Earlier this week, we began a discussion about your rights when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. Many Americans think of the IRS as a bully who can shake you down for money, but this isn't the case.
If you are being audited or otherwise investigated by the agency, you cannot simply ignore communications from the IRS. But you do have some control over when and how any meetings/interviews take place. First of all, you should know that you don't have to (and shouldn't) face the IRS alone. You can hire a tax law attorney or a CPA to represent you in any IRS dealings. Hiring an attorney will greatly reduce the chances that your rights are violated, because you will have a knowledgeable legal advocate right by your side.
In many cases, your attorney can do the negotiating for you. But if, for some reason, you are involved in an IRS interview without your representative present, you have the right to stop that interview until you can consult with him or her. The IRS employee will likely ask to reschedule if the meeting is stopped.
Finally, you also have rights in the latter portions of the process. They include:
- The right to pay only as much money as you owe
- The right to receive a refund if you have overpaid, so long as you apply for a refund within the specified time frame
- The right to appeal a decision made by an audit agent regarding how much tax you allegedly owe
- The right to privacy - No information about you can be disclosed to anyone except information sharing that may be authorized by law
As we mentioned in our last post, the best way to understand and protect your rights is to have a strong advocate by your side. Before you have any interviews or similar encounters with the IRS, you may want to seek the help of an experienced tax law attorney.