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IRS outlines taxpayers' rights in new declaration

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As tax season approaches, taxpayers may want to take a look at how the new and improved Internal Revenue Service will be operating.

The IRS has issued a publication on taxpayer rights, the highlight of which is the Declaration of Taxpayer Rights, which promises the following:

1. Protection of your rights. IRS employees will explain and protect your rights as a taxpayer throughout your contact with us.

2. 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.

3. Professional and courteous service. If you believe that an IRS employee has not treated you in a professional manner, you should tell that employee's supervisor. If the supervisor's response is not satisfactory, you should write to your IRS district director or service center director.

4. Representation. You may either represent yourself, or, with proper written authorization, have someone represent you in your place. You can have someone accompany you at an interview. You may make sound recordings of any meetings with our examination or collection personnel, provided you tell us in writing 10 days before the meeting.

5. 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.

6. Help from the Problem Resolution Office. Problem resolution officers can help you with unresolved tax problems and can offer special help if you have a significant hardship as a result of a tax problem.

For more information, write to the Problem Resolution Office at the district office or service center where you have the problem, or call 800-829-1040 (800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD users).

7. 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 IRS Appeals Office to review your case. You may also ask a court to review your case.

8. Relief from certain penalties. 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.

To receive a copy of this or other IRS publications or forms, check out the IRS Web site at

or call 800-829-3676 (800-829-4059 for TTY/TDD users).

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