The Right to Be Informed – Taxpayer Bill of Rights #1

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Tax Tip 2018-22, February 12, 2018

All taxpayers have basic rights when filing taxes and dealing with the IRS. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes the multiple existing rights in the nation’s tax code and groups them into 10 categories. This makes them easier to find, understand and use. This tip is one in a series outlining these rights.

The right to be informed is the first one highlighted in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Taxpayers have the right to:

  • Know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws.
  • Have clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence.
  • Be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts, and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.

The IRS will take these actions to make sure taxpayers are informed:

  • Certain notices must include any amount of the tax, interest and certain penalties the taxpayer owes.
  • The IRS must explain why the taxpayer owes any taxes.
  • When the IRS disallows a claim for a refund, the agency must explain the specific reasons why.
  • The IRS posts information on to help taxpayers understand their IRS notice or letter.
  •  If the IRS proposes to assess tax, the agency sends an initial letter. That letter must include:
    • Information on how the taxpayer can appeal the decision.
    • An explanation of the entire process from audit through collection.
    • Details on how the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help.
  • The IRS must send an annual statement to taxpayers who enter into a payment plan, which is also known as an installment agreement. The statement will include how much the taxpayer:
    • Owes at the beginning of the year.
    • Paid during the year.
    • Still owes at the end of the year.
  • IRS makes forms and publications available on Taxpayers can also have hard copies mailed to them by calling 800-829-3676.
  • IRS uses social media to provide helpful tax information to a wide audience of taxpayers.