Taxes are an inescapable part of life. For most people, filing taxes represents a minor inconvenience on a yearly basis. However, conflicts with the Internal Revenue Service may arise. These may be more likely if you have a complicated financial situation, such as owning a business or investing in real estate.

In your dealings with the IRS, you may feel that you are at a disadvantage. However, there is a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that outlines the treatment that your status as a taxpayer entitles you to receive.

Right to challenge the IRS’s position

If you believe a decision or action by the IRS is erroneous or unfair, you have the right to raise an objection in a timely manner and to provide additional documentation to support your position. You should receive a prompt response from the IRS and fair consideration of your objection.

Right to finality

There is a limited window of opportunity in which you can challenge an action by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS expects you to act in a timely manner, but it must inform you how much time you have to issue a challenge. It must also outline a reasonable time frame in which it must collect a tax debt from you or complete an audit.

Right to an independent appeal

The appeal of a penalty or other decision by the IRS usually takes place administratively through the Office of Appeals. However, taking your case to court, a forum independent of the Internal Revenue Service, is another option available to you.

Right to quality service

When speaking to a representative of the Internal Revenue Service, you have the right to professional and courteous assistance. If your communication with an IRS representative falls short of this standard, you have the right to discuss it with a supervisor.

Right to retain representation

When dealing with the IRS, you have the right to retain an authorized representative of your choice. This may include a tax attorney, although there are also other options available.