Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #8, The Right to Confidentiality

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

FS-2015-15, March 2015

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes the multiple existing rights embedded in the tax code and groups them into 10 broad categories, making them easier to find and understand.

A list of your rights as a taxpayer and IRS obligations to protect them can be found in IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer. It includes The Right to Confidentiality.

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees, return preparers, and others who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.

  • In general, the IRS may not disclose your tax information to third parties unless you give us permission (example: you request that we disclose information in connection with a mortgage or student loan application).
  • In general, the IRS cannot contact third parties like your employer, neighbors or bank to obtain information about adjusting or collecting your tax liability unless it provides you with reasonable notice in advance.
  • If tax return preparers knowingly or recklessly disclose or use your tax information for any reason other than for tax return preparation, they may be subject to criminal fines and prison.

English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese versions of Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, are posted on 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.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer

Additional IRS Resources