IRS Representation

Helping you exercise your Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights

“We have what it takes to take what you have.”
–Suggested IRS Motto
(Anonymous)

The IRS has broad powers to collect taxes, and these powers are almost limitless. They can garnish your wages, levy your assets, and even put you in jail for violating the Internal Revenue Code. However, they also serve an important function in our society as well. This function is to make sure each taxpayer pays its “fair” or legal share.

Important to note is that the IRS does not have the taxpayer’s best interest at heart, it has the government’s best interest at heart. Their job is to pursue cases in which they can collect the most revenue or penalize the people they feel are most likely to cheat the system. Given that the IRS is representing the government, isn’t it only fair that individuals with IRS issues have representation as well? (Hint- see item #9 in the list below!)

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (as updated on IRS.gov 6/13/16)

Many taxpayers are not aware of this, but there exists a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights contains fundamental rights of taxpayers when engaged in dealings with the IRS. These rights include:

  1. The Right to be Informed– Taxpayers have a right to know what they need to do to comply with the laws.
  2. The Right to Quality Service– Taxpayers have a right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional service, and to speak with a supervisor about inadequate service.
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax– Taxpayers have a right to pay only the legally required amount of tax (including interest and penalties) and to have those payments applied properly.
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard– Taxpayers have a right to raise objections and provide additional information.
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum– Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and independent administrative appeal of most IRS decisions. Taxpayers are also able to take some cases to court.
  6. The Right to Finality– Taxpayers have a right to know how much time they have to appeal an IRS decision, statutes of limitation on audits and collection, and when the IRS has finished an audit.
  7. The Right to Privacy– Taxpayers have a right to expect that information provided to the IRS will be no more intrusive than necessary and will respect due process rights.
  8. The Right to Confidentiality– Taxpayers have a right to expect that information provided to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law.
  9. The Right to Retain Representation– Taxpayers have a right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS (bolded for emphasis).
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System– Taxpayers have a right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely. Taxpayers have a right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if the IRS has not resolved their issue properly or timely through their normal channels.

If I were to put the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in order of importance, I would put “The Right to Retain Representation” as #1 rather than #9. I have found that people who are not aware of their rights in situations are oftentimes those whose rights are most likely to be violated.

Important to note is that only “authorized” persons may represent taxpayers in IRS dealings. #1 on the list of authorized representatives are attorneys. #2 on the list of authorized representatives are Certified Public Accountants. The good news is that I am both of these, which means that the strongest level of privilege applies (attorney-client privilege) and that I also have the necessary tax knowledge to assess a taxpayer’s situation and understand the numbers involved from a preparer’s perspective.

Situations that May Require Representation

There are several situations where representation may be advantageous. Some of these include:

  1. Receipt of an IRS adjustment
  2. Notice of an IRS examination
  3. Notice of a Federal Tax Lien
  4. Notice of Assessment of Penalties
  5. Notice of Intent to Levy

One mistake that taxpayers often make is waiting too late in the game to seek representation. While unrepresented, taxpayers often make statements or submit information that can and will be used against them later. This also can result in the IRS expanding the scope of the inquiry and essentially making matters worse for the taxpayer.

The Firm’s Process of Providing IRS Representation

In providing IRS representation to a taxpayer, the first step is to assess the situation. There are several steps involved in the process of IRS inquiry, and course of action will vary greatly depending on the type and level of IRS inquiry. The firm will need to review the returns in question and also all IRS notices and letters received.

Firm Pricing for IRS Representation

The firm charges a rate of $175 per hour for IRS representation. A minimum retainer is required before services are rendered. Because scope of work differs greatly in this area (based upon the type of inquiry, level of inquiry, number of years in question, and length of time matter has been open), the retainer will differ as well. For clients, with pending IRS issues. please contact us using the information on the “contact us” tab and we can arrange a quote based upon estimated scope of work.

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