Taxpayer Bill of Rights: #9, The Right to Retain Representation


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

FS-2016-18, March 2016

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) is a cornerstone document providing the nation’s taxpayers with fundamental rights when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS wants every taxpayer to be aware of these rights when dealing with the agency.

The IRS continues to highlight these 10 fundamental rights for taxpayers and share them extensively with employees. Last year, Congress added these rights to the Internal Revenue Code, which now requires the IRS Commissioner to ensure IRS employees are familiar with and act in accordance with the TBOR.

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 TaxpayerPDF.

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.
  • Any attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled actuary, or any other person permitted to represent a taxpayer before the IRS, who is not disbarred or suspended from practice before the IRS, may submit a written power of attorney to represent a taxpayer before the IRS.
  • If your current income is below a certain level, you may ask a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) to represent you (for free or a minimal fee) in your tax dispute before the IRS or a federal court. Many LITCs offer services in languages other than English. Although LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS, LITCs, their employees and their volunteers, are completely independent of the IRS.

To find out more about the TBOR and what it means to you visit:

In addition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the IRS is committed to ensuring that your civil rights are also protected. Taxpayers are not subjected to discrimination based on race, color, national origin, reprisal, disability, age, sex (including sexual orientation and pregnancy discrimination), religion, or parental status in programs or services conducted by the IRS or on its behalf. If a taxpayer believes he or she has been discriminated against, a written complaintPDF can be emailed to or mailed to the IRS Civil Rights Division.

The IRS also has a robust source of tax information available to Spanish-speaking taxpayers online at Versions of Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, are also posted online at in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. 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. Additionally, the IRS has programs in place to assist taxpayers with limited English proficiency and to provide reasonable accommodations for taxpayers with disabilities.

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