Taxpayer rights are listed in Publication 1 as follows:
- Privacy and Confidentiality
- Professional and Courteous Service
- Payment of Only the Correct Amount of Tax
- Help with Unresolved Tax Problems
- Appeals and Judicial Review
- Relief from Certain Penalties and Interest
There are actually 8 taxpayer rights, but the first one is a complete farce. The first is entitled “Protection of Your Rights” in Pub 1, and it is described as follows:
IRS employees will explain and protect your rights as a taxpayer throughout your contact with us.
If that were really true then you would not need right #3 — you would never need a tax attorney — because the IRS would have your back every step of the way. You wouldn’t need right #5 because there would be no unresolved tax problems. And you wouldn’t need rights #6 or #7 because the IRS would always get it right the first time.
The truth is the IRS’ top priority is to collect 100% of the tax due, not protect your rights. And they will make this abundantly clear throughout your contact with them. That’s why the most important right is to have professional representation — just as tax relief is not automatic, your taxpayer rights are not self-enforcing.