While getting ahold of the IRS right now might seem like an impossible challenge, the customer service issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic don’t change the fundamental rights that all taxpayers have. Today, the IRS issued Tax Tip 2020-171, reminding taxpayers of their rights to challenge any position the IRS takes in regards to their tax matters. In addition, the IRS reminds Americans that they have the right to be heard. Again, it may not quite feel like it right now, with the increased difficulty in getting through to the IRS and actually be heard, but it is still a right that all taxpayers have.
As outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers have the right to:
- Raise objections.
- Provide additional documentation in response to formal or proposed IRS actions.
- Expect the IRS to consider their objections timely.
- Have the IRS consider any supporting documentation promptly.
- Receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.
With the current mail backlog running an estimated 3 million pieces of mail, and phone line hold times exceeding two hours on many days, it’s more difficult than ever for the IRS to meet the customer service expectations they’ve set, and that you expect. This issue is not falling on deaf ears at the Service, nor has it gone unnoticed by Congress. Over the past few months, the IRS has hired a few hundred new customer service agents, and has a couple hundred openings right now for seasonal/temporary positions in an effort to resolve some of these issues.
Challenging IRS Positions
Here are some specific examples illustrating a taxpayer’s right to challenge the IRS’s position.
In some cases, the IRS will notify a taxpayer that their tax return has a mathematical or clerical error. If this happens, the taxpayer will be provided a 60 day period in which to tell the IRS that they disagree. In response, the taxpayer should provide copies of any record that may assist the IRS in correcting the error. The taxpayer may call the number listed on the IRS notice for assistance, and also has the right to retain representation to act on their behalf. If the IRS upholds the taxpayer’s assertion, taxpayers should expect the Service to make timely corrections to their accounts.
But what happens if the IRS doesn’t agree with your challenge?
In such a situation, the IRS will send another notice that proposes a specific adjustment … Continue reading