Taxpayer Advocate Service – Your Voice at the IRS
Managing tax issues with the Internal Revenue Service can frequently prove challenging, particularly when confronted by prospective enforcement actions in the form of penalties, interest charges or other measures. However, the Taxpayer Advocate Service functions as an independent organization within the IRS focused on furthering the equitable and ethical handling of taxpayer cases. With knowledgeable guidance from TAS experts and vigorous advocacy efforts on the taxpayer’s behalf, TAS strives to provide meaningful assistance to taxpayers encountering challenging situations involving the IRS.
What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) functions as an impartial third-party defender of taxpayer rights within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The stated goal of TAS is to furnish taxpayers with an objective, external resource to turn to when inevitable issues emerge in comprehending the intricate Internal Revenue Code and associated enforcement regulations. With offices nationwide, it can assist taxpayers over the telephone, online, and through in-person consultations. Importantly, TAS makes these professional services available at no cost to taxpayers regardless of income level or filing attributes.
Additionally, the organization retains organizational independence while operating within the IRS framework. This empowers TAS advocates to investigate and address inconsistencies or oversights in IRS policies and procedures without conflicts of interest. As an up-to-date hub for the latest tax guidance, its website furnishes taxpayers with extensive resources for understanding their rights and obligations. For taxpayers undergoing qualifying financial hardships, TAS can also negotiate interest and penalty reductions where appropriate.
How can the Taxpayer Advocate Service help me?
With frequently shifting tax codes and regulations, taxpayers often find themselves lost, unable to decipher complex IRS notices or exercise their rights. Fortunately, the National Taxpayer Advocate office exists as an island of expertise and empathy within the IRS.
As an independent organization devoted entirely to protecting taxpayers, they can provide the following forms of support:
A. Representation and Advice – Taxpayer Advocate Service agents can clarify convoluted tax issues and ensure taxpayers receive impartial advice regarding available options. Advocates identify situations requiring intervention, including appeals for refunds or preventing unjust IRS sanctions.
B. Help in resolving tax problems – By coordinating directly with the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service can address unresolved taxpayer problems caused by lack of responsiveness or confusing demands from the IRS. Swift and efficient relief awaits.
C. Settlement Facilitation for Tax Disputes – The Taxpayer Advocate Service provides mediation services for disagreements between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service. Through compromise and negotiation, the Taxpayer Advocate Service strive for mutually agreeable resolutions.
D. Support for Unusual and Time-Sensitive Situations – If faced with sudden, pressing circumstances like an audit or unexpected penalty fees, taxpayers can rely on urgent assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service in these moments of financial and legal jeopardy.
E. Free Assistance & Access to Expertise – In addition to advice and representation, the Taxpayer Advocate Service offers taxpayers hassle-free access to tax specialists equipped to handle distinctive cases pro bono.
How to qualify for Taxpayer Advocate Service?
While a valuable asset, the Taxpayer Advocate Service must focus its limited resources on taxpayers with legitimate qualifying criteria:
- Financial hardship: You must be experiencing or expecting to experience economic harm due to an IRS issue. It could include an inability to pay taxes, IRS delays in resolving a case, or any other situation that causes economic hardship or takes a long time to solve.
- Unsolved after attempting all normal channels: Before contacting the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the taxpayer must demonstrate sufficient efforts of independent resolution were pursued and the tax issue could not be resolved through normal channels.
- Potential for further harm: Prospects of wage garnishment, property seizure, or other mounting consequences exacerbate the taxpayer’s troubles.
The “TSA Qualifier Tool” on the their website screens taxpayers to confirm eligibility. Taxpayers meeting the full criteria merit hands-on support from a personal Taxpayer Advocate Service agent.
How to get help with an IRS tax situation?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service stands ready to rectify difficult tax situations, but taxpayers must initiate contact before this IRS watchdog can take action.
Taxpayers can reach the Taxpayer Advocate Service in two ways:
- Website Form Submissions: www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov
- Phone: 1-877-777-4778
When contacting the Taxpayer Advocate Service for assistance, taxpayers should supply:
- Contact information
- Social Security Number
- Relevant IRS documents about the issue
- Overview of the dilemma and resultant economic hardship
To provide the requested information, you fill out Form 911 known as Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance). Once you’ve provided all the necessary information, a trained specialist will contact you within five business days to discuss your case and determine if the TAS can help you. The specialist may ask you for additional information before they can move forward with helping you resolve your issue.
What makes the TAS a beneficial resource for taxpayers?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service provides free assistance to taxpayers who are having difficulties with their tax matters or face immediate threat of adverse action. It includes assistance to taxpayers who are facing financial hardship or need help understanding and meeting their tax obligations.
TAS helps taxpayers by researching and solving issues on their behalf, including advocating for solutions that help address the root cause of their problem. It can include:
- Advocating for better systems within the IRS,
- Fighting unfair denials of benefits to taxpayers or,
- Helping resolve complex tax disputes.
The TAS offers valuable guidance on maximizing eligible tax incentives and credits to reduce tax liabilities. Their expertise can structure business affairs in a tax compliant manner to minimize taxes appropriately. Moreover, TAS can provide referrals to specialized agencies and organizations that may further assist with resolving tax controversies. Furthermore, TAS delegates can represent taxpayers throughout appeals proceedings, including cases adjudicated by the United States Tax Court.
Overall, TAS provides a valuable service to taxpayers, especially those seeking help in resolving tax situations or struggling financially. Their free services and assistance can help taxpayers resolve their problems and save them time, money, and headaches.