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Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #5, The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

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 Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum.

Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including many penalties, and have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals’ decision. Taxpayers generally have the right to take their cases to court.

What you can expect:

  • The IRS Commissioner must ensure that there is an independent IRS Office of Appeals. It’s an office that is separate from the IRS office that initially reviewed your case. Generally, Appeals will not discuss a case with the IRS to the extent that those communications appear to compromise the independence of Appeals.
  • Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree, tells you how to appeal your tax case if you don’t agree with the IRS’s findings.
  • If the IRS has sent you a statutory notice of deficiency, which is a notice proposing additional tax, and you timely file a petition with the United States Tax Court, you may dispute the proposed adjustment in tax court before you have to pay the tax. For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.
  • Generally, if you fully paid the tax and the IRS denies your tax refund claim, or if the IRS takes no action on the claim within six months, then you may file a refund suit. You can file a suit in a United States District Court or the United States Court of Federal Claims. However, you generally have only two years to file a refund suit from the date the IRS mails you a notice that denies your claim.

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