What the right to be informed means for taxpayers

IRS Tax Tip 2023-14, February 6, 2023

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of the IRS mission that highlights the 10 fundamental rights taxpayers have when working with the IRS. All taxpayers should familiarize themselves with these rights.

This is part of series of tips on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Each month, Tax Tips will take a closer look at one of the categories within this legal framework.

Let's start at the top with the first taxpayer right. Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. This is also known as the Right to be Informed.

The right to be informed means taxpayers have the right to:

  • Know and understand 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.
  • Receive clear explanations of the outcomes of IRS decisions.

To make sure taxpayers are informed, the IRS will:

  • Include within certain notices any amount of the tax, interest and certain penalties the taxpayer owes.
  • Explain why the taxpayer owes any balance due.
  • Explain the specific reasons why it denied a refund claim.
  • Post information on IRS.gov to help taxpayers understand their IRS notice or letter.
  • Send a letter when the agency makes an assessment. 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.
  • Send an annual statement to taxpayers who enter into a payment plan. 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.
  • Make forms and publications available on IRS.gov.
  • Use social media to provide helpful tax information to a wide audience of taxpayers.

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