Taxes are an integral part of living in the United States. Whether you’re an individual, a business owner, or both, you have to pay taxes to the government. When tax season comes around, many people might find the process overwhelming and confusing. That’s where the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) comes in. In this article, we’ll explain the role of the IRS and how it can help you make sense of your taxes.
What is the Internal Revenue Service?
The IRS is a government agency responsible for collecting and enforcing taxes. It was established in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln and is part of the US Department of Treasury. The IRS is responsible for administering and enforcing the Internal Revenue Code, which governs all federal taxes in the US.
IRS Services for Taxpayers
The IRS provides many services to taxpayers to help them comply with tax laws and understand their responsibilities. Here are some of the services offered:
Understanding Tax Rules and Regulations
The IRS website provides information on the various rules and regulations related to federal taxes. They offer a wide range of resources such as publications, forms, and instructions to help taxpayers understand their obligations and prepare their tax returns accurately.
Free Tax Preparation
The IRS offers free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income taxpayers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The program operates in community centers, libraries, and other locations across the country and is staffed by trained volunteers. Taxpayers can get assistance with their tax returns, including electronic filing, at no cost.
Taxpayer Advocate’s Office
The Taxpayer Advocate’s Office (TAO) is an independent organization within the IRS that works to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly. It provides free help to taxpayers who are experiencing difficulty with the IRS and offers assistance with resolving tax problems. You can contact the TAO toll-free at 1-877-777-4778.
While the IRS is responsible for collecting taxes, they also have the power to enforce tax laws. If you fail to pay your taxes or file a tax return, the IRS may take enforcement actions against you. Here are some of the enforcement actions that the IRS can take:
Tax Liens and Levies
If you fail to pay your taxes, the IRS can place a lien on your property or levy your bank accounts or wages. This means that they can seize your assets or garnish your wages to pay off your tax debts.
The IRS can audit your tax return to verify that you reported your income and deductions accurately. If they find errors or discrepancies, they can impose penalties and interest on your tax bill.
In rare cases, the IRS may conduct a criminal investigation if they suspect that you have committed tax fraud or evasion. If convicted, you could face fines, penalties, and even jail time.
The IRS plays a vital role in enforcing tax laws and ensuring that taxpayers comply with federal regulations. While some taxpayers may need assistance with their tax returns, others may need to be aware of the consequences of failing to file on time or failing to pay their taxes. By utilizing the resources available and complying with the law, taxpayers can avoid unwanted attention from the IRS and minimize any adverse consequences.