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The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.

What This Means for You

  • If the IRS is proposing to adjust the amount of tax you owe, you will typically be sent a statutory notice of deficiency, which informs you of the proposed change. This notice provides you with a right to challenge the proposed adjustment in Tax Court without first paying the proposed adjustment. To exercise this right, you must file a petition with the Tax Court within 90 days of the date of the notice being sent (or 150 days if the taxpayer’s address on the notice is outside the United States or if the taxpayer is out of the country at the time the notice is mailed). Thus, the statutory notice of deficiency is your ticket to Tax Court. IRC §§ 6212; 6213(b)

    For more information about the United States Tax Court, see the Court’s taxpayer information page.

  • If you are an individual taxpayer eligible for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) assistance (generally your income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level), the IRS may provide information to you about your eligibility for assistance from an LITC. IRC § 7526

    For more information, see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. Or find an LITC near you.

  • If you believe you have overpaid your taxes, you can file a refund claim asking for the money back, within certain time limits. IRC § 6402.

    See IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax under the heading “What if I Made a Mistake”

    See also IRC § 6511: Limitations on claim for credit or refund (statute of limitations) under the Right to Finality.

  • You may request that any amount owed be removed if it exceeds the correct amount due under the law, if the IRS has assessed it after the period allowed by law, or if the assessment was done in error or violation of the law. IRC § 6404(a)

    See also IRC § 6502: Limitations on collection after assessment (statute of limitations) under the Right to Finality.

  • You may request that the IRS remove any interest from your account that was caused by the IRS’s unreasonable errors or delays. For example, if the IRS delays issuing a statutory notice of deficiency because the assigned employee was away for several months attending training, and interest accrues during this time, the IRS may abate the interest as a result of the delay. IRC § 6404(e)

  • If you have a legitimate doubt that you owe part or all of the tax debt, you can submit a settlement offer, called an Offer in Compromise - Doubt as to Liability offer on Form 656-L. IRC § 7122

  • You will receive an annual notice from the IRS stating the amount of the tax due, which will help you check that all payments you made were received and correctly applied. IRC § 7524

  • If you enter into a payment plan, known as an installment agreement, the IRS must send you an annual statement that provides how much you owe at the beginning of the year, how much you paid during the year, and how much you still owe at the end of the year. RRA § 98 3506, Treas. Reg. § 301.6159-1(h)