Taxpayer Bill of Rights

October 23, 1998
One of the successes of this Congress has been the passage of the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. But if critics of the IRS are correct, the taxpayer (rather than a taxpayer bill of rights) is still the best way to prevent IRS abuse. That's right. If you know your rights, you will be better off than passing bills protecting your rights.

After all, Congress passed the first Taxpayers' Bill of Rights years ago. And since then passed a second Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. Then they passed the Taxpayers' Relief Act. So the recent passage of another bill really isn't going to change very much.

There are four areas where a person may come in contact with the IRS. These are computer notices, penalty assessments, tax audits, and collection problems. Critics of the IRS estimate that the agency in wrong in each of these areas about half the time. But taxpayers often go along with the assessments or penalties because they assume that the IRS must be right. And even if they think the IRS is wrong, they buy into the mistaken belief that "you can't fight City Hall." They decide to roll over rather than fight.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to know that the IRS is often wrong and to know that there is a legal recourse to mistakes they may have made in your case. A Taxpayers' Bill of Rights is nice, but only if you know that you have rights and that you may be in the right.

The recent hearings in the Senate Finance Committee were a sobering testimony to an agency that has too much power and intimidates too many American citizens. Passing bills in Congress is nice, but they will only be effective if taxpayers know their rights and use them.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International