Nobody likes dealing with the IRS, but if you have to do it, it's nice to have an expert in your corner. That's why you have the right to retain an authorized representative of your choice to represent you in your dealings with the IRS. It's one of the fundamental rights of all taxpayers as outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. If you cannot afford representation, you have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
You don't have to attend with the representative when you retain representation unless the IRS formally summons you to appear. In most cases, the IRS suspends an interview if you request consultation with a representative, who may be an attorney, a certified public accountant, an enrolled agent or an enrolled actuary. Any such representative may submit a written power of attorney to represent you before the IRS.
Indeed, although the IRS may seem all-powerful, you have a lot of leverage. Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.
Taxpayers are also entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including many penalties, and have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals' decision. Taxpayers generally have the right to take their cases to court.
Special help for low-income taxpayers
If you decide to seek assistance from the low-income taxpayer clinic, check out the Low Income Taxpayer Clinics page on IRS.gov or call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-3676. LITCs are independent of the IRS and of the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They charge a small fee to represent you in audits, appeals and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. If you speak English as a second language, there are people at the clinics who can provide information about your rights and responsibilities in many different languages.
For more information about your rights as a taxpayer, see Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer. For a list of LITCs, go to the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. More about the Taxpayer Advocate Service is available on its website.
Your best bet for a good outcome with the IRS is to work closely with a qualified tax professional.
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