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Publication 1 (Rev. 5-2005)
Page 1
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Your Rights as a
Taxpayer
Publication 1
(Rev. May 2005)
Catalog Number 64731W
The first part of this publication explains some of your most important rights as a
taxpayer. The second part explains the examination, appeal, collection, and refund
processes. This publication is also available in Spanish.
I. Protection of Your Rights
IRS employees will explain and protect
your rights as a taxpayer throughout your
contact with us.
II. Privacy and
Confidentiality
The IRS will not disclose to anyone the
information you give us, except as
authorized by law. You have the right to
know why we are asking you for
information, how we will use it, and what
happens if you do not provide requested
information.
III. Professional and
Courteous Service
If you believe that an IRS employee has
not treated you in a professional, fair, and
courteous manner, you should tell that
employee’s supervisor. If the supervisor’s
response is not satisfactory, you should
write to the IRS director for your area or
the center where you file your return.
IV. Representation
You may either represent yourself or,
with proper written authorization, have
someone else represent you in your
place. Your representative must be a
person allowed to practice before the
IRS, such as an attorney, certified public
accountant, or enrolled agent. If you are
in an interview and ask to consult such a
person, then we must stop and
reschedule the interview in most cases.
You can have someone accompany you
at an interview. You may make sound
recordings of any meetings with our
examination, appeal, or collection
personnel, provided you tell us in writing
10 days before the meeting.
V. Payment of Only the
Correct Amount of Tax
You are responsible for paying only the
correct amount of tax due under the
law—no more, no less. If you cannot pay
all of your tax when it is due, you may be
able to make monthly installment
payments.
VI. Help With Unresolved
Tax Problems
The Taxpayer Advocate Service can help
you if you have tried unsuccessfully to
resolve a problem with the IRS. Your
local Taxpayer Advocate can offer you
special help if you have a significant
hardship as a result of a tax problem.
For more information, call toll free
1–877–777–4778 (1–800–829–4059 for
TTY/TDD) or write to the Taxpayer
Advocate at the IRS office that last
contacted you.
VII. Appeals and Judicial
Review
If you disagree with us about the amount
of your tax liability or certain collection
actions, you have the right to ask the
Appeals Office to review your case. You
may also ask a court to review your case.
VIII. Relief From Certain
Penalties and Interest
The IRS will waive penalties when
allowed by law if you can show you
acted reasonably and in good faith or
relied on the incorrect advice of an IRS
employee. We will waive interest that is
the result of certain errors or delays
caused by an IRS employee.
P
ROVIDE AMERICA’S
TAXPAYERS TOP QUALITY
SERVICE BY HELPING THEM
UNDERSTAND AND MEET
THEIR TAX RESPONSIBILITIES
AND BY APPLYING THE TAX
LAW WITH INTEGRITY AND
FAIRNESS TO ALL.
T
HE
IRS M
ISSION
IRS
www.irs.gov
Declaration of Taxpayer Rights

Page 2
Examinations, Appeals, Collections,
and Refunds
Examinations (Audits)
We accept most taxpayers’ returns as
filed. If we inquire about your return or
select it for examination, it does not
suggest that you are dishonest. The
inquiry or examination may or may not
result in more tax. We may close your
case without change; or, you may receive
a refund.
The process of selecting a return for
examination usually begins in one of two
ways. First, we use computer programs to
identify returns that may have incorrect
amounts. These programs may be based
on information returns, such as Forms
1099 and W-2, on studies of past
examinations, or on certain issues
identified by compliance projects.
Second, we use information from outside
sources that indicates that a return may
have incorrect amounts. These sources
may include newspapers, public records,
and individuals. If we determine that the
information is accurate and reliable, we
may use it to select a return for
examination.
Publication 556, Examination of
Returns, Appeal Rights, and Claims for
Refund, explains the rules and procedures
that we follow in examinations. The
following sections give an overview of
how we conduct examinations.
By Mail
We handle many examinations and
inquiries by mail. We will send you a letter
with either a request for more information
or a reason why we believe a change to
your return may be needed. You can
respond by mail or you can request a
personal interview with an examiner. If you
mail us the requested information or
provide an explanation, we may or may
not agree with you, and we will explain the
reasons for any changes. Please do not
hesitate to write to us about anything you
do not understand.
By Interview
If we notify you that we will conduct your
examination through a personal interview,
or you request such an interview, you
have the right to ask that the examination
take place at a reasonable time and place
that is convenient for both you and the
IRS. If our examiner proposes any
changes to your return, he or she will
explain the reasons for the changes. If you
do not agree with these changes, you can
meet with the examiner’s supervisor.
Appeals
If you do not agree with the examiner’s
proposed changes, you can appeal them
to the Appeals Office of IRS. Most
differences can be settled without
expensive and time-consuming court
trials. Your appeal rights are explained in
detail in both Publication 5, Your Appeal
Rights and How To Prepare a Protest If
You Don’t Agree, and Publication 556,
Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights,
and Claims for Refund.
If you do not wish to use the Appeals
Office or disagree with its findings, you
may be able to take your case to the U.S.
Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims,
or the U.S. District Court where you live. If
you take your case to court, the IRS will
have the burden of proving certain facts if
you kept adequate records to show your
tax liability, cooperated with the IRS, and
meet certain other conditions. If the court
agrees with you on most issues in your
case and finds that our position was
largely unjustified, you may be able to
recover some of your administrative and
litigation costs. You will not be eligible to
recover these costs unless you tried to
resolve your case administratively,
including going through the appeals
system, and you gave us the information
necessary to resolve the case.
Collections
Publication 594, The IRS Collection
Process, explains your rights and
responsibilities regarding payment of
federal taxes. It describes:
● What to do when you owe taxes. It
describes what to do if you get a tax
bill and what to do if you think your bill
is wrong. It also covers making
installment payments, delaying
collection action, and submitting an
offer in compromise.
on which the IRS first attempted to collect
the tax from you. For example, the
two-year period for filing your claim may
start if the IRS applies your tax refund
from one year to the taxes that you and
your spouse owe for another year. For
more information on innocent spouse
relief, see Publication 971, Innocent
Spouse Relief, and Form 8857.
Refunds
Tax Information
The IRS provides the following sources
for forms, publications, and additional
information.
Tax Questions: 1–800–829–1040
(1–800–829–4059 for TTY/TDD)
Forms and Publications:
1–800–829–3676 (1–800–829–4059
for TTY/TDD)
Small Business Ombudsman: A
small business entity can participate
in the regulatory process and
comment on enforcement actions of
IRS by calling 1-888-REG-FAIR.
Internet: www.irs.gov
Your collection appeal rights are
explained in detail in Publication 1660,
Collection Appeal Rights.
● IRS collection actions. It covers liens,
releasing a lien, levies, releasing a
levy, seizures and sales, and release
of property.
If you were due a refund but you did not
file a return, you generally must file your
return within 3 years from the date the
return was due (including extensions) to
get that refund.
You may file a claim for refund if you think
you paid too much tax. You must
generally file the claim within 3 years from
the date you filed your original return or 2
years from the date you paid the tax,
whichever is later. The law generally
provides for interest on your refund if it is
not paid within 45 days of the date you
filed your return or claim for refund.
Publication 556, Examination of Returns,
Appeal Rights, and Claims for Refund, has
more information on refunds.
Potential Third Party
Contacts
Generally, the IRS will deal directly with
you or your duly authorized
representative. However, we sometimes
talk with other persons if we need
information that you have been unable to
provide, or to verify information we have
received. If we do contact other persons,
such as a neighbor, bank, employer, or
employees, we will generally need to tell
them limited information, such as your
name. The law prohibits us from
disclosing any more information than is
necessary to obtain or verify the
information we are seeking. Our need to
contact other persons may continue as
long as there is activity in your case. If we
do contact other persons, you have a right
to request a list of those contacted.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration: You can
confidentially report misconduct,
waste, fraud, or abuse by an IRS
employee by calling 1–800–366–4484
(1–800–877–8339 for TTY/TDD). You
can remain anonymous.
Innocent Spouse Relief
Generally, both you and your spouse are
each responsible for paying the full
amount of tax, interest, and penalties due
on your joint return. However, if you
qualify for innocent spouse relief, you may
be relieved of part or all of the joint
liability. To request relief, you must file
Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse
Relief no later than 2 years after the date
Repeat Examinations
If we examined your return for the same
items in either of the 2 previous years and
proposed no change to your tax liability,
please contact us as soon as possible so
Printed on recycled paper
we can see if we should discontinue the
examination.
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