Taxpayer Bill of Rights 9: The Right to Retain Representation

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 Retain Representation.

Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if they cannot afford representation.

What you can expect:

  • You may select a person, such as an attorney, certified public accountant or enrolled agent to represent you in an interview with the IRS. You do not have to attend with your representative unless the IRS formally summons you to appear.
  • In most situations, the IRS must suspend an interview if you request to consult with a representative, such as an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent.
  • You may have any attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled actuary, or any other person allowed to represent taxpayers before the IRS submit a written power of attorney to represent you. The person must not be disbarred or suspended from practice before the IRS.
  • If your income is below a certain level, you may ask a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic to represent you in your tax dispute before the IRS or a federal court. The services are free or for a minimal fee. Many LITCs offer services in languages other than English. Although LITCs get partial funding from the IRS, LITCs, their employees and their volunteers are independent of the IRS.

To find out more about the TBOR and what it means to you visit the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s website.

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 bottom of any 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 PDF to the IRS Civil Rights Division.

Additional IRS Resources

IRS Publication 1