The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 06/10/2014 12:17 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 06/10/2014 3:11 PM
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service wants to read taxpayers their rights.
The agency is publicizing a "Bill of Rights" for taxpayers, including the right to quality service, the right to confidentiality and the right to a fair and just tax system, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced Tuesday.
Koskinen acknowledged that none of the 10 rights is new. All are buried somewhere in the thick pages of the federal tax code.
But going forward, the IRS will post the rights at IRS offices, and include an explanation of each one when the agency contacts taxpayers by mail. Koskinen said the list will be included in about 30 million mailings a year.
"We're not creating new rights here," Koskinen said. "We're really trying to compile them in a simple understandable format for taxpayers."
Some rights will be limited by budget constraints and the law.
For example, the right to quality service says, "Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS." However, Koskinen said, budget cuts have diminished the agency's ability to answer questions from taxpayers.
As for the right to a fair and just tax system, Koskinen said: "We do the best we can with the code we have."
Koskinen took over the top IRS job in January, tasked with stabilizing an agency that had spent much of past year under siege. Several top officials, including the acting commissioner, were forced to resign last year after revelations that IRS agents had improperly singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
Koskinen said the new initiative is designed to improve taxpayer confidence in the IRS and the law. But, he said, it was not prompted by the ongoing controversy.
"Everything that I'm doing is in a context in which we've obviously had and still have six investigations going on," Koskinen said. But, he added, "This was not something that I thought of in terms of those investigations."
Koskinen said he got the idea from Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate Olson has been lobbying for the taxpayer Bill of Rights since 2007. She runs an independent office within the IRS.
"This is a real issue that has real impact on taxpayers," Olson said. "If you don't know what your rights are, you will never avail yourself of those rights."
Online: IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1.pdf
Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Report: China to declare Qualcomm a monopoly
Navy secretary says combat ship costs will decline
Baidu profit up 34 per cent as mobile service grows
Chicken off McDonald's HK menu after food scandal
TransForce bids to acquire Contrans
Cowboys reach marketing deal with Carnival Cruise
Bankrupt Energy Future to auction stake in Oncor
Settlement reached in Scotiabank OT lawsuit
Obama: Plane stiffens Europe's spine on sanctions
Proxy adviser says Sprint CEO was paid too much
Officials require more supports beneath oil pipes
Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance
House votes to simplify education tax breaks
Celestica profit jumps to $40.9 million in Q2
Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad
Correction: Housing-Clinging to Low Rates story
Most actively traded companies on the TSX
House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA
Ruling on antibiotics in livestock reversed
Amazon shares fall on 2Q loss
Air Algerie crash; 116 on board, 5 Canadians
Visa posts higher 3Q profit, revenue
Starbucks US sales rise with help of revamped food
US stocks end little changed after mixed news
Money market fund assets fell $2.18 billion
Numbers on GM recall for faulty ignition switches
FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport
FDA reviewing what could be first biosimilar drug
CRTC approves DHX Media deal with Bell
Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare
Deal for Newfoundland offshore survey
Dick's Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
Bombardier restructuring cuts 1,800 jobs globally
Oil train derails in Seattle rail yard; no spill
Bombardier changes raising some concerns
Morgan Stanley paying $275M to settle SEC charges
Ex-Sen. Lieberman to teach at Yeshiva University
Dunkin' pushing cashiers to 'upsell' in afternoons
Ontario legislature out for the summer