Nebraska Taxpayer Bill of Rights
"Our mission is to serve the public by administering the state revenue laws with integrity, efficiency, and consistency."
I. Confidentiality of Taxpayer Information
Nebraska taxpayers have the legal right to expect that tax or financial information considered confidential under Nebraska statutes will be held in strict confidence by the Department and its employees. Confidential tax information may only be disclosed to the taxpayer, his or her authorized representative, the United States Internal Revenue Service, agencies responsible for the administration of taxes in other states in accordance with compacts for the exchange of information, or as otherwise authorized by Nebraska law.
II. Freedom from Red Tape
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to freedom from red tape in their contacts with the Department of Revenue. In order to secure this right, each division administrator within the Department will be responsible for resolving taxpayer complaints and problems, including any complaints regarding unsatisfactory treatment of taxpayers by Department employees. Administrators will report directly to the State Tax Commissioner.Division administrators will give highest priority to reviewing and taking prompt and appropriate measures where taxpayers have suffered or will suffer irreparable loss as the result of Department action. This may include the temporary suspension of Department actions. Any penalties and interest that would otherwise accrue will not be affected by the granting of a suspension.
These procedures will not replace the administrative procedures for taxpayers who are formally appealing any proposed tax assessment.
III. Statement of Taxpayer Rights and Responsibilities
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to obtain clearly written information describing their rights under Nebraska tax laws. The Department will prepare and publish clearly written forms, notices, guides, policies and regulations which explain procedures, remedies, and the rights and obligations of both the Department and the taxpayers.
Taxpayers have the responsibility to respond timely and provide complete, legible and accurate information. It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to obtain this information and use it to meet the tax filing, registration, and payment obligations. The Department is responsible for providing accurate information upon request. However, the Department cannot be held responsible if taxpayers do not take reasonable steps to request forms or other information necessary to meet their obligations. Ignorance of the law is not considered a valid reason for not meeting tax filing or payment obligations.
IV. Taxpayer Education and Information Programs
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to tax information written in plain language, the right to prompt and accurate responses to all questions, and the right to taxpayer information services at Department offices, through toll free telephone numbers, or the Department’s Internet website.The Department will review forms, procedures, regulations, and laws that may lead to taxpayer errors. It will take action, including recommending legislation, to change those items needing clarification, amendment, or withdrawal.
The Department will develop and expand taxpayer education and information programs directed at all taxpayers. More in-depth efforts will focus on all, new permitholders, and certain taxpayer or industry groups identified by the Department.
V. Due Process of Law
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to due process of law in matters before the Department. The Department will provide a fair and efficient review and resolution of claims for refunds, protests, and appeals of disputed tax matters. When possible, all hearings will be held at a time reasonable to the taxpayer. The taxpayer is entitled to representation at all stages of a disputed tax matter.
VI. Reliance on Written Advice from the Department
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to rely on written advice from the Department. In support of this right, the State Tax Commissioner will abate any penalty attributable to erroneous advice furnished to the taxpayer in writing by an employee of the Department acting in an official capacity. This is limited to those situations where: the written advice was in response to a timely written request from the taxpayer; the taxpayer relied on the advice; and the penalty did not result from the taxpayer’s failure to provide adequate or accurate information. Interest may also be abated where specific statutory authority exists.
VII. Installment Payments of Tax Liabilities
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to request to pay delinquent taxes by installment, if their financial situation does not allow them to pay the balance in full. The Department will consider the financial condition of the taxpayer and the ability of the taxpayer to make installment payments. If an installment agreement will facilitate collection of the delinquent taxes, the Department will enter into such an agreement with the taxpayer in accordance with established guidelines.
VIII. Fair Collection Process
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to have all other collection efforts exhausted before seizure or levy of their assets takes place. Before levying taxpayers’ assets, the Department will take procedural steps to assure that taxpayers are treated consistently and fairly. The taxpayers’ financial conditions will be taken into consideration.Nebraska taxpayers have the right to be informed in writing of any collection action that may be taken. Taxpayers have the right to written notification from the Department at least ten days before the filing of liens, except in the case of jeopardy circumstances. The notice will state the legal authority of the Department to file liens, indicate the earliest date on which the liens may be filed, and state the remedies available to taxpayers to prevent the filing of liens. Taxpayers have a right to demonstrate that the filing of liens would be in error. This should be done within ten days from the postmark date of the letter notifying taxpayers that liens will be filed. If, after filing liens, the Department determines that its actions were in error, it will mail lien terminations within seven working days to the taxpayers and filing offices recording the liens. The lien terminations will contain a statement that the lien was filed in error. If the erroneous lien is obstructing a lawful transaction, such as a transfer of property, the Department will immediately issue a lien termination to the appropriate parties. A copy of the lien termination and letter explaining the error will be mailed to the major credit reporting companies.
IX. Professional Treatment by Department Employees
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to receive professional, prompt and courteous treatment by all Department employees. To ensure this right, the Department will develop and implement a program to evaluate all employees’ performances with respect to their contact with taxpayers. This evaluation will include employees’ protection of confidential information and the employees’ professional behavior in their contacts with taxpayers. The Department will not use the amount of revenue collected or assessed to evaluate employees or to impose or suggest any production quotas or goals.
X. Continual Review
Nebraska taxpayers have the right to depend on the Department to continually monitor the effectiveness and fairness of Nebraska revenue laws. The Department will continually review recurrent taxpayer problems and will make changes or recommendations for improving taxpayer compliance and uniform administration of Nebraska revenue laws.