TAX MATTERS

Taxpayer Advocate Service

Every taxpayer has a right to be treated fairly by the IRS. Taxpayer Advocate Service is an organization that will help you navigate complex tax-related issues for free. Even if you live abroad, you can have an IRS taxpayer advocate help you.

While not everyone will qualify for this service, those who do will fight on your behalf to resolve any problems you may have with the IRS.

What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization that operates within the IRS. The aim of the TAS is to ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly and understand their rights.

The TAS can help resolve issues with the IRS and suggest changes that can help prevent the problem from recurring again in the future.

Advocates help taxpayers who:

  • Are experiencing financial hardship
  • Believe there’s an issue with an IRS system or procedure
  • Have been unable to resolve an issue with the IRS

The service provided by the TAS is always free of charge. The organization has at least one office in every state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Taxpayers who meet the right requirements may qualify for help from the TAS. However, the organization does not assist with every IRS problem.

It’s important to understand what TAS can help with and which issues they cannot pursue.

What Problems Does the Taxpayer Advocate Help With?

The TAS can help with tax issues that fall into one of three categories: financial hardship, IRS System issues or fair and equitable treatment.

Financial Hardship

The TAS can help taxpayers facing financial hardship or an IRS action or inaction that has negative financial consequences for taxpayers.

You may qualify under this reason if:

  • You are currently or about to suffer financial hardship
  • There is an immediate threat of negative action
  • You will face significant costs without relief
  • You will suffer long-term or irreparable damage without relief

You must be able to demonstrate that the IRS has harmed you or is about to. For example, an IRS seizure may jeopardize your:

  • Employment
  • Ability to obtain or keep a home, food and clothing for you and your family
  • Your ability to keep your primary vehicle
  • Your credit rating
  • Your education

IRS System Issues

The TAS will also pursue IRS System issues. These are issues in which the agency’s processes, procedures or systems did not operate as intended and caused the IRS not to respond in a timely manner to resolve a taxpayer’s issue.

For example:

  • There’s a delay in resolving a tax account issue
  • You haven’t received a response from the IRS or a resolution to your problem by the promised date

Before the TAS can help, you will likely need to have tried to contact the IRS at least twice and not received a meaningful response within a given period of time.

Fair and Equitable Treatment

The TAS helps ensure that taxpayers receive fair and equitable treatment and that their rights are protected.

What the TAS Cannot Help With

TAS will help you to the best of their abilities, but there are a few things that they cannot help you with. The problems that a tax advocate cannot pursue include:

  • Issues that do not directly involve your taxes. For example, you may have an issue with someone at the IRS office, and the advocate cannot assist you with this matter.
  • Any problems that are outside of the IRS’s power to solve. For example, if you disagree with a tax law, the advocate cannot help you with this matter. They cannot help you with matters of other federal agencies either.
  • Your case has been referred to the criminal investigation division (CID).
  • You’re classified as a tax protestor by the IRS and have tried to fight similar issues in the past.
  • You assert that you will not pay your tax bill no matter what.

TAS will require you to follow any administrative procedures on your own, such as requesting an appeal. While there’s a chance that TAS will not help you with an answer from the IRS, it may be worth seeing if they will.

In many of the cases above, you’ll have better success contacting a tax attorney who can help you resolve these issues.

What Happens When You Contact the TAS?

When contacting the TAS, an advocate will:

  • Explain their process
  • Explain the Taxpayer Bill of Rights
  • Assign you a case number
  • Inform you that an advocate will be in touch within a certain period of time

In some cases, intake advocates can identify the issue and take action to resolve it right away. Otherwise, you will be contacted by your case advocate, who will guide you through the process of resolving the problem.

Your case advocate will provide you with a timeframe for action, update you when there is progress with your case and provide help with the IRS on your behalf.

Requesting IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service

If you believe that Taxpayer Advocate Services is something you need, it is available at many IRS offices. You can also call your nearest tax office and ask to speak to an advocate in case of an emergency, such as one of your assets being sold at auction.

You can also contact TAS in numerous ways:

If you get through to the IRS via phone, be sure to send them a follow-up mail with all of the information you discuss included in it. IRS officials love documentation, and this letter must contain all:

  • Name, address, telephone number and social
  • IRS notice copies
  • Correspondence copies
  • Explanation of the problem
  • Copies of any payments you made
  • Signature

When contacting an IRS taxpayer advocate, it’s important to be 100% truthful. Officials will verify any claims that you make.

Upon approval that you qualify for TAS, your case will be assigned to an advocate. The advocate will be in charge of investigating your problem and working on finding a way to solve it.

Schedule a free consultation with us today if you need a tax attorney to help you navigate complex tax issues.

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