Issue Number: Tax Tip 2021-161
Understanding taxpayer rights: The right to retain representation
Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if they cannot afford representation. This is one of the fundamental rights of all taxpayers as outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Here’s what the right to retain representation means to taxpayers:
• Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS.
• Taxpayers who are heading to an interview with the IRS may select someone to represent them.
• Taxpayers who retain representation don’t have to attend with their representative unless the IRS formally summons them to appear.
• In most situations, the IRS must suspend an interview if the taxpayer requests to consult with a representative, such as an attorney, certified public accountant or enrolled agent.
• Any attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled actuary or other person permitted to represent a taxpayer before the IRS, who’s not disbarred or suspended from practice before the IRS, may submit a written power of attorney to represent a taxpayer before the IRS.
• Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if they can’t afford representation. They can find a LITC near them by visiting the Low Income Taxpayer Clinics page on IRS.gov or by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-829-3676.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics are independent from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. These clinics may charge a small fee to represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language.
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