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What are your rights as a taxpayer?

In 1996, followed by an amendment in 2001, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR) adopted a Taxpayers' Bill of Rights as proposed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It applies to all taxpayers in their dealings with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

As a taxpayer, you have access to the following guarantees:

  • The Right to Quality Service
  • The Right to Challenge the Department’s Position and Be Heard
  • The Right to Confidentiality
  • The Right to Retain Representation

The Right to Quality Service

Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous and professional assistance in their dealings with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, to be spoken to in a way they can easily understand, to receive clear and easily understandable communications from the department to questions and requests for tax assistance and to have a way to file complaints about inadequate service.

You have the right to a clear explanation of:

  • The basis of any audit activities performed.
  • The basis of an assessment of additional taxes, interest and penalties, or the denial or decrease of any refund or credit claim.
  • The basis of any department enforcement or collection activities.

The Right to Challenge the Department’s Position and Be Heard

You have the right to challenge any Pennsylvania Department of Revenue bill, assessment or refund denial notice that you disagree with.

Depending on the kind of notice you received, and whether the time limit stated on the notice has expired, a taxpayer can protest a matter in the following ways:

  • Formal protests (issuance of a Notice of Assessment).
  • Certain notices give rise to formal protest rights. These notices will clearly state that you may challenge the notice by filing a Petition for Appeal (REV-65). In either case, you can represent yourself, or give someone (such as an accountant or attorney) authority to represent on your behalf.
  • If the notice doesn't indicate that you have formal protest rights, you may only file an informal protest.

The Right to Confidentiality

Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.

The Right to Retain Representation

Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of your choice to represent you in your dealings with the DOR (REV-677 -- Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative).