Is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Enforceable?
25 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 4, 2019
In 2016, Congress enacted a statutory Taxpayer Bill of Rights containing a list of ten rights but lacking an explicit remedy or enforcement mechanism. Are the rights listed therefore merely aspirational, or are some or all of them enforceable? It is worth noting that the statute does not say that these rights are unenforceable. Recently, taxpayers such as Facebook have begun to demand remedies for alleged violations of the rights listed in the statute, such as “the right to appeal a decision of the Internal Revenue Service in an independent forum.” This Essay argues that not only does the statutory text not provide a private right of action, U.S. Supreme Court case law does not permit such a right to be inferred. The Essay further argues that the history of the statute, which was largely the initiative of the National Taxpayer Advocate, supports the conclusion that there is no private right of action to enforce the statute. Rather, as the statute states, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service is charged with ensuring that the listed taxpayer rights are protected.
Keywords: TBOR, Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Facebook, IRS appeal, Appeals Office, NTA, National Taxpayer Advocate
JEL Classification: K23, K34, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation