Many taxpayers aren’t aware that they have rights, which have specifically been set forth in the law. In Tennessee, the “Tennessee Taxpayer Bill of Rights” is set forth in Tenn. Code. Ann. Sec. 67-1-110. These rights apply to the state government of Tennessee, and provide that taxpayers have a right to:
- Receive fair and courteous treatment from all the department’s employees;
- Receive tax forms and information written in plain language;
- Receive prompt and accurate responses to all questions and requests for tax assistance;
- Request public records;
- Be assured that the department will keep confidential the financial information you give it;
- Know the department’s policies with respect to use and retention of personally identifiable information;
- Receive tax notices that provide an explanation of the amount being billed;
- Receive a clear set of rules and procedures to resolve tax problems that arise from the interpretation and administration of Tennessee’s tax laws;
- Dispute any tax liability by filing a timely request for a hearing;
- Know that the department’s employees are not paid or promoted as a result of money billed or collected from taxpayers;
- Suggest ideas about how the department can better serve you;
- Prompt notification by the department of any refund to which you are entitled;
- Attend annual meetings held by the department in convenient locations to voice your suggestions;
- A ten-day notice before a levy on assets is enforced;
- A thirty-day notice before seized assets are liquidated;
- A speedy, informal and inexpensive appeal of any tax dispute before an impartial hearing officer from the department and to be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or other representative; and
- Any other rights the commissioner deems necessary and appropriate.
The most important of these rights may be the right listed in #16: the right to be represented by an attorney. Many taxpayers fail to exercise this right, or he/she fails to exercise this right soon enough.
The Internal Revenue Service also has a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and more information about these rights and other protections afforded to those facing federal tax issues can be found by clicking on this link to the IRS website.