Although many people distrust or even fear of the IRS, the agency actually strives to help taxpayers as much as possible. Much of the dislike stems from having to part with hard-earned money and hearing scary stories of people getting audited and ending up with debt, wage garnishment, property seized, or worse. It doesn’t help that the complexity of the tax code makes it difficult for most people to understand the tax return process.
The confusion surrounding taxes also makes it difficult for most taxpayers to feel confident in exchanges with the IRS, no matter the issue at hand. To help, the IRS crafted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights to make it a bit easier for you to know your rights in regards to paying your taxes and dealing with the IRS, even when you have not filed a return or paid your taxes. Over the next few months, we are going to go into depth on each part of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights to help you better understand them.
To begin with, we have your number one right: The Right to Be Informed.
Clear and Understandable Language
Although the Tax Code is complex, you have the right to understand what you have to do in order to remain in compliance with the IRS. The agency must provide clear explanations on your required actions in the tax instructions, publications, and forms. Additionally, any correspondence or notices must be in easy to understand language. As part of this right, the IRS also offers many forms and publications in several languages other than English.
Despite its best intentions, the tax forms or publications remain difficult for many to decipher. Agents at the IRS can walk you through the forms to help you better understand them, you can work with an independent organization advocating for your rights such as the Tax Payer Advocate Service, or you can work with professional tax preparation services.
When the IRS sends you notices or other forms of communication, they must use clear language. Notices must include the amount you owe, as well as any penalties or interest fees added to it. There will also be an explanation for your tax bill. The IRS also has a page on their website to help you understand what the notice means, as well as the actions you need to take to prevent collective action and the process for an appeal.
If you have been audited or the IRS has submitted a tax return on your behalf because you did not file one but were supposed to, leaving you with a tax bill, the IRS must explain the process in a letter to you. Additionally, this letter will include the options you have for a third-party review and your ability to appeal the decision.
The IRS also must communicate with you if they choose to garnish any or all of your refund. You can also check the balance of your payments for an Installment Agreement, and you will receive an annual statement.
As the name of this right suggests, you have the right to know what is going on with your tax situation. The IRS must inform you about any outstanding tax in a way that clearly states your requirements. Additionally, they must take care to try to present the complexities of the tax code in a way that is easier to understand to the normal person. To further help with that, the IRS provides informational tools in several locations, including on their social media pages.
Despite the attempts to effectively communicate and make things clear and understandable to taxpayers, there are times where working with a professional is necessary. They have more experience with negotiating with the IRS and know the right forms and procedures to minimize the risk of making mistakes. That is why many taxpayers still use tax preparers for their returns and use tax relief services or a tax attorney when they receive letters from the IRS saying they owe money.
If you need help with your tax bill, contact Fidelity Tax Relief at 877-372-2520. Our tax professionals will review your case and discuss options with you. You may be eligible for one of the tax relief programs, such as Currently Not Collectible, Offer in Compromise, Penalty Abatement, or Installment Agreement.