The Right to Retain Representation
Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to be told that if they cannot afford to hire a representative they may be eligible for assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
What This Means for You
- If you have won your case in court, under certain conditions, you may be entitled to recover certain reasonable administrative and litigation costs related to your dispute with the IRS. IRC § 7430
- In most situations the IRS must suspend an interview if you request to consult with a representative, such as an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent. IRC § 7521(b)(2)
- You may select a person, such as an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent to represent you in an interview with the IRS. The IRS cannot require that you attend with your representative, unless it formally summons you to appear. IRC § 7521(c)
- If you are an individual taxpayer eligible for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) assistance (generally your income must be at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level), you may ask an LITC to represent you (for free or a minimal fee) in your tax dispute before the IRS or federal court. IRC § 7526For more information, see Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.
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UNDERSTANDING FULL REPRESENTATION
Representation is usually defined in IRS Publication 947 and covers matters relating to any of the following:
The provision of written tax advice to taxpayers, on one or more Federal matters.
The submission, filing, or preparation of documents with the IRS on behalf of a client.
Representing a taxpayer at meetings, hearings, or conferences with the IRS.
Communicating taxpayer’s liabilities, privileges, and rights with the IRS.
Full representation rights mean that a practitioner can represent taxpayers before the IRS on any tax matter. Several credential types that have full representation rights include:
Attorneys: They are licensed by their designees, a district, or a state court.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA): They are licensed by state boards of accountancy and various U.S. territories.
Enrolled Agents (EA): An enrolled agent status is the highest credential in IRS awards. It shows that the individual possesses experience as a former IRS employee or has passed the IRS’ three-part comprehensive test on personal and business tax returns.