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The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax – Taxpayer Bill of Rights #3

IRS Tax Tip 2018-29, February 26, 2018

Taxpayers have the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax they owe. This is one of ten basic rights known collectively as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. This tip is the third in a series outlining these rights.

Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due. This includes interest and penalties. Additionally, taxpayers can expect to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.

Here are some things taxpayers should know about the right to pay no more than the correct amount:

  • Taxpayers who overpaid their taxes can file for a refund. Taxpayers must file a claim for a credit or refund by the later of these two dates:
    • Three years from the date they filed their original return.
    • Two years from the date they paid the tax.
  • Taxpayers who receive a letter from the IRS should review the information in it. The taxpayers who believe the information is incorrect should contact the office listed in the letter. The letter also provides a date by which the taxpayer should respond. 
  • The IRS may automatically correct math errors on a return. Taxpayers who disagree with the adjustment must request that the IRS reverse the change. The taxpayer has 60 days to make this request from the time the IRS made the change, or otherwise the taxpayer will lose the right to dispute the adjustment in United States Tax Court before paying the tax.
  • Taxpayers may request that the IRS remove any interest from their account caused by unreasonable IRS errors or delays. For example, this could happen if the IRS delays issuing a late notice because an IRS employee was out of the office, and interest accrues during that time. 
  • If a taxpayer believes they do not owe all or part of their bill, they can submit an offer in compromise. This offer asks the IRS to accept less than the full amount owed. To do this, taxpayers use Form 656-L, Offer in Compromise.
  • Some taxpayers enter a payment plan to pay their taxes. This plan is an installment agreement. The IRS must send these taxpayers an annual statement that provides how much the taxpayer:
    • Owes at the beginning of the year.
    • Paid during the year.
    • Still owes at the end of the year.

More Information:
Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund
Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer