Last week in our series looking closer at the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, we looked at number one, which was the Right to be Informed. Closely related to that right is this week’s focus, number two: The Right to Quality Service. With this right, you are assured prompt and professional service from all IRS agents.
As part of their efforts to provide quality customer service, the IRS wants to ensure that their agents and employees treat taxpayers with respect. This right ensures that if you feel as though an IRS agent has mistreated you, you can request to work with someone else. Additionally, if you feel that your assigned IRS agent is not explaining things thoroughly, not communicating in a timely fashion, or otherwise not providing excellent service, you have the right to speak to a supervisor and get reassigned if necessary.
When you work with an agent, you should be able to understand and comprehend the communications that you receive, which is also part of your Right to be Informed. The IRS is available during business hours to answer questions by phone if you have questions about your tax issue that you cannot resolve on your own through reviewing their website and published documents.
One thing to note is to always ensure that you speak to the IRS directly. On all communication you receive from them, it will have a phone number. The IRS never calls you out of the blue; any phone calls you may receive will come as part of a process you instigated with an agent you have already been in contact with. They will reach out to you during business hours and will not contact you at your place of work if they believe that you cannot receive these types of calls.
The IRS also must provide information to help you, such as telling you to contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service or inform you if you are eligible for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Assistance, which can give you some legal help under some circumstances.
Watch out for Scams
When dealing with an IRS agent, you have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy. Tax scams often involve bullying and threats; an IRS agent should never use this type of intimidation. If you are speaking with the IRS and experience this, then you need to file a complaint and ask to be given a different agent.
If you do not receive the correct information from an IRS agent or the agent otherwise performs an action that hurts your tax status, such as leading to penalties or interest fees, then you have the right to appeal the decision and have any penalties removed if you can prove it was due to misinformation from the IRS.
The second taxpayer right focuses on ensuring you have a good experience when dealing with the IRS agents. Although the IRS may have a reputation for being intimidating and scary, the agents will treat you with respect and answer your questions.
Despite the right to quality service, you may still wish to work with a professional rather than deal with the IRS yourself. Working with a tax attorney or a tax relief company such as Fidelity Tax Relief removes the burden from you so that you do not have to worry about any interaction with the IRS. It also improves your chance of a successful outcome, thanks to their experience and networking with the IRS.