Baker Law Firm
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What are a taxpayer's rights during an IRS controversy?

In our last post, we discussed a lawsuit brought against the IRS by two former corporate executives, claiming that questionable IRS tactics had cost them their job. A federal court ruled that the IRS, as an agency, was immune from claims of alleged deceit toward the two executives.

In light of that ruling, it would be worthwhile to discuss the rights and protections that are afforded to a taxpayer during an IRS controversy. Notably, the IRS has adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that enumerates 10 protections.

First and foremost, a taxpayer under audit or examination from the IRS has the right to legal representation. This right applies regardless of whether a taxpayer’s alleged activity implicates civil or criminal tax consequences.

Our Connecticut tax law firm knows how intimidating it can be to receive correspondence from the IRS about an alleged tax debt. Many of our clients also worry about inadvertently admitting to an error or saying the wrong thing. Fortunately, our attorneys can handle these communications on a taxpayer’s behalf. We will also appear at all administrative and/or judicial negotiations or hearings with the taxpayer.

The other enumerations in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights provide for due process and privacy protections. For example, a taxpayer has to the right to be informed of any tax investigation, including the specific details for the tax at issue and how it was calculated. A taxpayer also has the right to challenge the IRS’ calculations or determinations in an independent forum. Our law firm has represented clients in both administrative proceedings with the IRS, as well as federal district courts and the U.S. Tax Court.

A taxpayer also has the right to privacy and confidentiality. Finally, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights states that a taxpayer should only have to pay the correct amount of tax, and that he or she has the right to quality service from the IRS.

Source: “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” copyright 2017, Internal Revenue Service

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