Last week, we covered on PaycheckCity the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) recommendation that the IRS adopt and promote a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and additionally, apply its principles to all IRS strategic planning, compliance, and taxpayer service activities. The NTA also recommended outreach and education to taxpayers so that taxpayers know and understand their rights and are enabled to avail themselves of those rights, thus nurturing trust in our tax system.
This week, PaycheckCity is sharing more of the NTA’s recommendations to Congress. Specifically, the claim that the tax system will work best if there is an application of not only taxpayer rights, but also taxpayer responsibilities. The National Taxpayer Advocate recognizes the relationship between the government and its taxpayers as a social contract of sorts—The U.S. government requires its tax collector to treat taxpayers with courtesy and respect and asks taxpayers to cooperate with the tax collector. As this is a two-way relationship, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights should also contain a section outlining taxpayer responsibilities. The document would serve to heighten awareness of these rights and responsibilities among taxpayers and IRS employees alike and would lay out in clear and concise terms what taxpayers must do to comply with tax laws and what rights taxpayers possess in that process.
The Five Taxpayer Responsibilities recommended by the NTA are:
- The Responsibility to Be Honest - Taxpayers have the responsibility to be truthful in preparing their tax returns and in all other dealings with the IRS.
- The Responsibility to Provide Accurate Information - Taxpayers have the responsibility to answer all relevant questions completely and honestly, to provide all required information on a timely basis, and to explain all relevant facts and circumstances when seeking guidance from the IRS.
- The Responsibility to Keep Records - Taxpayers have the responsibility to maintain adequate books and records to fulfill their tax obligations, preserve them during the time they may be subject to IRS inspection, and provide the IRS with access to those books and records when asked so the IRS can examine their tax liabilities to the extent required by law.
- The Responsibility to Pay Taxes on Time - Taxpayers have the responsibility to pay the full amount of taxes they owe by the due date and to pay any legally correct additional assessments in full. If they cannot pay in full, they have the responsibility to comply with all terms of any full or partial payment plans the IRS agrees to accept.
- The Responsibility to Be Courteous - Taxpayers have the responsibility to treat IRS personnel politely and with respect.
By establishing this official taxpayer charter, the IRS will show its commitment to protecting fundamental taxpayer rights. These five Taxpayer Responsibilities will also provide a valuable framework for evaluating IRS policies, programs, actions, and initiatives. What are your thoughts on the five taxpayer responsibilities recommended by the NTA?To learn more about the Taxpayer Advocate Service or the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, visit The National Taxpayer Advocate 2013 Annual Report.