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IRS Your Rights as a

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer
Publication 1
(Rev. May 2005)
Catalog Number 64731W The first part of this publication explains some of your most important rights as a
taxpayer. The second part explains the examination, appeal, collection, and refund
processes. This publication is also available in Spanish.

Declaration of Taxpayer Rights

I. Protection of Your Rights V. Payment of Only the

Correct Amount of Tax
IRS employees will explain and protect
your rights as a taxpayer throughout your You are responsible for paying only the
contact with us. correct amount of tax due under the
law—no more, no less. If you cannot pay
all of your tax when it is due, you may be
II. Privacy and able to make monthly installment
Confidentiality payments.

The IRS will not disclose to anyone the

information you give us, except as VI. Help With Unresolved
authorized by law. You have the right to Tax Problems
know why we are asking you for
information, how we will use it, and what The Taxpayer Advocate Service can help
happens if you do not provide requested
THE IRS MISSION information.
you if you have tried unsuccessfully to
resolve a problem with the IRS. Your
local Taxpayer Advocate can offer you
PROVIDE AMERICA’S special help if you have a significant
TAXPAYERS TOP QUALITY III. Professional and hardship as a result of a tax problem.
Courteous Service For more information, call toll free
SERVICE BY HELPING THEM 1–877–777–4778 (1–800–829–4059 for
If you believe that an IRS employee has TTY/TDD) or write to the Taxpayer
UNDERSTAND AND MEET not treated you in a professional, fair, and Advocate at the IRS office that last
courteous manner, you should tell that contacted you.
THEIR TAX RESPONSIBILITIES employee’s supervisor. If the supervisor’s
AND BY APPLYING THE TAX response is not satisfactory, you should
write to the IRS director for your area or
LAW WITH INTEGRITY AND the center where you file your return. VII. Appeals and Judicial
IV. Representation If you disagree with us about the amount
of your tax liability or certain collection
You may either represent yourself or, actions, you have the right to ask the
with proper written authorization, have Appeals Office to review your case. You
someone else represent you in your may also ask a court to review your case.
place. Your representative must be a
person allowed to practice before the
IRS, such as an attorney, certified public VIII. Relief From Certain
accountant, or enrolled agent. If you are
in an interview and ask to consult such a Penalties and Interest
person, then we must stop and
reschedule the interview in most cases. The IRS will waive penalties when
allowed by law if you can show you
You can have someone accompany you acted reasonably and in good faith or
at an interview. You may make sound relied on the incorrect advice of an IRS
recordings of any meetings with our employee. We will waive interest that is
examination, appeal, or collection the result of certain errors or delays
personnel, provided you tell us in writing caused by an IRS employee.
10 days before the meeting.
FLAT SIZE: 216mm (81⁄2 ") x 279mm (11")

on which the IRS first attempted to collect

the tax from you. For example, the
Examinations, Appeals, Collections, two-year period for filing your claim may
start if the IRS applies your tax refund
and Refunds from one year to the taxes that you and
your spouse owe for another year. For
more information on innocent spouse
Examinations (Audits) we can see if we should discontinue the relief, see Publication 971, Innocent
examination. Spouse Relief, and Form 8857.
We accept most taxpayers’ returns as
filed. If we inquire about your return or Appeals
select it for examination, it does not Potential Third Party
suggest that you are dishonest. The If you do not agree with the examiner’s Contacts
inquiry or examination may or may not proposed changes, you can appeal them
to the Appeals Office of IRS. Most Generally, the IRS will deal directly with
result in more tax. We may close your you or your duly authorized
case without change; or, you may receive differences can be settled without
expensive and time-consuming court representative. However, we sometimes
a refund. talk with other persons if we need
The process of selecting a return for trials. Your appeal rights are explained in
detail in both Publication 5, Your Appeal information that you have been unable to
examination usually begins in one of two provide, or to verify information we have
ways. First, we use computer programs to Rights and How To Prepare a Protest If
You Don’t Agree, and Publication 556, received. If we do contact other persons,
identify returns that may have incorrect such as a neighbor, bank, employer, or
amounts. These programs may be based Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights,
and Claims for Refund. employees, we will generally need to tell
on information returns, such as Forms them limited information, such as your
1099 and W-2, on studies of past If you do not wish to use the Appeals
Office or disagree with its findings, you name. The law prohibits us from
examinations, or on certain issues disclosing any more information than is
identified by compliance projects. may be able to take your case to the U.S.
Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, necessary to obtain or verify the
Second, we use information from outside information we are seeking. Our need to
sources that indicates that a return may or the U.S. District Court where you live. If
you take your case to court, the IRS will contact other persons may continue as
have incorrect amounts. These sources long as there is activity in your case. If we
may include newspapers, public records, have the burden of proving certain facts if
you kept adequate records to show your do contact other persons, you have a right
and individuals. If we determine that the to request a list of those contacted.
information is accurate and reliable, we tax liability, cooperated with the IRS, and
may use it to select a return for meet certain other conditions. If the court
agrees with you on most issues in your Refunds
Publication 556, Examination of case and finds that our position was You may file a claim for refund if you think
Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for largely unjustified, you may be able to you paid too much tax. You must
Refund, explains the rules and procedures recover some of your administrative and generally file the claim within 3 years from
that we follow in examinations. The litigation costs. You will not be eligible to the date you filed your original return or 2
following sections give an overview of recover these costs unless you tried to years from the date you paid the tax,
how we conduct examinations. resolve your case administratively, whichever is later. The law generally
including going through the appeals provides for interest on your refund if it is
By Mail system, and you gave us the information not paid within 45 days of the date you
necessary to resolve the case. filed your return or claim for refund.
We handle many examinations and Publication 556, Examination of Returns,
inquiries by mail. We will send you a letter Collections Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund, has
with either a request for more information more information on refunds.
or a reason why we believe a change to Publication 594, The IRS Collection
your return may be needed. You can Process, explains your rights and If you were due a refund but you did not
respond by mail or you can request a responsibilities regarding payment of file a return, you generally must file your
personal interview with an examiner. If you federal taxes. It describes: return within 3 years from the date the
return was due (including extensions) to
mail us the requested information or ● What to do when you owe taxes. It
provide an explanation, we may or may get that refund.
describes what to do if you get a tax
not agree with you, and we will explain the bill and what to do if you think your bill Tax Information
reasons for any changes. Please do not is wrong. It also covers making The IRS provides the following sources
hesitate to write to us about anything you installment payments, delaying for forms, publications, and additional
do not understand. collection action, and submitting an information.
offer in compromise.
By Interview ● Tax Questions: 1–800–829–1040
● IRS collection actions. It covers liens, (1–800–829–4059 for TTY/TDD)
If we notify you that we will conduct your releasing a lien, levies, releasing a
examination through a personal interview, levy, seizures and sales, and release ● Forms and Publications:
or you request such an interview, you of property. 1–800–829–3676 (1–800–829–4059
have the right to ask that the examination for TTY/TDD)
Your collection appeal rights are
take place at a reasonable time and place explained in detail in Publication 1660, ● Internet:
that is convenient for both you and the Collection Appeal Rights. ● Small Business Ombudsman: A
IRS. If our examiner proposes any small business entity can participate
changes to your return, he or she will Innocent Spouse Relief in the regulatory process and
explain the reasons for the changes. If you comment on enforcement actions of
do not agree with these changes, you can Generally, both you and your spouse are
each responsible for paying the full IRS by calling 1-888-REG-FAIR.
meet with the examiner’s supervisor.
amount of tax, interest, and penalties due ● Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Repeat Examinations on your joint return. However, if you Administration: You can
qualify for innocent spouse relief, you may confidentially report misconduct,
If we examined your return for the same be relieved of part or all of the joint waste, fraud, or abuse by an IRS
items in either of the 2 previous years and liability. To request relief, you must file employee by calling 1–800–366–4484
proposed no change to your tax liability, Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse (1–800–877–8339 for TTY/TDD). You
please contact us as soon as possible so Relief no later than 2 years after the date can remain anonymous.

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