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Understanding the IRS' obligations under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights - II

With April's tax deadline continuing to get closer, there are more than likely a few people anxious about filing their tax returns for one reason or another. For instance, they might fear that a nonstandard -- yet otherwise legitimate -- deduction will somehow raise red flags at Internal Revenue Service, meaning they will soon find themselves at the mercy of the agency's seemingly endless resources.

While it's understandable how the idea of having to deal with the IRS can seem a bit intimidating, taxpayers must know that they have clearly defined rights thanks to the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights," something that we started examining in our last post.

In today's post, we'll continue exploring these rights.

The right to challenge the IRS' position and be heard

This provision establishes the important principle that formal IRS actions and proposed actions are not a one-sided affair, meaning taxpayers not only have the right to raise objections to either, but also to submit additional documentation.

Furthermore, taxpayers have the right to presume that the agency will consider both their objections and their supplementary documentation, and supply a response if it does not agree with the position they advance.

The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum

This provision grants taxpayers the right to pursue a fair and impartial appeal of an otherwise adverse IRS decision (including penalties) with the Office of Appeals, and the right to secure a written response concerning any decision reached.

It's important to note that taxpayers are similarly granted the right to pursue their cases in court.

The right to finality

This provision declares that taxpayers have the right to know how much time the IRS has to pursue a tax debt or conduct an audit of particular tax year, and the right to know when any audit is completed.

Another extension of this right to finality is that taxpayers have the right to know just how long they have to challenge the position taken by the IRS.

While the forgoing conversation may have been somewhat nerve wracking for taxpayers, it should also have been somewhat empowering. Indeed, if you would like to learn more about your rights as a taxpayer, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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