No longer does the IRS have all the advantages in dealing with taxpayers. It took fifteen years, but your rights as a taxpayer were dramatically enhanced with the enactment of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.  The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is extensive, but a partial list includes the following:

  • The IRS must preserve your personal and financial confidentiality.
  • The IRS must treat you in a professional and courteous manner.
  • The IRS must provide clear explanations in all IRS tax notices and written inquiries.  Many notices must include a non-technical statement about your rights as a taxpayer, especially with respect to audits, collection actions, and tax appeals procedures.
  • The IRS must collect taxes fairly.
  • The IRS must provide a three-year installment agreement if the taxpayer owes $10,000 or less, not counting interest and penalties.
  • IRS supervisor approval is required before certain notices of tax lien or levy may be issued by the IRS.  Certain notices to the taxpayers are required before these IRS actions, including the amount of tax owed and an explanation of the proposed IRS action and taxpayer appeal rights.
  • In certain cases, the taxpayer can shift the burden of proof to the IRS (which is not the normal case—unlike almost all other civil law).
  • Certain property is exempt from IRS levies.
  • Bank levies take 21 days, giving the taxpayer time to contact the IRS and work something out.
  • The IRS must prove 30-day notice prior to altering or terminating an installment agreement.
  • >Reasonable legal costs incurred during certain administrative proceedings may be recovered if you prevail in court against the IRS.
  • You have a right to legal representation. IRS may not interview you alone, unless consent is given, if you have a legal representative.
  • You can send your legal advisor IRS tax examinations and avoid going yourself, unless the IRS issues administrative summons.
  • With proper notice, you may record IRS meetings.
  • An IRS tax audit may be suspended at any time to consult with your professional advisor.

The Taxpayer Advocate office of the IRS has been created to assist taxpayers with their tax debt problems.