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Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #3, The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a cornerstone document that highlights the 10 fundamental rights taxpayers have when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS wants every taxpayer to be aware of these rights in the event they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter. The IRS continues to publicly highlight these rights to taxpayers. The IRS also regularly reminds its employees about these rights. The IRS expects employees to understand and apply taxpayer rights throughout every encounter with taxpayers.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, includes a full list of taxpayers’ rights.

It includes The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax.

Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.

What you can expect:

  • If you believe you have overpaid your taxes, you can file for a refund; however, there are specific time frames in which you must file your claim. For more information, see Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund.
  • If you receive an IRS notice or bill and believe there is an error on it, write to the IRS office that sent it to you within the time frame given. You should provide photocopies of any records that may help correct the error. Also, you may call the number listed on your notice or bill for help. If you are correct, the IRS will make the necessary adjustment to your account and send you a corrected notice.
  • If you discover an error after you file your return, you may need to amend your return. You should file an amended return if there is an error or change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits. However, the IRS may automatically correct math errors on a return, and may accept returns with certain forms or schedules left out. In these cases, you do not need to amend your return. If you disagree with an adjustment the IRS made, you must request within 60 days that the IRS reverse the change. This timeline preserves your right to challenge the proposed adjustment in court, if needed, before paying it. 
  • You may request that any amount owed be removed if it exceeds the correct amount due under the law, if the IRS has assessed it after the period allowed by law, or if the assessment was done in error or violation of the law.
  • You may request that the IRS remove any interest from your account if the IRS caused unreasonable errors or delays. For example, if the IRS delays issuing a statutory notice of deficiency because the assigned IRS employee was away for several months attending training, and interest accrues during this time, the IRS may abate the interest related to the delay.
  • You can submit an offer in compromise, asking the IRS to accept less than the full amount of your tax debt, if you believe you don’t owe all or part of the debt. Use Form 656-L, Offer in Compromise.

If you enter a payment plan, known as an installment agreement, the IRS must send you an annual statement. The statement provides balances and a record of payments.

To find out more about the TBOR and what it means to you visit: http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov.

The IRS offers Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, in several languages. 

By making this important publication available in multiple languages, the IRS hopes to increase the number of Americans who know and understand their rights under the tax law. The IRS has more tax information in other languages too. See the “Languages” menu at the top of any IRS.gov page.

The IRS also is committed to protecting taxpayers’ civil rights. The IRS will not tolerate discrimination based on age, color, disability, race, reprisal, national origin, English proficiency, religion, sex, sexual orientation or status as a parent. This includes any contact with IRS employees and the staff or volunteers at community sites.

If a taxpayer faces discrimination, they can send a written complaint to the IRS Civil Rights Division.

Additional IRS Resources