Articles

“Taxpayer Bill of Rights”

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Taxes on December 21, 2014 by Sufen Wang

bill (1)Right On!: IRS Releases “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” in 6 Languages
 
The Tax Season is approaching fast, do you know your Rights?  Every American who pays taxes has a right to know how the heck paying taxes actually works. Tax laws written in plain English are difficult to understand even for native English speakers, let alone individuals who aren’t fluent in English, but nobody should have to throw up their hands up in dismay and remain confused.
 
That’s what the IRS “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” is all about – yes, for once the words “bill” and “tax” mean something good! Newly-revised and released as Publication 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer,” this cornerstone document outlines 10 key rights which every taxpayer should know they have under the tax law. And it’s freshly available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese. For your convenience, here’s a breakdown of the provisions:   
 
man-with-megaphone1. The Right to Be Informed
This is a biggie because tax laws change often. If you don’t have access to the most up-to-date tax info, or a way to understand that info, you’re not going to be able to file your taxes correctly – and that’s going to cause a trickle-down effect of problems. 
 
2. The Right to Quality Service
Plain and simple, doing business with the IRS might not be the most desirable activity on your day-planner, but it should never be a pain in the butt. If you don’t receive prompt and professional service from an IRS representative, you’re allowed to pull the “I’d like to speak to a supervisor” card.
 
tax house3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
Not much more to be said here – the “correct” amount of tax is the “correct” amount. That being said, see Provision 4 below.
 
4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
The IRS isn’t always correct. The agency is also not the Big Bad Wolf. You can speak up if you disagree with the IRS’ position, and if you do everything by the book, you will be heard and responded to either way.
 
5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous provision – you have the right to take away the IRS’ home court advantage and argue your case elsewhere.
 
6. The Right to Finality
Life is already filled with a lot of open-ended things, and deadlines having to do with taxes and audits definitely aren’t suppposed to be one of them. 
 
7. The Right to Privacy
This means you don’t have to worry about the IRS catching you with your metaphorical pants down. The IRS has to go through all the proper, legal steps when conducting inquiries, examinations, etc. – whatever action they’re taking against the taxpayer.
 
8confidential. The Right to Confidentiality
The information you give to the IRS is probably the most confidential data you have, except for maybe the log-in credentials to your significant other’s Facebook account. Accordingly, you should feel safe and sound giving your info to the IRS, and know that it will be kept secure.
 
9. The Right to Retain Representation
Don’t want anything to do personally with the IRS? You don’t have to – you’re not alone in this. Anyone can pick an authorized representative of their choice to deal with the IRS. 
 
10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System
You can bet your bottom dollar that this one’s the bottom line. Nothing is ever black and white, and the tax system is set-up to consider all your circumstances if you’re having trouble meeting your tax obligations. And you’ve always got a friend in the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you’re having tax trouble.
 
bill3In summary, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes multiple existing rights basically hidden in the tax code and groups them into 10 broad categories, making them way easier to find. The whole point is for every American to know and understand their rights under the tax law, and the IRS is taking one step towards this by making Publication 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer,” available in six languages.
 
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said, “We believe that these rights are critically important for people to know and understand, and translating them into additional languages helps us reach even more taxpayers. We encourage people to take a moment to read the Bill of Rights.” Now that you’ve taken a moment, spread the word in as many languages as you know!
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Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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