A taxpayer’s basic rights with respect to collection of a tax debt are outlined in two IRS publications. The IRS will routinely ask taxpayers owing a tax debt if they understand their rights outlined in Publications 1 and 594. Publication 1 is appropriately titled Your Rights as a Taxpayer. Those rights include:
1. The Right to Be Informed – Taxpayers have a right to know what they need to do to comply with tax laws and are entitled to a clear explanation of law and procedure from the IRS.
2. The Right to Quality Service – Taxpayers have the right to prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS.
3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax – Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally owing.
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard – Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide documentation in response to IRS actions or proposed assessments.
5. 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.
6. The Right to Finality – Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they have to challenge the IRS’s position, and the amount of time the IRS can audit a tax year, or collect on a tax debt.
7. The Right Privacy and Confidentiality – The IRS shall limit its actions to be no more intrusive than necessary, and will respect all due process rights. Taxpayers have the right to expect the IRS will not disclose information provided by the taxpayer unless authorized by law.
8. The Right to Retain Representation – Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative to represent them before the IRS.
9. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System – Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that affect their tax matter.
Publication 594 is titled The IRS Collection Process. As the name implies, the publication describes the procedures used by the IRS to collect a tax debt. Publication 594 provides information on how to make payments of your tax liability and options if you are unable to fully pay your tax. Publication 594 specifically addresses Installment Agreements, Currently Not Collectible status, and the Offer in Compromise.
Publication 594 also specifically addresses the various actions the IRS can take as part of the collection process and your rights in relation to those actions. The IRS has many tools available to help them collect a tax debt. Those tools include issuing liens, levies, summons, assess Trust Fund Recovery penalties on unpaid employment taxes. The IRS’s authority to pursue enforced collections is vast, but not unlimited. Taxpayers have rights to the release of levies and liens under certain circumstances. You also have appeal rights if you disagree with the IRS actions which are identified in part in Publication 594 and explained in greater detail in IRS Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights.