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Your rights as a taxpayer

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IRS employees will explain and protect your rights as a taxpayer throughout your contact with the IRS. The IRS will not disclose to anyone the information you give us, except as authorized by law. You have the right to know why the IRS is asking for information, how it will be used, and what happens if you do not provide the requested information. Refer to Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer.


You may represent yourself or, with proper written authorization, have someone else represent you. Your representative must be a person allowed to practice before the IRS, such as an attorney, certified public accountant or enrolled agent.


The IRS accepts most taxpayers’ returns as filed. If the IRS inquires about your return or selects it for examination, that does not suggest you are dishonest. The inquiry or examination may or may not result in more tax; your case may be closed without change or you may receive a refund.

Appeals and Judicial Review

Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don’t Agree (PDF), explains your right to disagree with an examiner’s proposed changes and request the case be reviewed by the IRS Appeals Office. If you do not wish to use the Appeals process or disagree with the Appeals findings, you may be able to take your case to the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, or U.S. District Court.


Pay Only the Correct Amount

If you can’t pay all the tax due, you may be able to make monthly installment payments. Penalties and interest for late payment will still apply unless reasonable cause is established. Even if you can’t pay the total tax due, be sure to file all tax returns timely to avoid a late filing penalty.

Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process (PDF), explains your rights and responsibilities regarding payment of federal taxes. It describes what to do when you owe taxes and the collection actions the IRS may take.

Help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS, created to assist taxpayers seeking help in resolving tax problems that are not resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. To contact TAS, call 877-777-4778 or 800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD or visit the Taxpayer Advocate Service page on IRS.gov to see if you are eligible for assistance.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

If you believe your small business has been the subject of excessive or unfair regulatory enforcement or compliance actions from any federal agency, you may file a complaint with the Small Business Administration’s national ombudsman under the authority of SBREFA. To contact the SBA regarding SBREFA, call 202-205-2417 or e-mail [email protected]/.