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As a taxpayer, you have the right to confidentiality

Posted on July 23, 2018

At Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres, we are occasionally asked to assist our business or personal clients with an IRS request for more information.

Our clients often find the experience less stressful than they expected. Sometimes that’s because we act as a buffer, and readily ascertain what is needed and in what form it should be presented. Because we have worked with the IRS for many years, we know how to get quick responses to questions to help sort out details.

TPSA clients are frequently pleased to find out what types of information and paperwork does not have to be shared with the IRS. Taxpayers absolutely have the right to confidentiality. It’s one of the ten rights outlined in the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which we and the IRS take very seriously.

According to the IRS:

“Taxpayers can expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed to outside parties, unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees, return preparers and others who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.”

And that is just how it should be. Here are some more specifics that taxpayers can expect when it comes to the right to confidentiality in dealing with the IRS:

  • The IRS may not disclose a taxpayer’s tax information to third parties (such as a mortgage holder, bank or university loan company), unless those taxpayers give the agency permission.
  • The IRS may not contact third parties, such as a taxpayer’s employer, neighbor, or bank, to get information about a taxpayer unless it provides the taxpayer with reasonable notice before making the contact.
  • When dealing with a federally authorized tax practitioner (such as Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres), taxpayers can expect the same confidentiality protection that they would have with an attorney.
  • A tax preparer (federally authorized or not) may not disclose or use someone’s tax information for any reason other than for tax return preparation. A preparer who does this will be subject to criminal fines and prison.

If you are contacted by the IRS for any reason, let the experienced CPA team at TSPA know. In most cases, the process is less complicated and stressful than you think. We can help you get through the process with assurance, confidence, confidentiality, and lower your anxiety level. Let’s talk.