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September 1997
The Internal Revenue Service touches the lives of almost every American. The
IRS is striving to ensure that all taxpayer contacts are conducted in a courteous,
respectful manner. The most important consideration for the IRS in these contacts is
the protection of a taxpayer’s rights. The IRS has taken many steps in written rules, in
policies, in training, in guidance and in evaluations, to ensure taxpayers’ rights are
All IRS employees who have contact with taxpayers are trained in IRS’s
commitment to the fair and impartial treatment of taxpayers. IRS employees in
Collection, Examination and Customer Service all receive training on the
provision of both the first and the second Taxpayer Bill of Rights as well as
training in quality customer service.
Customer Service Representatives who answer taxpayers’ questions on both tax
law and on individual accounts are regularly monitored, not just for the accuracy
of their answers, but also for how courteously they treat taxpayers.
Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, is given to every taxpayer selected for
an audit. This publication outlines a taxpayer’s right to privacy and
confidentiality, to professional and courteous service, to representation, to help
from the Problem Resolution Office, and to administrative and judicial review.
These rights are guaranteed by law.
IRS’s Policy Statement P-1-20, approved in 1973 and used for all enforcement
officers, appeals officers and reviewers, strictly prohibits the use of enforcement
results and statistics to evaluate those officers. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights,
passed in 1988, made this policy law.
Taxpayers who have encountered difficulties resolving problems through normal
IRS channels may be helped by the Problem Resolution Program. Generally, if
the Service has not resolved a problem within a reasonable amount of time, or
after a couple of inquiries by the taxpayer, the problem qualifies for PRP

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The enactment of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights authorized “Taxpayer Assistance
Orders,” which provide relief for taxpayers who might suffer hardships as a result
of a planned enforcement action by the IRS. In 1996, the IRS received
approximately 30,000 requests for relief. More than 35% of these requests were
initiated by IRS employees who recognized the potential hardship and took
steps to stop the enforcement action.
Enforcement managers are required to prepare quarterly certifications for the
district director to report any violations of the proper use of statistics. These
certifications must give a detailed description of the violation and what corrective
action was taken. The district director must then send this certification forward
to the Commissioner.
Revenue officers and revenue agents are evaluated on a variety of job
standards that include customer relations. This standard requires agents to
conduct themselves in a “courteous, firm and professional manner.” In addition,
this standard requires agents to ensure that they fully explain to taxpayers their
rights under the law.
The Collection Appeals process allows certain collection actions, such as filing
of liens or seizures, to be appealed either before or after the action occurs.
Normally, the IRS will stop the collection action until the appeal is settled.
The training, the policies and the procedures that the IRS has put in place
contribute to ensuring that taxpayers are treated with respect and dignity, and that their
rights are protected. These rights are guaranteed by law. Many of these laws are
contained within the Internal Revenue Code. Some of those sections covered by the
code are as follows:
Sec. 6331(d) - (added by TBOR 1) - Requires notice in writing 30 days prior to making
a levy.
Sec. 6343(d) - (added by TBOR 2) - Authorizes the return of levied property in certain
Sec. 6323(j) - (added by TBOR 2) - Authorizes the release of filed lien in certain cases.
Sec. 6326 - Allows for the administrative appeal of liens.
Sec. 7605 - Protects taxpayers from being subject to unnecessary audits.

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Sec. 7609 - Requires notice to taxpayer when summons is made to third party.
Sec. 7811 - Authorizes Taxpayer Assistance Orders.
Sec. 7430 - Allows for awards of reasonable administrative costs and reasonable
litigation costs when IRS advances unreasonable positions.
Sec. 7431 - Authorizes civil action for damages for disclosure of return and return
Sec. 7432 - Authorizes civil action for damages for failure to properly release lien.
Sec. 7433 - Authorizes civil action for damages for certain unauthorized collection
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