The Taxpayer Bill of Rights: Ten Rights for All Taxpayers

merica’s taxpayers have specific rights when they interact with the IRS. These ten rights are known collectively as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights or TABOR. These rights cover a wide range of topics and issues, and lay out what taxpayers can expect in the event they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter. This includes when a taxpayer is filing a return, paying taxes, responding to a letter, going through an audit or appealing an IRS decision.

A long time coming

The taxpayer bill of rights had been debated for almost 20 years until the IRS announced in 2014 the adoption of the document as a cornerstone to providing citizens with a better understanding of their rights. The IRS released the Taxpayer Bill of Rights following extensive discussions with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office inside the IRS that represents the interests of U.S. taxpayers. Beginning in 2007, adopting a Taxpayer Bill of Rights was a top priority of National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. After the legislation passed, Olson commented on the new law, “Congress has passed multiple pieces of legislation with the title of ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights, however, taxpayer surveys conducted by my office have found that most taxpayers do not believe they have rights before the IRS and even fewer can name their rights. I believe the list of core taxpayer rights the IRS is announcing today will help taxpayers better understand their rights in dealing with the tax system.”

Ten tips for exploring your rights

Similar to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights contains 10 provisions. The IRS recently issued a series of 10 Tax Tips, each exploring one of the 10 rights in depth. Here are the 10 rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights with links to the Tax Tips in this recent series:

The Right to Be Informed

The Right to Quality Service

The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

The Right to Finality

The Right to Privacy

The Right to Confidentiality

The Right to Retain Representation

The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

The taxpayer bill of rights is not new, but it is important and part of our rights as citizens. If you need help interpreting your rights or understanding other tax related issues, be sure to contact your tax professional.