The IRS has adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights as proposed by National
Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. It applies to all taxpayers in their dealings
with the IRS. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights groups the existing rights in the tax
code into ten fundamental rights, and makes them clear, understandable, and
accessible. The Tuesday Tax Tip will discuss a few of them during the next few
Bill of Rights #4: The Right to Challenge the IRS’s
Position and Be Heard
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.
What This Means for You
- If you submit documentation or raise
objections during an examination, and the IRS does not agree with your
position, it will issue a statutory notice of deficiency explaining why it is
increasing your tax, which gives you the right to petition the U.S. Tax Court
prior to paying the tax. IRC § 6212
More information next week. (IRS NTA web
site) (TTT 1/23/18)
The Freedom of Information Act (or FOIA) was enacted in 1966. It gives
any person the right to access federal agency records or information. The act
is based on the presumption that the government and its information belong to
the people. The FOIA law was amended in 1996 requiring federal agencies to make
many types of record available online. Visit the IRS eReading Room to learn
The IRS offers routine access to other records through procedures designed to
make access quick and easy. For more information, use the IRS web site, Freedom
of Information page “Routine Access.”
If you plan to make a FOIA request to obtain the records you seek, you may
refer to the IRS FOIA Guide. IRS may withhold records protected from disclosure
by one of the law’s nine exemptions and it must withhold when law prohibits
disclosure of the records. (IRS Web Site – Freedom of Information) (TTT 1/16/18)
You may be an injured spouse if you file a
joint tax return and all or part of your portion of the overpayment was, or is
expected to be, applied (offset) to your spouse's legally enforceable past-due
federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child or
spousal support, or a federal nontax debt, such as a student loan.
Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, is
filed by one spouse (the injured spouse) on a jointly filed tax return when the
joint overpayment was (or is expected to be) applied (offset) to a past-due
obligation of the other spouse. By filing Form 8379, the injured spouse may be
able to get back his or her share of the joint refund.
The form should be filed when you become aware that all or part of your share
of an overpayment was, or is expected to be, applied (offset) against your
spouse's legally enforceable past-due obligations. You must file Form 8379 for
each year you meet this condition and want your portion of any offset refunded.
You can file Form 8379 with your joint
tax return or amended joint tax return (Form 1040X), or you can file it
afterwards by itself. You must file Form 8379 within 3 years from the due date
of the original return (including extensions) or within 2 years from the date
that you paid the tax that was later offset, whichever is later. (IRS Form 8379
instructions) (TTT 01/09/18)
types of innocent spouse relief are available.
Spouse Relief – By requesting innocent spouse relief, you can be relieved of
responsibility for paying tax, interest, and penalties if your spouse did
something wrong on your tax return.
by Separation of Liability – Under this type of relief, you allocate (divide)
the understatement of tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return
between you and your spouse (or former spouse).
Relief – If you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of
liability, you may still be relieved of responsibility for tax, interest, and
penalties through equitable relief.
For more information, refer to the Innocent Spouse
Questions & Answers on the IRS web site.
Part III will explain how to file for Innocent Spouse Relief.
(IRS.gov – Introduction to Innocent Spouses) (TTT 12/19/17& 12/26/17)