The mere name of the IRS strikes fear into many people. If the IRS is questioning your tax returns or taking some sort of collection action against you, you do have rights. Be aware that the IRS will most certainly go after you if it believes that you are violating the law. If you run into trouble with the IRS, it is essential to seek assistance right away. It is important to be aware that you have taxpayer rights.
Understanding the Timing
The tax code does not give you much leeway as to when you must pay back a debt to the IRS. Your options, in fact, are rather limited. You may pay the amount in full, pay an offer in compromise for a reduced amount, set up a monthly installment agreement, or ask the IRS to suspend their collection activity because you are financially unable to pay the debt. In some cases, even bankruptcy may be an option. If you want to wait it out, it will take ten years for the statute of limitations to expire; and, unfortunately, there are many ways that you can end up extending the statute of limitations without meaning to.
You have the right to representation. Because the IRS will obviously have an edge on you where the tax code is concerned, it is essential that you take advantage of this right. You can utilize the services of a certified public accountant, an attorney, or an agent to represent you. Your hired representative must be authorized to practice in front of the IRS, so it is important to hire professional assistance in all cases.
When you are at a meeting, you have the right to record everything, to take notes, and to take someone along with you; however, you must inform the IRS collections agent that you intend to do so within ten days of the scheduled meeting.
The IRS will not give your information to third parties. There are non-disclosure agreements, which accompany installment agreements, to prevent your credit from being ruined by having back taxes reported on your account.
In addition, the IRS may request information that you do not have or do not wish to provide. In either case, the IRS will inform you what will happen should you be unable or unwilling to produce the requested information.
Asking for Leniency
If you face a great deal of hardship because of unpaid taxes, you can contact a Taxpayer Advocate for assistance. It may be more beneficial and productive, however, to have your attorney or accountant handle this process for you.
You have the right to appeal a decision by the IRS if you disagree with it.
Pay the Right Amount
Your representation may propose a change to the amount you must pay the IRS. If the IRS accepts this proposal, you are only liable for that amount. The IRS cannot make you pay more than the taxes you owe.
If you are ever contacted by the IRS, you must act right away. It is essential to hire professional representation or, if the IRS is correct in its assessment, pay the amount you owe.