Tax Law and Taxation in the United States of America

The IRS is the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement. Federal tax law begins with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), enacted by Congress in Title 26 of the United States Code (26 U.S.C.).

Until 1874, U.S. tax laws were not organized and published based on the subjects such as taxes, bankruptcy, or other law subjects. In 1873 Codifications of statutes, created the Revised Statutes of the United States.

In 1919, a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives began a project to recodify U.S. statutes, which eventually resulted in a new United States Code in 1926 (including tax statutes).

From wikipedia:

The Internal Revenue Code of 1954 was enacted in the form of a separate code by act of August 16, 1954, ch. 736, 68A Stat. 1. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the name of the 1954 Code to the “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”. In addition to being published in various volumes of the United States Statutes at Large, the Internal Revenue Code is separately published as Title 26 of the United States Code. The text of the Internal Revenue Code as published in title 26 of the U.S. Code is virtually identical to the Internal Revenue Code as published in the various volumes of the United States Statutes at Large. Of the 50 enacted titles, the Internal Revenue Code is the only volume that has been published in the form of a separate code.

Last year (2012), nearly 100 million taxpayers opted for the safest, fastest and easiest way to submit their individual tax returns — IRS e-file. Since 1990, taxpayers have e-filed nearly 1 billion Form 1040 series tax returns safely and securely. E-file is the norm. And now, with Free File, everyone can file Form 1040 series tax returns for free!

The IRS is legally required to take certain steps to collect your balance due account.

  1. Your refund can be used to offset your bill.
  2. A federal tax lien can be filed against your property.
  3. Your salary/accounts can be seized through a tax levy.
  4. You can be served a summons to provide information.

Taxpayer Rights

Whether you file a Form 1040EZ or a complicated corporate return, you will benefit from knowing your rights as a taxpayer and being familiar with the IRS obligations to protect them. The goal of the Taxpayer Rights Corner is to be your one-stop shop for taxpayer rights information during every step of your interaction with the IRS.

Under no circumstances will the Internal Revenue Service tolerate discrimination by its employees, grantees, contractors, and/or subcontractors. NO ONE shall be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination because of: race, color, sex, national origin, disability, reprisal, or age in programs or activities funded by the Department of Treasury – Internal Revenue Service.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an IRS program that provides an independent system to assure that tax problems, which have not been resolved through normal channels, are promptly and fairly handled.

Your Rights to Representation

Learn more about granting power of attorney.

You are entitled to similar protection of confidentiality with respect to tax advice given by a federally authorized tax practitioner as with an attorney.

Every taxpayer is entitled to have access to representation. The Low Income Tax Clinic grant program is designed to help accredited academic institutions and non-profit organizations provide low to no-cost tax assistance (such as representing the taxpayer during an audit or tax collection effort) and/or tax outreach to taxpayers for whom English is a second language.

Power of Attorney Information
You have the right to represent yourself or have someone represent you before the IRS in connection with a federal tax matter. Your representative must be an individual authorized to practice before the IRS. If you want someone to represent you before the IRS, you must submit a power of attorney with the IRS office where you want your representative to act for you. The Form 2848 (PDF), Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, can be used for this purpose. Your signature on Form 2848 allows the individual or individuals named to represent you before the IRS and to receive your tax information for the matter(s) and tax year(s)/period(s) specified on the Form 2848.

Completed Forms 2848 also may be submitted to the IRS’s Centralized Authorization File (CAF), which allows IRS personnel who do not have access to the original power of attorney to determine whether you have authorized an individual to represent you. Joint filers submitting powers of attorney to the CAF must file separate Forms 2848.

Refer to Topic 312, if you want to allow a person to receive your tax information, but do not want this person to represent you before the IRS.

For additional information, see the Form 2848 Instructions and Publication 947Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney.

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