privacy laws that protect personal data, including income, home ownership status, and marital status. 

9 - The Right to Retain Representation

You have the right to retain representation. You may invoke this right by contacting a tax professional, such as an accountant or attorney. The IRS cannot penalize you for exercising this right if you are represented by a tax professional who is licensed in your state and does not represent more than one other person with respect to the same matter under consideration. 

10 - The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

The tax system should be fair and just, with taxpayers not penalized for making honest mistakes. Taxpayers should have a reasonable opportunity to know what the law requires of them so that they can meet their obligations at minimum cost and in an efficient manner. Taxpayers should not be charged when there is no legal requirement to file or pay a tax, or when the tax has been eliminated by law before they filed returns with the IRS. 

The point is there should always be an expectation of factual information overruling errors or liabilities. 

Where to Learn More 

Understanding what rights you have that can be protected during any interaction with the IRS is essential, especially if you are a small business owner. Taxes are a serious and often significant expense that needs to be carefully calculated to avoid mistakes. 

Working with a professional team like ours at Green Valley Tax Services helps you make the most of your particular tax situation. We are a fully licensed organization that can walk you through each section in the Bill of Rights, especially when concerning an upcoming interaction with the IRS. 

To learn more about our fantastic tax services, reach out to our expert and professional team today. We look forward to helping you with your taxes!