The 10 Fundamental Rights of the US Taxpayer

If you’ve ever felt that you were powerless against the IRS, you are not alone. Many taxpayers are unaware that they have certain fundamental rights associated with paying taxes that are designed to protect them and their assets. Some of these rights are specific to the IRS while others are rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of the origin, these rights are necessary to ensure integrity of the tax system.

  1. The right to be informed



The right to be informed generally speaks to a taxpayer’s right to understand the tax system and any tax-related actions taken against them. It is the IRS’s duty to explain in simple terms what is required of the taxpayer, both in forms and other paperwork, as well as explain any pending IRS actions against any individual to that individual.

Please note that there are a lot of unscrupulous tax scammers out there, people who know that taxpayers will often panic when they have been contacted by the IRS.  The IRS typically will contact you only by mail, sometimes certified mail, and will seldom contact a taxpayer by telephone.

  1.  The right to quality service

Taxpayers also have the right to be dealt with by the IRS with professionalism and respect. Employees of the IRS have the duty to ensure that the information communicated from their office is easy to understand. Further, taxpayers have the right to report employees who fail to provide quality service.

  1.  The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax

The IRS has the duty to ensure that the amount of taxes charged to a taxpayer is accurate and that when a taxpayer submits payment, all entries regarding credits are correctly entered into their system.

  1.  The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard

If the IRS plans to take action against a taxpayer, the taxpayer has the right to object and, through submitting additional documentation, have their objections reviewed in a timely manner. They also have the right to be informed of the IRS’s position in relation to their objections.

  1.  The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum

Taxpayers have the right to take their cases to court, or to be heard in front of an IRS administrative hearing that’s fair and impartial. They also have the right to hear about the decisions made during and after the hearing.

  1.  The right to finality

The right to finality regarding time: the IRS must notify the taxpayer in relation to the time they have to appeal a decision, how long the IRS has to audit, and when an audit is complete.

  1.  The right to privacy

The IRS must abide by all laws, including the right to privacy and due process. If needed, the IRS must provide the taxpayer with a due process collection hearing.  

  1.  The right to confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right for their information to remain confidential, and have a course of action against anyone who violates the confidentiality of their tax information.

  1.  The right to retain representation

Taxpayers can hire any attorney of their choosing to represent them in IRS actions. Assistance for those who cannot afford their own counsel is provided.

  1.  The right to a fair and just tax system

Taxpayers have the right to be treated fairly by the IRS—this includes consideration of any special circumstances that may be relevant. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (a quasi-independent agency of the IRS that reports directly to Congree) can address any mishandlings or issues the taxpayer has about any IRS action.

The Law Office of Morgan Maxwell can help you fight the IRS

Our office is very experienced in dealing with the IRS on behalf of taxpayers.  The IRS knows that most people are instinctively intimidated by the IRS, which is why it is important to have an experienced advocate in dealing with the IRS. If you need assistance with an IRS action, please contact our office online at

Written by E. Morgan Maxwell

E. Morgan Maxwell

Since beginning his own firm, Mr. Maxwell has continued a tax-law oriented practice encompassing a wide range of transactions, planning and dispute resolution. His dispute resolution experience includes involvement at all levels of the Internal Revenue Service (Examinations, Appeals, Collections, Office of Professional Responsibility, the U.S. Tax Court), the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, the Tax Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, Common Pleas Court and local taxing jurisdictions in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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