Taxpayer Bill of Rights: The right to confidentiality

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Tax Tip 2020-38, March 18, 2020

The IRS won't share any information a taxpayer gives IRS with outside parties, unless allowed by the taxpayer or by law. This is the right to confidentiality - the eighth of ten rights taxpayers have under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

The right to confidentiality means:

  • The IRS won't give a any information to a third party without permission from the taxpayer.
  • The agency can't contact third parties such as an employer, neighbor, or bank for information unless the they give taxpayer reasonable notice first.
  • The same confidentiality a taxpayer has with an attorney also applies to tax professionals working with the IRS on the taxpayer's behalf.

Confidential communications include conversations, messages, documents, and info that:

  • Fall within the tax professional's authority to practice before the IRS, but it doesn't include tax return preparation.
  • Are considered private or restricted between the taxpayer and their attorney.
  • Relate to noncriminal tax matters with the IRS, or noncriminal tax cases in federal court.

Also, tax professionals can't share or use their clients' tax information for any reason other than preparing a return.

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